STEVENS POINT - Sports today include more technology than ever before. Science is more advanced, data is more easily available, and coaches and athletes are more willing to use it all.
On Thursday July 13, UW-Stevens Point hosted the Great Lakes Analytics in Sports conference to allow people to teach, learn, and share everything they know.
"This is the way of the world now, whether it's in sport or anything else. It's analyzing data to make smarter and more efficient decisions," said Robert Morris University Sport Management Professor John Clark.
Those decisions about strategy, practice, and even medical benefits are backed by numbers more than ever before. That's why UWSP decided to host Wisconsin's first ever sports analytics conference.
"What the value of something like this is, sort of going from the math side I need to be a little bit better at communicating, or somebody who is a good communicator saying I need to learn a little bit more math," said UW-La Cross Statistics Professor Eric Eager.
Eager also analyzes data for Pro Football Focus. He said the conference was perfect for integrating several facets of the data analysis world. The conference included everything from analyzing the best way to run marathons to how lacrosse teams examine a player's impact on the game.
Clark, a Stevens Point native, says the use of analytical data will soon be at the lowest levels.
"The question is; how fast does it come into youth sport," said Clark.
Statistics are used across pro and college sports, and grow more among high school sports each year. Clark says that shift to the lower levels could be very beneficial.
"I think we'll see it at the high school and youth sport quicker in terms of injury prevention, kind of a health preservation thing," said Clark.
At the professional level, data is used for both injury prevention and for gaining a competitive edge. That means scouts that have long relied on their own eyes are now using more numbers to evaluate talent.
"Analytics has always been viewed as a threat," said Eager. "And I think we're getting far better at posing ourselves as helpers and not roadblocks."
Analytics professionals continue to establish themselves as helpers to teams and athletes across all sports, while they also continue to be helpers for each other.
"To come here [the conference] and hear somebody speak and then sit down and talk with them afterword, that's where a lot of advancements are going to come. It's that networking that conference like this really foster," said Clark.
The conference hosted more than 50 presenters and had nearly 200 people in attendance. Organizers say they're already planning to hold another event next year.
STEVENS POINT - Stevens Point Police are investigating an armed robbery.
Around 6 a.m. Sunday morning, police and Portage County Sheriff Deputies responded to a report of an armed robbery at the R Store in the 5400 block of HWY 10 E in Stevens Point. Police say during the initial investigation, they determined an armed suspect displayed a weapon and took money from the store.
BOULDER JUNCTION - People from as far as Iowa and New York travelled to the Northwoods on Saturday to take on a unique challenge. Boulder Junction held a new winter sports event that proved to be quite a success.
"I'm just really happy to see this all come together," said Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Theresa Smith.
PELICAN LAKE - Tribal members from across Wisconsin held a Deep Winter Camp to pass on parts of their cultures. Members from several different tribes wanted to give kids the chance to experience a piece of their culture. They hope the camp encourages younger members to keep traditions going and never forget where they came from. "They're going to be the next teachers they're good kids and we all love every kid that came here and spent time with us. They all learned something and they'll take it back and teach others," said Lac du Flambeau Band Vice Chairman John Johnson Sr.
CRANDON - Forest County Sheriff's Deputy Craig Justice was justified in shooting and killing 31-year-old Brandon Cude on Jan. 4, Forest County District Attorney Chuck Simono ruled Friday.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice released the results of its investigation in the case, and Simono's decision, Friday afternoon.
The DOJ documents detail how Cude swung a shotgun at Justice at close range. The deputy had just learned Cude had felony warrants against him, and Justice was trying to arrest Cude. Justice fired four shots on the scene, a rural road south of Crandon.
"He didn't get a shot off?" a fellow officer asked Justice after the shooting.
"No. He tried, though. Pulled that sucker out and pointed it right at me," Justice replied in an exchange recorded on a body camera.
MINOCQUA - Many Lakeland Union High School parents kept their children home from school Friday. Threats to shoot up the school felt all too real after 17 people died in a Florida school this week. The high school stayed open Friday, however the atmosphere felt different. Friday students walked through a crowd of police and sat in nearly empty classrooms. "I didn't want to take the chance that something was going to happen to my son," said Lakeland Union High School parent Jennifer Stough.
Stough's 17- year- old son Zach had a lot to look forward to this weekend. Instead she kept him home Friday. "I have friends that went to school today and that makes me nervous," said Zach. Yesterday a student and teacher found shooting threats on a ladies bathroom stall suggesting a repeat of what happened in Florida.
"It's not a joke and we take these things seriously," said Minocqua Police Chief Dave Jaeger. Minocqua police quickly got involved. However, the threats didn't stop there.
EAGLE RIVER - Vilas County officers can now respond to active shooter calls better prepared.
All deputies and patrol offices now have access to steel-plated body armor, something only the Vilas County SWAT Team had before.
"We want to make sure our staff are fully protected," said Vilas County Sheriff's Office Captain Gerard Ritter. "I never want to see anything happen to any one of my staff. And we should outfit them with the protection they need."
Before the new body armor, Ritter said officers and deputies only had access to soft body armor.
"The weave material is designed to stop or slow down a projectile," said Ritter.
Officers will still wear the soft-bodied armor every day, but in active shooter situations, officers can now essentially double up on protection, protection once only offered to the SWAT Team.
"There has been an increase in active shooter incidences across the United States," said Ritter.
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