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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Seniors Preston Anez and Garret Hecht will represent Somerset at the 2018 WIAA State Wrestling Championships this Thursday through Saturday at the Kohl Center in Madison. Anez advanced to Madison as the 152-pound champion at the Amery Division 2 sectional tournament on Saturday. Hecht advances as the third place finisher in the 170-pound sectional bracket.
The season ended for the Western Wisconsin Stars in an incredible defensive performance, with the Stars and Hayward playing into double overtime before the game was decided. Hayward scored in the second overtime to defeat the Stars 1-0 in the opening round of the WIAA girls hockey state playoffs. The Stars were the fifth seed and Hayward the fourth seed, so this game was expected to be closely competed. "It was very intense, physical, it was very defensive," said Stars coach Bob Huerta.
New Richmond senior Nathan Fehlen has earned a return trip to the WIAA State Wrestling Championships. His reward? Drawing the defending state champion in the opening round of the Division 1 160-pound state bracket. Fehlen will face Stoughton's Tyler Dow in the opening round of the Thursday afternoon session at the Kohl Center in Madison.
The coaches of the New Richmond and River Falls girls basketball teams handled Saturday's game like they were playing poker. Neither one wanted to tip their hand. With the Tigers and Wildcats scheduled to open up the WIAA Division 2 regional tournaments against each other this Tuesday, Saturday's game was more an effort to disguise what the teams will be doing on Tuesday. The Wildcats were able to defeat the Tigers 54-40, leaving the Tigers with a 3-19 overall record at the end of the regular season.
Anyone needing proof whether the New Richmond boys hockey team was playoff ready got their answer when the Tigers hosted Menomonie last Thursday. The Tigers delivered a powerful performance in thumping Menomonie 8-1 in the regional final. This win moved the third-seeded Tigers into Tuesday's sectional semifinal game at Superior. The winner of Tuesday's game will play in the sectional championship game, which is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday at Amery. The opponent in the sectional final will be the winner of Tuesday's game between Hudson and Baldwin-Woodville.
When the season began, little was expected from the Somerset girls basketball team. And throughout the season, the Spartans continued to exceed expectations. The Spartans locked up fourth place in the Middle Border Conference final standings last Thursday with a 62-47 homecourt win over Ellsworth.
Monday was a very productive night for the three local boys basketball teams, with all three posting Middle Border Conference victories. New Richmond and St. Croix Central finish tied for third place in the MBC final standings with their wins on Monday, both teams possessing 8-6 records.
WIAA girls basketball regional tournament action begins around the state on Tuesday, Feb. 20. Bloomer, Durand and Clayton were western Wisconsin teams that reached the WIAA State Tournament in 2017. What teams represent this part of the state at the 2018 WIAA state championships at the Resch Center in Green Bay on March 8-10 is anyone's guess. There are talented teams in all five divisions, but it will take talent and a little luck to be the teams advancing to the state tournament this season.
Four local wrestlers, two from Somerset and one each from New Richmond and St. Croix Central, have qualified for the 2018 WIAA Individual State Championships. Somerset seniors Preston Anez and Garret Hecht, New Richmond senior Nathan Fehlen, and St. Croix Central junior Ryan Larson wrestled their way to the state championships at sectional tournaments that were wrestled on Saturday. The 75th WIAA state championships will be wrestled at the Kohl Center in Madison from Feb. 22-24.
The New Richmond boys basketball team sank seven three-pointers in the first half to take charge and the Tigers never gave up the lead in winning at Somerset, 58-41 on Friday. Somerset led 8-7 eight minutes into Friday's game. The Tigers then reeled off four straight three-pointers, two from Ryan Kling and one each from Talon Seckora and Cole Effertz, to lead 19-8. The Tigers led by as many as 15 points in the first half. Somerset's Ty Madden hit a long three-pointer at the halftime buzzer to trim New Richmond's lead to 28-16.