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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Since Luke Fritsche has taken over as the St. Croix Central girls basketball coach, the Panthers have made a tradition of improving through the second half of their seasons. That fact, as much as anything, was distressing as the Panthers lost their opening two games in the second round of the Middle Border Conference schedule. The second of those losses was a 66-44 setback at Somerset last Tuesday.
In bad need of a challenge, the Somerset hockey team found one when they traveled across the state to Antigo on Friday. The game didn’t end as well as the Spartans had hoped, but the purpose was met in the 4-3 loss to the Robins. On Saturday, Antigo scored a 3-0 win over Chippewa Falls, the leader in the Big Rivers Conference with a 14-2 overall record. Somerset will face that Chippewa Falls team next Tuesday, the second of two upcoming home games for the Spartans. Somerset will host Cedarburg at 2 p.m. this Saturday.
For the young Somerset boys basketball team, they’ve learned that accurate outside shooting is a team strength. Their opponents have also learned that fact. The Spartans ran up against two inspired defenses last week in Middle Border Conference losses against Ellsworth and Amery. Ellsworth defeated the Spartans last Tuesday, 63-42. The Spartans lost on their home court to Amery on Friday, 47-36.
Chris Stevens and Melissa Zajec were named 2016 Runners of the Year on Saturday at the New Richmond Running Club’s annual party. Stevens was an accomplished runner in high school and college. He has had more than his share of injuries over the years, but in October, 2015 he was involved in an accident that broke his right leg. Screws and a metal rod were required to reconstruct the leg. Within weeks of the accident he was swimming and a few weeks later riding a stationary bike. Months later, he was able to resume running.
The Red Wing hockey coaches thought the Western Wisconsin Stars were better suited to play their junior varsity team. They found out they were wrong. The Stars rolled over Red Wing’s JV team 8-0 on Saturday. The Stars went most of the season under the assumption that this game was going to be against the Red Wing varsity team, which is highly ranked in Minnesota. Stars coach Bob Huerta said he didn’t find out until two weeks prior that this game was going to be against the Red Wing JV.
The New Richmond boys hockey team took a big step toward the Middle Border Conference championship on Tuesday night. The Tigers went to Somerset and posted a 4-0 win over the Spartans. The Tiger boys now hold a two-game lead in the Middle Border Conference standings. Stuart Pearson scored the only goal of the first period. The score remained 1-0 until the third, when the Tigers got goals from Dylan Marty, Nick Johnson and Chris Lubow. The Somerset girls basketball team also moved closer toward an MBC title, beating Osceola 61-47 on Tuesday.
The Somerset girls basketball team methodically put away New Richmond on Friday night, 60-37, at the New Richmond High School gym. With the win, Somerset maintains its lead in the Middle Border Conference. Somerset's girls used balanced scoring to produce the win. Abbie Rivard led the Spartans with 13 points. Kaitlyn Struemke scored 12 points and Haley Bassett 11 for the Spartans. Lorin Bauer led New Richmond with 12 points and Kate Miller scored 10 points. In other action on Friday: -- The New Richmond boys basketball team lost at Prescott, 77-51;
The New Richmond wrestlers put together a decisive win on Thursday, while the Somerset wrestlers nearly completed one of the biggest comebacks in school history. The Tiger wrestlers went to Amery and were convincing in defeating the Warriors, 54-21. Winning matches for the Tigers were Joe Powers, Bryce Younger, Dylan Minke, Dylan Wachter, Roman Ficociello and Jake LaVenture. Somerset's wrestlers hosted Baldwin-Woodville and the Spartans fell behind 33-6. Somerset then staged a comeback for the ages, but fell just short, losing to the Blackhawks, 36-35.
With games against Somerset, Superior and Baldwin-Woodville among their next four outings, the New Richmond boys hockey team has its final chances to cement its position in the WIAA sectional seeding bracket. Hudson appears to have clearly locked up the top seed in the sectional bracket. But the differentiation for the other upper seeds still leaves room for all these teams to make their claim. The next four games are their final games against sectional opponents.
The New Richmond and Somerset dance teams both brought home championships from the 2017 Middle Border Conference dance competition, held Saturday at River Falls High School. The New Richmond dance team performed with its usual precision and accuracy. The Tigers were the champions of the kick division, while taking second place in the pom division. Earning first team All-Middle Border Conference honors for the Tigers were Ellie Glorvigen and Maddie Yehlik.