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Toni Stenburg of Finland is tossed in the air by his teammates after he won the individual gold medal at the World Ice Fishing Championship Sunday. Fishing was at the Eau Pleine Reservoir west of Mosinee and festivities were held at The Plaza Hotel in Wausau. / Dan Young/For
Munenori Kajiwara of Japan displays the two fish he caught at the World Ice Fishing Championship Sunday after they were weighed. Fishing was at the Eau Pleine Reservoir west of Mosinee and the other festivities were held at The Plaza Hotel in Wausau. / Dan Young/Daily Herald Media

Final results

1. Russia
2. Finland
3. Lithuania
4. USA
5. Ukraine
6. Sweden
7. Kazakhstan
8. Mongolia
9. Poland
10. Estonia
11. Japan

Mark Keane of Bensenville, Ill., displays his USA-themed haircut at the World Ice Fishing Championship, Sunday. Fishing was at the Eau Pleine Reservoir west of Mosinee and the other festivities were held at The Plaza Hotel in Wausau. / Dan Young/Daily Herald Media


Tensions were high Sunday during the final weigh-in for the World Ice Fishing Championship as the 11 international teams anxiously watched officials weigh the day’s catches.

But as the scores continued to be announced and the beers began flowing, the mood at The Plaza Hotel slowly became lighter and the teams began to accept their positions. They even celebrated with one another.

“We can quickly tell about where we’ll stack up once the first few groups are announced,” said Team USA member Shawn Hennings as it became clear he and his fellow anglers would not come out on top. “There will be a lot of information shared tonight, now that the pressure is finally off. We’ll share secrets and get friendly.”

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Team USA might have had home ice advantage and the biggest catch of the day Sunday — 676 grams — but they ultimately placed fourth after two three-hour days of fishing on Big Eau Pleine Reservoir west of Mosinee.

Myron Gilbert, of Brooklyn, Mich., has been on Team USA for four years, and took the gold during the 2009 championships in Rhinelander. He said his team struggled Saturday to find its footing, and couldn’t pull through Sunday to take the win.

“This is a chess game; positioning is everything,” he said. “(The other teams) know we know where the best fishing (on the lake) is. They deeply respect us, and we were the heavy favorites to win.”

Team USA member Chad Schaub had a rough start Saturday, but caught a total 676 grams of fish Sunday. His catch earned him a third place individual medal and pushed his team Sunday from eighth place to fourth.

“I was really hoping for a team medal, but I had high expectations going into this,” he said. “I only missed one fish (Sunday), so it means a lot to place individually.”

During the event, the ice was split into five sections with one member of each team in each of the sections. At the end of a three-hour round, the angler with the heaviest total weight of fish received one point, and the angler with the smallest catch received 11. Totals from Saturday and Sunday were added up and the lowest score won.

Ahead of Team USA was Russia, which placed first with 42 points, Finland with 48.5 points, Lithuania with 49 points. The Americans finished with 51 points.

Dick Barrett, director of sporting events for the Wausau/Central Wisconsin Visitors Bureau’s Sports Authority division, said he hopes this year’s event proves Wausau can support world championship sporting events. In the past seven months, two world tournaments have been held in Wausau — the World Ice Fishing Championship and the Junior Canoe Slalom World Championships.

“We want to bring different sports to the area to broaden the scope of athletics in Wausau,” he said. “This week went smoothly and we’re going to try our hardest to sustain it and make Wausau the ice fishing capital of the world.”

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