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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Three Somerset wrestlers were able to reach the finals, but none came away as champions at Saturday’s New Richmond Invitational. The Spartans placed sixth among the eight teams in the tournament, but they were 30 points out of third place in the closely packed final results. Reaching the finals for the Spartans were Josh Maack at 113 pounds, Steven Moncada at 126 and Jared Grahovac at 132. Maack pinned his way to the finals at 113, where he met Clear Lake’s Cori Engebretson, who won 11-3. The loss drops Maacks record to 17-3, while Engebretson is 16-1.
The Stars gave everything they had in their illness-racked bodies, they just couldn’t make it last through a full three periods. The Western Wisconsin Stars girls hockey team led the state-ranked St. Croix Valley Fusion 2-0 after two periods last Monday and they still held that lead with 10 minutes remaining in the game. But in a two-minute span in the middle of the third period, the Fusion scored three times. The Stars gave everything they had, including pulling goalie Catherine Magler, in hopes of getting the tying goal. But it didn’t happen and the Stars suffered a 3-2 defeat.
Hitting 12 percent of its shots in the first half of Friday left the St. Croix Central boys basketball team in an inescapable hole in its game at Ellsworth. Central trailed 31-15 at halftime after the frigid start. The Panthers did play much better in the second half, getting as close as seven points, before losing to Ellsworth 66-50. The loss was Central’s first in Middle Border Conference play this season. The Panthers stand at 2-1 in the MBC and 2-5 overall after last week’s results.
Former St. Croix Central coach Ron Parker was one of four inductees into the Rice Lake Sports Hall of Fame in December. Parker taught at St. Croix Central from 1963 to 1969 with outstanding win-loss records. His records were 102-22 in basketball, 41-18 in baseball and 29-3 in football. Parker and his wife, Jeanne, currently reside in Rice Lake. Former St. Croix Central volleyball coach Beth Monson is a SCC graduate who studied under Coach Parker. “He was a dynamic coach, he was motivating. His thing was enthusiasm,” Monson said. “He had a very strong phy ed program.”
The idea behind adding Merrill’s Bluejay Invitational was to get the St. Croix Central wrestlers the chance to compete against unfamiliar opponents. That idea came true, the the Panthers not likely to see most of the 19 teams from the tournament again this season unless they qualify for the state tournament. Central finished 13th among the 19 teams in the lethal tournament field that included state-ranked Prairie du Chien, Sun Prairie and Boyceville.
There have been many more close games for the Somerset girls basketball team this season after their schedule was beefed up to challenge the team that finished 23-1 a year ago. The tougher schedule has meant tougher challenges for the varsity regulars as the Spartans hope to earn a return trip to the WIAA sectional tournament. But those close games have also limited some other things the Spartans have been trying to accomplish. So when the Spartans rolled up a big first half lead in their 77-41 win at Prescott last Tuesday, it opened up a number of possibilities.
When Baldwin-Woodville ag teacher Bill Gillis committed suicide five years ago, it was a painful reminder to the members of the ag teaching fraternity of the stress in their jobs. St. Croix Central ag teacher Bill Emery had worked on many projects through the years with Gillis. Gillis’ death spurred Emery to begin a program so this wouldn’t happen to other teachers. “Because of his death, I became a bit more vocal in the state wellness, more on the wellness of the mind,” Emery said.
Somerset native Gaelin Elmore was one of the handful of University of Minnesota football players who led the team's decison to consider boycotting December's Holiday Bowl appearance over the suspension of 10 players on sexual assault charges. Elmore has spoken to the St. Paul Pioneer Press on the players' handling of the situation and the backlash that was created. Here is the link to that story: http://www.twincities.com/2017/01/05/why-did-the-gophers-boycott-a-team-...
New Richmond senior Bryce Younger topped one defending state champion, but was edged by another in the 138-pound championship at the Bi-State Classic in La Crosse last Friday. Younger was the only New Richmond wrestler who was able to finish among the placewinners in the heavily talented tournament last week.
One of the bigger surprises to come out of the 2017 Northern Badger Wrestling Invitational was the performance of the Somerset Spartans. The Spartans took nine wrestlers into the varsity portion of the tournament on Thursday and Friday at River Falls High School. Of those nine, seven Spartans were placewinners in the tournament.