Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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The final dual matches of the New Richmond wrestling season will be held in the upcoming days. That sets the Tigers' sights on the postseason. The Tigers are coming off a strong performance Thursday Jan. 18, where they defeated Amery, 50-30. That win put the Tigers' record in Middle Border Conference matches at 3-2. The Tigers finish the regular season with a dual match at Osceola on Thursday and a home dual match against Ellsworth next Tuesday. That's the makeup of a previous postponement.
Jack Cichy is healing on schedule and is hoping to make a strong impression on National Football League scouts, leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft on April 26-28. Cichy is recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury to his right knee that cost him his senior season. The Somerset native and former University of Wisconsin Badgers standout linebacker suffered the injury during a preseason practice in August. He underwent surgery three days later.
The Somerset and New Richmond wrestling teams both scored impressive Middle Border Conference victories on Thursday. The Somerset wrestlers won the battle for second place in the MBC standings, winning at Baldwin-Woodville, 41-33. Somerset built a 41-15 lead in the match by winning several early pivotal matches. The biggest win may have been when Jared Grahovac scored a pin in the 132-pound class.
The message was clear from Tiger coach Ryan Schradle. After the New Richmond girls basketball team played a disappointing game in a 56-36 loss to Osceola Tuesday, Jan. 9, the Tigers spent their entire practice time on Wednesday in a team meeting. The message was to worry about winning and not worry about playing time or statistics. "It's not about who starts," Schradle said in a blunt message to his team. "It's about making the most out of the minutes you get."
Matchups appear to be the deciding factor for the Somerset boys basketball team in recent games. When the Spartans faced Middle Border Conference leader Prescott on Jan. 5, the Spartans were able to stay competitive because Prescott is similarly smaller and athletic, as are the Spartans.
With a 13-0 win posted earlier this season against Badger Lightning, the Western Wisconsin Stars knew their chances were pretty good heading into Saturday's rematch with the Lightning. The Stars' coaches thought the best utilization of the rematch was to get the team's younger players as much ice time as possible. They were able to achieve that and still come away with a 9-2 win in Saturday's game played at Baraboo.
The St. Croix Central boys basketball team dropped from the lead in the Middle Border Conference Thursday, Jan. 11. The Panthers came back with a tremendous offensive performance on Saturday, rolling up 81 points in a win over Northwestern. The 81 points the Panthers scored on Saturday is the most points scored by a Central boys team since Dec. 1, 2009, when the Panthers scored the same total in an 81-63 win over Elmwood.
The Somerset girls basketball team played perhaps its most complete game of the season last Tuesday, Jan. 9 at Amery. But that wasn't where the Spartans got their win of the week. Last Friday's home game was far less an artistic success, but more a testament to the Spartans' willpower in a 43-38 victory over Baldwin-Woodville. The Spartans held a 26-19 lead at halftime of Friday's game, but Somerset coach Cory Lindenberg said it was an unsatisfying lead. "It felt like we could be up 15. We generated a ton of great looks," Lindenberg said.
The New Richmond boys hockey team moved a step closer to another Middle Border Conference title and the Somerset girls basketball team couldn't miss a shot in a win over New Richmond to lead action in Tuesday night's games. The New Richmond boys hockey team is now 6-0 in the MBC after an 8-1 win over the Eau Claire Regis co-op team at Hobbs Ice Arena in Eau Claire. Seniors Nick Johnson and Eric Langer led the Tigers with two goals apiece. Dane Swanda, Noah Towberman, Garrett Thomas and Hayden Bradbury scored once for the Tigers.
Don't mistake unbeaten with being perfect. That's the message being sent by St. Croix Central girls basketball coach Luke Fritsche. The Panthers ended the first round of Middle Border Conference games with an unbeaten 7-0 record. The Panthers capped the first half of the MBC season with wins over Baldwin-Woodville and Ellsworth last week. The Panthers also defeated Northwestern in a non-conference home game on Saturday, Jan. 13.