Northwoods Nordic Hodag Challenge attracts student skiers from around the MidwestSubmitted: 01/19/2020
Zack White
Zack White

Northwoods Nordic Hodag Challenge attracts student skiers from around the Midwest
RHINELANDER - High school and middle school cross country skiers spent the weekend competing in Rhinelander for the annual Ascension Northwoods Nordic Hodag Challenge.

The two-day event attracted teams from more than 10 different schools across Wisconsin, and some schools from Michigan.

Head Coach for Rhinelander Nordic Charil Reis said her team spent a lot of time hitting the trails thanks to the generosity of mother nature. 

"We've been blessed with a lot of snow this year, so we haven't had to do a lot of indoor type of practice," said Reis.

Rhinelander Nordic senior captain Breckin Younker said his team made an effort to improve each season.

"Each year we have been slowly climbing up the ladder," said Younker. "We have been doing much better than years past."

This year Rhinelander Nordic Boys placed 9th out of 12 teams on their home course.

That's one place up from last year's Hodag Challenge, where they placed 10th overall.

Senior Jaylen Janssen said she credits her coaching staff for the team's progress in recent years.

"I have been skiing for three years and I appreciate all the work the coaches have put in," said Janssen.

Last year the Rhinelander Girls finished in last place, but this year they made the jump to the 8th spot.

Coach Reis hopes her athletes use their challenging home course to their advantage.

"This is the hardest course that they'll ski all season, but they'll have lessons learned here from
climbing all those hills going into the rest of the season."

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ANTIGO - What starts with a tumble, ends in neatly packed, ready-to-ship bundles in the Kretz Lumber warehouse. Twenty percent of it will go across the ocean to China, with tariffs tearing into the profit.

"Twenty-five percent of our sales to China was reduced and we still have the same amount of overhead that you have to cover no matter what the price is," said Troy Brown, President of Kretz Lumber.

Though China's tariffs will be gone Friday, Brown says the foreign timber market is much different now from a year and a half ago.

"When their sheds are full of lumber from other countries it takes a while to empty those sheds out and start filling them with U.S. hardwoods," said Brown.

So even without tariffs, Brown wants some relief funds.

In a recent Farm Relief Package through the United States Department of Agriculture, dairy, soybean and other farmers received federal aid. But hardwood tree farmers got nothing.

"We support the Trump administration in the trade war 100 percent," said Brown. "But if the government is offering relief, you want to raise your hand as an industry and for your partners in the industry to say 'hey, what about us.'"

Brown also said he can't rely on the Chinese market right now.

"Everything we've been hearing is China has its problems," said Brown. "It's got coronavirus that everybody hears about. It's got an economy that hit a bubble and somewhat burst."

Brown hopes the Trump administration will include hardwood in the farm aid package, but isn't holding his breath.

"I am not expecting anything to come of this," said Brown. "I'd be highly surprised."

So Brown and others at Kretz Lumber will keep turning timber to lumber; hoping for a pleasant, unexpected surprise.

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Three students were on board. Two of them were taken to a hospital for an evaluation, but no serious injuries were reported.

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Schmidt gets emails and phone calls all the time from parents in need.

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