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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New Richmond's wrestlers had their pinning combinations ready when Somerset's wrestlers arrived at the NRHS gym last Thursday. Seven of New Richmond's eight wins on the mat came by pins, carrying the Tigers to a 57-21 victory over the Spartans. New Richmond also had one decision victory and the Tigers accepted two forfeits. The meet started at 220 pounds, where New Richmond's Gage Manske scored a pin. After the Tigers forfeited at 285 pounds, the Tigers charged through the lower weights. Seth Leavens and Dylan Dowd both needed less than a minute to get pins in the two lowest weights.
It's not how long you have the puck, but what you do with it when you have it that decides hockey games. A perfect case in point was Somerset's 5-2 win over Hudson on Saturday at the Somerset Ice Arena. Hudson held the puck for much longer and the Raiders outshot Somerset 36-24. But when Somerset had the puck, the Spartans used unselfish passing to produce a number of high quality shots. Most of Hudson's possessions came from activity along the boards. The Raiders weren't able to convert those possessions into good scoring chances.
Senior Bobby LeRoy joined the elite group of Somerset wrestlers who have won 100 matches during their Spartan career at last Thursday's dual match in New Richmond. Unfortunately for the Spartans, that was one of the few Somerset highlights in a 57-21 loss to the Tigers. LeRoy earned his 100th victory by getting an 8-3 win over New Richmond's Austin Anderson in the 145-pound class.
Getting hockey players to make a higher commitment to academics is the reason the S.K.A.T.E. program has been brought to the New Richmond Hockey Association. S.K.A.T.E. was begun in Minnesota in 1997. Because several New Richmond youth hockey teams skate in Minnesota leagues, New Richmond was allowed to join Minnesota associations in installing this program. According to their website, " S.K.A.T.E. is an academic recognition program designed to encourage youth hockey players to strive for excellence in the classroom.
Add Gabe Flandrick to the long list of Somerset High School athletes who have the chance to compete in college athletics. Flandrick has agreed to a scholarship offer to wrestle at the Minnesota State University-Mankato beginning next winter. Flandrick is a three-time state placewinner who finished second in the state Division 2 138-pound bracket in 2012. Flandrick was the underdog in one of the most closely anticipated matches in the tournament. He faced Cuba City's Jared Donar, who was going for his fourth straight undefeated season.
The New Richmond and Somerset boys basketball teams are quickly setting themselves as contenders for the 2012-13 Middle Border Conference crown. New Richmond scored its second win over a Big Rivers Conference opponent on Friday when the Tigers topped Chippewa Falls 59-57. Somerset played its first game of the season on Friday. The Spartans shook off some early-game rustiness to blast St. Croix Falls 75-39. New Richmond was led Friday by senior Joe Deppe, who scored 31 points.
Brock Montpetit and the University of Nebraska-Omaha men's hockey team will play at the University of Minnesota in games this Friday and Saturday. Meanwhile, three local skaters will be playing for UW-River Falls in a homestand this Friday and Saturday against UW-Superior. Montpetit and the UNO Mavericks are ranked 13th nationally in the USCHO.com hockey poll. The Minnesota Gophers are ranked third in the nation. Both games will have start times of 7:07 p.m.
The New Richmond girls basketball team was one of the final area squads to open its season, but the Tigers showed they put their practice time to good use. In Tuesday's Tiger season opener, New Richmond scalded Ellsworth 48-14. Ellsworth wasn't able to reach double figures in scoring until there was 6:29 left in the game. New Richmond used a fierce defense to shut down Ellsworth. The Tigers' fine outside shooting was more than sufficient to control this game. Junior Sydney Kannel led New Richmond with 15 points. Senior Kaycie Anderson and sophomore Hannah Simpson each scored nine points.
After feeling the overwhelming agony of a state championship game defeat a year ago, the Somerset football team experienced the all-healing exhilaration of winning the state championship. The Spartans were able to raise the "gold ball" trophy given to the state champions after defeating Big Foot 35-33 in overtime in the WIAA Division 4 state championship game at Camp Randall Stadium last Thursday. The mantra since the double-overtime loss in last year's state championship game was "finish it," with signs all over the high school reminding the players of that goal.
The heartbreak of Somerset's double-overtime state championship loss last year was swept away when the Spartans defeated Big Foot 35-33 to win the Division 4 state championship at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison on Thursday. This game was also an overtime decision. Somerset got the ball first in the overtime, with battering ram fullback Vern Breault covering the first 20 yards of the drive.