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.
MERRILL - A Northwoods school pulled off a big surprise on Friday to honor a few veterans. After months of planning, students and staff at Kate Goodrich Elementary got to see the payoff of all their hard work.
"It was like kind of overwhelming," said Wolfgang Lenk.
Lenk, Todd Annis, and Randy Perry had no idea they would be the guests of honor.
"To see all these kids and knowing how hard they worked selling all this, and now your name comes up that you're one of the three recipients, it was awesome," said Annis.
RHINELANDER - A scoop of frozen custard goes down pretty well on a humid day like the Northwoods saw Friday. Rhinelander's Associated Bank made grabbing a scoop an easy way to help others.
Culver's set up a mobile custard stand outside the new bank building on the corner of Lincoln Street and Oneida Avenue from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Fifty cents from every $2.50 cup sold went to Associated Bank's Children's Miracle Network fund.
The bank is hoping to raise $500 through its fundraisers for CMN this month.
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