WISCONSIN RAPIDS - Rhinelander wrestling head coach Paul Ellenbecker leads the Hodags team with a quiet confidence. "We respect everyone but we don't fear anyone either," said Ellenbecker.
That confidence helped the Hodags capture not one, not two, but five individual regional titles in Wisconsin Rapids on Saturday.
"To get five champs at a tournament like this with the [Wisconsin] Valley [teams] and how we won it too. We dominated the matches, it wasn't really close. We had pins," said Ellenbecker.
The championships came from Rhinelander's five ranked seniors, including three-time state qualifier Jacob DeMeyer.
"This is Jacob's time of the year, you get to tournament time and another gear comes on," said Ellenbecker.
While DeMeyer hopes to advance to another state tournament, he says sharing success with his senior teammates is actually the best part.
"We've all been wrestling together for ten-plus years and watching each other succeed is the best thing," said DeMeyer.
And for some of the Hodags it was the first championship-level success at regionals.
"People like Jacob DeMeyer have been here and done this before, and last year I got a good taste of it too and this year I finally got the chance to make my mark and make podium and be a first place winner," said senior Reuben Guzik.
Ellenbecker says sometimes young wrestlers need that taste of the big stage so they can make it count in the future.
"To get the opportunity to weigh in at the sectional, wrestle a kid, you might only get one match but you're there. It's not going to be a big stage the next year," said Ellenbecker.
And what better way to approach such a big stage than with your teammates.
"Another huge accomplishment is to see my teammates' success as well as mine. It's just amazing to see everyone do so well," said Guzik.
The Hodags are now preparing to wrestling in the sectional tournament on Saturday at Wausau West.
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.
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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