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Local Sports Report 12-3-19Submitted: 12/03/2019

NORTHWOODS - Merrill boys basketball defeated Lakeland Union, 82-63.
Tomahawk boys basketball dropped a tough one against Wittenberg-Birnamwood.
White Lake girls basketball was outlasted by Marion, 50-20.




Story By: Andrew Goldstein

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 LOCAL SPORTS

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) ‚Ä" Aaron Rodgers threw four touchdown passes in the snow and the Green Bay Packers rebounded from a dismal West Coast performance to beat New York 31-13 Sunday.

The Packers sent the Giants to their eighth straight loss, their worst skid since 2004.

Rodgers finished 21 of 33 for 243 yards with no interceptions on a slippery, snowy day at MetLife Stadium. Rodgers hit Davante Adams on touchdown passes of 8 and 17 yards, found a wide-open Allen Lazard for 37 yards and capped the performance with a 1-yarder to Marcedes Lewis.

The Packers (9-3) also intercepted Giants rookie Daniel Jones three times, with the picks setting up 10 points.

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WAUSAU - The Wausau Riverwolves entered their third season with some new expectations and a new head coach.

Three seasons with three different coaches can make for some challenging times for the NA3HL program.

But they are trying to build foundation that will stay put.

"It's really hard to build a foundation when you are tearing away the base," Bailey said.

Wausau native Colin Bailey stepped up as the Riverwolves third head coach in three years.

"I was more than happy to take in on," Bailey said.

He inherited a third-year team trying to find its identity.

"It's not for lack a skill by any means, we have a very skilled team here," Bailey said. "It's just capitalizing on our opportunities that's tearing us apart."

The Riverwolves sit below .500 on the season, but are still searching for their strengths.

"We are a fairly fast team. We can move the puck pretty quick. The only thing holding us back is the burying. We gotta put it in the net," said Riverwolves forward Ian Raddatz. 

After all the main goal is to keep the players playing hockey for as long as they can.

"These are the best years of your life and you don't want to sacrifice that. Just keep going, keep going, show up and keep getting better." Raddatz said. 

Coach Bailey says he plans to stick around to make that happen.

"I'm just making sure they stay with it mentally as much as physically. Just keeping them engaged and making sure that every day that are loving it," Bailey said.

The Riverwolves play the Breezy Point North Stars on Friday in Wausau at 7:30.

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RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander girls swim team finished the season as fifth best in the state.

In honor of the girls' accomplishments throughout the season, Mayor Chris Frederickson proclaimed November 26th the RHS girls swim team day. 

"It meant so much to us," said sophomore swimmer Malia Francis. "It was so cool to have something like that and recognize what we've done this season and I just think its super special."

Summing up the Rhinelander girls swim accomplishments this year is quite the list: conference champs, sectional champs, four state podium finishes and two gold medals. 

"I think they need to use this as their motivation being like hey this is good but we need to do even better next year," said Rhinelander swim coach Jenny Heck.

The Hodags also shattered nine pool, varsity and conference records.

"It was great to get rid of those records, some of them are really old and records are made to be broken," Heck said.

Two-time state champion Malia Francis even broke a few of her sister's record and she's only a sophomore.

"It's really encouraging and it's cool to have it up there and so I have my name up there and those are kind of like my goals now," Francis. 

Now November 26th, 2019 will serve as a staple for what hard work can accomplish.

"I just think it's super special and I am so grateful to be a part of it," Francis said. 

The Hodags had seven entries at the state meet in Madison.

The boys season will be underway next week. 

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RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander Hodags boys soccer team raised 200 dollars for a local woman fighting breast cancer.

Members of the team came together after their practice for winter sports to present the check.

All the money was from their sale of Kick Cancer t-shirts.

It's a task they saw as both a privilege and a responsibility.

"I think every high school team should have a responsibility to give back to the community because they support us all," team member Hugh Wiese said. "They support the high school, they support all sports."


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MOSINEE - Mosinee celebrated another athlete committing to play on the collegiate level this week. 

Stanford Swid will take a swing on the division two circuit next year. 

He is headed to Winona State in Minnesota.

The senior said he's so glad he finally found a new home. 

"I knew I wanted to play college golf but I am very relieved," Swid said. Now I can go onto my next season and just kind of relax and all the weight is lifted off my shoulders so I can just go play."

Swid finished 14-over par and tied for 24th at last year's state tournament. 

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ANTIGO - Schofield Stadium in Antigo starting football games nearly a century ago.

The field is starting to show its age, and Robin football fans want to do something about it.

Chad Matuszewski has watched a lot of Robin football games here.

"There's just really a lot of tradition in Antigo football," Matuszewski said. "There's a lot of pride. We've had several state championship teams."

The more Matuszewski watched, the more he noticed what was wrong.

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TOMAHAWK - Athletes feel a sense of pride and achievement when they sign on the dotted line to play sports on the collegiate level.

Two Northwoods swimmers did just that this week, both committing to Division I universities.

Tomahawk senior swimmer Kylee Theiler will dip into the division one realm at the University of Wyoming.

"I wanted to be a part of an athletic community where all of the sports really gather together and support each other and that was just such a feeling that I got when I visited the campus that I couldn't turn away from it," Theiler said.  

Kylee holds multiple records at Tomahawk High School and at the Woodson YMCA in Weston.

She qualified for the WIAA state swim meet all four years.

She says she couldn't be more thankful for both teams.

"It's been amazing, Theiler said. "There are so many incredible coaches and teammates that it really just gives you a sense of community, such a family feeling and I can't replace it with anything else."

She says she can't wait to compete on an even higher caliber level.

"I'm excited just to start a new adventure in life. I've been in Tomahawk all my life and I'm just ready too see something different in the world," Theiler said.

Kylee says she plans on majoring in business at the University of Wyoming.

Tomahawk senior Travis Phillips will continue his career at Binghamton University in upstate New York. 

Travis swam for the Hatchets and is a member of the Woodson YMCA swim team in Weston.
He said he chose Binghamton for the impressive engineering school and competitive swim program.

He says he's most excited for the new friendships.

"Just being able to be a part of another team that is going to be a family to me and being a part of a team that really wants to be there and is going to be pushing everybody will be a lot of fun," Phillips said. 

Travis qualified for the state swim meet in 2018.

He brought home a pair of fourth place finishes in the 50-yard freestyle and the hundred-yard butterfly.

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EAGLE RIVER - For the first time in WIAA boys hockey history, the 83 teams will split into two divisions.

Two state champs will be crowned in 2020 and Northland Pines has its eye on the division two crown. 

The reining GNC champs say they have some unfinished business to attend to.

The Eagles only lost three games last season with a disappointing finish in the sectional semifinals. 

Pines hit the ice last week and say the team is healthy and focused.

The players believe the new division will be an adjustment but maintaining the tradition at home matters most. 

"Our team motto is just washing people's feet. We want to be out in the community, we want to be helping out. We don't want to give the hockey team a bad rep. We want to be well known in the community and our main goal is to bring a banner back," said senior Brady Snedden.

The Eagles will skate 10 seniors this year. 

They hope to motivate the team to make this season the best one yet. 

"Pines hockey means the world to me. My dad got to play here his four years and he was fortunate to win a state championship and I hope to do that this year hopefully carry on the legacy of Pines hockey," said Pines senior Gunnar Schiffmann.

The team says the new dome renovations feel like playing in a new rink with an old-school feel. 

Pines scrimmages Lakeland Thursday at 5. 


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MERRILL - Merrill senior Michael Casper put ink to paper on his letter of intent Tuesday evening.

The guard will play division two basketball at Bemidji State in Minnesota next season.

It's the same college where his current coach, Jake Schalow, played.

Casper went to Bemidji State's pro camp over the summer.

He says he's excited to get to play there after this season.

"It was a great campus and everything," Casper said. "It was a great fit academically and athletically. The coaches will help me develop and I feel like they will be able to do that very well."

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RHINELANDER - Hockey co-ops keep on getting bigger and bigger all over the state.

That's especially true in girls' hockey.

In the Northwoods, a big merger is being put to the test on the ice.

Northern Edge is getting ready for its first season as a mega co-op.

It went from covering just two schools last year to seven schools this season.

The Rhinelander and Lakeland school boards both voted to merge their schools' respective co-ops.

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