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Friday Night Blitz: 2-21-20Submitted: 02/21/2020

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BOYS BASKETBALL SCORES

Antigo 74 Northland Pines 91
Mosinee 70 Lakeland Union 46
Tomahawk 41 Rhinelander 84
Phelps 42 Laona/Wabeno 52
Three Lakes 84 Watersmeet 67
Crandon 40 Iola/Scandinavia 94
Wausaukee 68 Florence 62
Phillips 47 Abbotsford 48
Stratford 55 Auburndale 38
Chequamegon 56 Prentice 68


Athens 63 Rib Lake 56
DC Everest 86 Merrill 75
Wausau West 41 SPASH 67
Wausau East 62 Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln 69

Story By: Andrew Goldstein

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 LOCAL SPORTS

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TOMAHAWK -
Northwoods swimmers claimed 23 entries at the state swim meet in Madison.

Two athletes climbed the podium, including Tomahawk's Travis Phillips, who brought home a state title in the 50-yard freestyle.

"It's amazing to get first," Phillips said. "I have been training for this all year. I've been really working for this the past four years and it's finally happened."

Winning the 50-yard freestyle wasn't the only podium appearance from Phillips.

He finished third in the 100-yard butterfly.

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EAGLE RIVER - "Ever since I was in middle school I wanted to play college football."

Northland Pines lineman Jack Van Wormer made that dream a reality on Wednesday. The Eagles Defensive MVP will play football at Hillsdale College in Michigan.

"I am really excited. It made feel really good because of all of the hard work I've put in to get this," Van Wormer said.

He wasn't the only hard-worker at Northland Pines

First team all-state volleyball star Jaqueline Smith will take her talents to Northern Michigan University.

"It's close to home. I don't like going far from home. My siblings are there so it's comfortable and it's a beautiful campus. I love Marquette," Smith said.

After more than 1,000 career digs and 2,000 career kill, Smith says she's ready to write a new chapter.

"Higher competition and just getting to continue playing the sport I love," Smith said.

Taking the bar to the next level is also state silver medalist pole-vaulter Paige Hickson. The track star is headed to Minnesota State Mankato. 

"I knew I wanted to go Division II because you can always get better and can always fit in with everyone else at the same time," Hickson said. "I was just looking through all of the colleges, I found my major and it's only five hours away."

Hickson holds the indoor and outdoor vault records at Northland Pines. But she says the sky is the limit.

"Just learning. I am learning a lot here and have learned a lot the last two, three years about pole vaulting and now I get to work with a bunch of athletes who are just as passionate as I am," Hickson said,

These three athletes hope their hard work keeps Eagle River on the scouts' radar's.

"I want people to see that someone up here can work as hard as they can to get to that level," Hickson said.

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WAUSAU - D.C. Everest beat Wisconsin Rapids, 98-53, to claim at least a share of the Wisconsin Valley Championship.

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EAGLE RIVER -
You can see the NHL in person three times per week at the Eagle River Hockey Dome. Those letters stand for the noontime hockey league around the Northwoods.

"Everybody's happy," noontime player Michael Eder said. "Just now, two of the guys said to me "'this is the greatest exercise in the world and it's fun.'"

Jim Patten is 80 years old.

He's been skating on the Eagle River Hockey Arena ice for most of his life.

"I was gonna quit when I was 40," Patten said. "I was gonna quit when I was 50 and one thing just led to another and then when you get to be 80, you have to finish out the decade."

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MADISON - Rhinelander owned the Wisconsin Rapids boys swimming sectional, but they aren't the only Northwoods school who will continue on to Madison.

The Lakeland Union Thunderbirds qualified for seven events at the state meet.

That included two automatic qualifiers.

The Thunderbirds won the 400-yard freestyle relay and junior Liam Hogan took top billing in the 100-yard freestyle.

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WAUSAU - Activities like chess and even debate can earn high school students varsity letters. Many colleges and universities have also introduced non-traditional sports. Northcentral Technical College Wausau Campus is one of them.


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WISCONSIN RAPIDS -
The Rhinelander Hodags swam like they'd been there before and partied like they'd waited for this their whole lives.

"The guys are over there celebrating right now, its been amazing, we've just had a great time," freshman Jack Antonuk said.

Rhinelander boys swimming secured a second straight sectional title, beating second-place Tomahawk by 58 points.

That's more than the margin that separated second place from fifth.

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Friday Night Blitz 2.14.20Submitted: 02/14/2020

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NORTHWOODS - Mosinee 49 Medford 67
Antigo 53 Rhinelander 59
Assumption 61 Abbotsford 71
Marathon 69 Phillips 66
Newman Catholic 70 Prentice 76

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TOMAHAWK - "Everyone has found their spot and what they are good at," said Hatchet swimming senior captain Braden Tjugum.

Tomahawk found its spot in 21 different sectional entries this coming weekend. The Hatchets hoping to end their one-year state appearance drought. The swimmers believe this season feels a little bit different.

"With the taper this year, it has seemed better than all of the previous years. I think we are expecting some big PR's, said Hatchet swimming senior captain Keaton Jed."

Records are being broken left and right in the Great Northern Conference. Senior Travis Phillips shattered two of them and has the chance to make it back to state for the second time.

"I feel really great in the water. I am super excited for sections and state and I know these guys are too," Phillips said.

Tomahawk is led by six seniors who rallied their way to an 8-2 regular season and second place in the GNC. They want nothing more than to get one of their relays to Madison. 

"There's a lot of hard work that goes into swimming and a lot of these boys have put in that work throughout the season and it has really shown, especially with our seniors," Phillips said. Our seniors have done really well throughout the season which shows how hard work can pay off in the end."

The Hatchet seniors will make their final splash in February. As they look back at the last four years, they say they feel nothing but pride in the fact they have given it their all.

"I think this sport has taught us to try hard and just keep pushing through it," Jed said.

"That's my end goal here, to leave that legacy behind here for Tomahawk. Just to show that Tomahawk is a school and there are athletes at this school who are amazing."

Sectionals will start at 1 o'clock on Saturday at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School.

Our sports team will have the latest results on Newswatch12 Weekends at 10.


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Local Sports Report: 2/11/20Submitted: 02/11/2020

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NORTHWOODS -
Rhinelander girls basketball defeated Lakeland Union, 66-55, to secure a second straight GNC title. Cynthia Beavers scored 28 points for the Hodags.

Medford won at least a share of the GNC boys basketball title with a 71-54 over Northland Pines.

Northland Pines hockey defeated Waupaca, 5-0, to advance to the GNC title game against Mosinee.

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