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 Somerset and New Richmond wrestling teams both came away from the 2018 Middle Border Conference Wrestling Tournaments with reason to be proud. Somerset produced one of its best team finishes ever, placing second in the team competition at the 2018 tournament, held Saturday at Baldwin-Woodville High School. New Richmond placed third in the team competition and the Tigers were able to produce three individual champions.
When you played and coached for more than 40 years at a football field that is named after your father, you understand the importance of legacy and tradition. Bob Seibel wanted to fulfill his father's legacy. And with his induction into the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in March, Seibel, the longtime defensive coordinator for the Somerset football team, has carved out his own niche in the history of the Somerset School District and Somerset athletics.
The New Richmond boys basketball team played an outstanding defensive game on its home court against Amery on Friday. It took the Tiger offense a half to get to that level. In the second half, with both aspects of their game clicking, the Tigers ran away from Amery, 59-34. With the win, the Tigers improve to 6-4 in the Middle Border Conference. Amery now stands at 2-8.
The Western Wisconsin Stars didn't take advantage of enough of the scoring chances that presented themselves in Saturday's game against Onalaska. And when the Stars gave scoring chances to Onalaska, the Hilltoppers took full advantage. That resulted in the Stars' second close loss to Onalaska, this time by a 3-2 score, at the Somerset Ice Arena on Saturday. The Stars lost at Onalaska on Jan. 16, 4-2.
The final two dual matches of the season for the St. Croix Central wrestling team were against the two best teams in the Middle Border Conference. Last Tuesday, the Panthers wrestled at MBC champion Ellsworth, losing 74-6. That was followed by a match at second place Somerset last Thursday, where the Panthers lost 60-6. The only similarity of the two matches was that Central's points were generated by junior Ryan Larson. He received a forfeit at Ellsworth. On Thursday, he scored a second period pin against Somerset senior Peter Lepper.
The New Richmond boys hockey and St. Croix Central girls basketball teams are Middle Border Conference champions, but they took different routes to achieving their wins on Thursday. The Tiger boys hockey team trailed until there were less than eight minutes remaining in Thursday's game at the New Richmond Sports Center. The Tigers then scored four unanswered goals in the final 7:31 of the game to defeat Baldwin-Woodville, 5-2. This gives the Tigers the outright MBC championship with an 8-0 record.
The number of shots the Somerset boys hockey team has allowed in its past three games is staggering. And it follows a season-long downward trend in Somerset's defensive play. Somerset has outshot its opponents in just three of its 21 games this season. That has happened once in the Spartans' last 17 games. That trend carried through a pair of Middle Border Conference losses last week. They were defeated 10-1 at New Richmond last Tuesday, before losing on their home ice to Baldwin-Woodville last Thursday, 6-2.
You can't get much closer to winning. The Somerset boys basketball team held a 13-point lead early in the second half. The Spartans and Osceola were deadlocked in the final seconds. But it was Osceola's Haakon Carlson who hit the spinning shot from in the lane with three seconds remaining to give the Chieftains a 46-44 win over the Spartans. The loss dropped Somerset to 4-11 for the season. The Spartans resume their schedule this Friday with a game at Middle Border Conference leader Prescott.
What: 2018 Middle Border Conference Wrestling Tournament Where: Baldwin-Woodville High School When: Saturday, Feb. 3, wrestling begins at 9:30 a.m. The Middle Border Conference wrestling tournament championship has been under the sole ownership of the Ellsworth wrestling team for most of this century. That does not look like it will be changing at the 2018 MBC tournament.
Two teams still had hopes of overtaking St. Croix Central for the top spot in the Middle Border Conference girls basketball standings at the start of last week. By the end of last week, Central had achieved hard-fought victories over both of those teams. With wins over Prescott and Amery, Central's girls are closing in on their first Middle Border Conference championship. A win for the Panthers this Thursday at Somerset would lock up a share of the conference title. The Panthers also play a conference game at home next Tuesday against Baldwin-Woodville.