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Mixed martial arts, ultimate fighting, cage matches -- regardless of the name, the reputation remains the same. Many frown upon the sport and call it barbaric. The idea of banning MMA fights locally even arose in Superior earlier this year. But Robert Mrotek, 24, says there is another side to ultimate fighting many people never see. "As far as mix martial artists doing things for charity and going out their way for kids, mixed martial artists are some of the friendliest people I've met," he said.
Even as the volleyball season draws to an end, the Superior High School Spartans are trying to learn new skills. "We tried jump serving, we played a 5-1 (formation) for one of the games, we were taking some risks," SHS coach Lindsay Braman said. "That's what we're really working on is taking some risks." The Spartans' risk-taking cost them a few points in their home match against Proctor Tuesday night, but SHS still managed to claim the 3-0 win. "They're so eager to improve," SHS assistant coach Lori Keute said. "They're not complacent and satisfied with where they're at right now.
Emily Stauty remains calm in almost any situation. The Northwestern High School senior's even-keeled personality has been a balancing force for the girls golf team this season, and it has served her well individually too. At the WIAA Division 2 sectional meet Tuesday, Stauty was at Krooked Kreek Golf Course in Osceola. Only the top two teams and the top three individual golfers not on those teams advance to the state tournament, so all of the Tiger players were under pressure. Adding to the stress of the day was the rainy weather. "It was bad," Stauty said.
"There's the 'feed me' cry," said Robbye Johnson, a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and a birder for more than two decades. Johnson threw pieces of bread along the beach of Wisconsin Point on a cold October morning as a group of gulls circled offshore. The birds landed a few meters away but didn't come any closer. Their skittish behavior surprised Johnson, but she was far from discouraged.
In the struggle against a pair of invasive plants, the Douglas County Wildlife Management Area has admitted partial defeat. Leafy spurge and spotted knapweed have both gained footholds in the wildlife area near Solon Springs. Fred Strand, a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist and land manager of the area, said the plants are widely distributed throughout the property, but distribution is patchy. "Both tend to be on areas we, as humans, have disturbed," Strand said.
Michael Pahlen touched many lives during his 32 years as a coach and teacher at Superior High School. On Saturday, the longtime coach died in his home after a four-year battling with multiple myeloma. He was 60 years old. George Lehman, current coach of the SHS boys and girls swimming teams, said Pahlen exemplified everything a coach should be. "Mike dedicated himself to the swim program here -- both boys and girls," Lehman said. "He had a fantastic memory for swimmers, numbers, times and events.
In nearly every sport, Northwestern High School views Hayward as its primary rival. Tuesday night in Maple, the rivalry was especially intense as the Tigers and Hurricanes met on the volleyball court. Both teams were undefeated in the Heart O' North Conference heading into the match, but only Hawyard emerged with a perfect record as the Hurricanes defeated Northwestern 3-1. The Tigers now hold an 18-2 record overall and fall to 6-1 in the conference. "Tonight wasn't one of our best nights," NHS coach Jamie Stendahl said. "Hayward came up to play. ...
Saturday will be a day dedicated to pink on local ATV trails with just one catch -- no men allowed. More than 60 women dressed in matching pink T-shirts plan to rumble along the trails near Wascott Saturday as part of a fundraising event for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and three sisters in Gordon are doing their part to help the cause. Angela Woodhull, Kari and Melissa MacLellen, owners of the Moose River Bar in Gordon, organized the four-wheeler event.
On Sept. 19, the Northwood-Solon Springs football team defeated Frederic, 10-7. Message boards for the Small Lakeland Conference boiled over with comments, and foremost on many minds was a question about the Evergreens' victory: is that a typo? "The kids are talking a lot about respect and gaining respect around the league and the state," Evergreen coach Jason Fox said. To most teams, the Evergreens still bear the stigma of the perennial underdog. For the past few seasons Northwood-Solon Springs has been considered the easy win on the conference schedule.
If Northwestern High School football fans were expecting a change from last week's opponent, they'll be disappointed when the Tigers take on Chetek tonight. "Chetek and Bloomer are very much alike," NHS coach Dennis Scherz said. Northwestern fell to Bloomer 58-38 in a scoring-fest last Friday, while the Chetek Bulldogs were defeated by Hayward, 27-22. Both Chetek and NHS held the early lead in their respective games before eventually surrendering the lead and the game. "We turned the ball over. We had two fumbles, and they turned into two touchdowns," Scherz said.