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 four Somerset wrestlers who have been standouts all season continued their success at the WIAA Division 2 regional meet in Ellsworth on Saturday. If they can maintain that level of success in this Saturday's Division 2 sectional in Osceola, they will earn a place in the 2012 WIAA State Wrestling Championships. Qualifying for the sectional meet from Somerset are seniors Austin Bushinger and Haydon Dvorak and juniors Bobby LeRoy and Gabe Flandrick.
Fast starts have been one of the things the St. Croix Central boys basketball team has done well this season. The Panthers jumped out to a 12-5 lead against Ellsworth last Tuesday. Ellsworth managed to come back, topping Central 53-42. Central's inability to handle full-court pressure proved to be its undoing. Central led 15-6 early in the second quarter. Ellsworth, which has a strong pool of guards, then clamped down the press.
The Ellsworth regional meet was packed with surprises -- some good, some painful -- for the St. Croix Central wrestling team. The Panthers were able to advance eight wrestlers to this Saturday's Osceola Division 2 sectional meet.
In two of its three games over the last week, the New Richmond girls hockey team played quite well for parts of the game, but the Tigers were undone by one bad stretch of play. The exception was on Saturday. The Tigers played a complete game, with no lapses, in winning at Superior on Saturday, 2-1. The Tigers now turn their focus to the WIAA playoffs. New Richmond is the eighth seed in the sectional tournament bracket. They open play at 7 p.m.
Proving themselves playoff-ready was an important step for the Somerset hockey team last week. The Spartans wanted to prove, to themselves perhaps more than anyone else, that they were ready to be a factor entering the WIAA hockey playoffs this week. By beating Altoona 5-0 and the Eau Claire Regis co-op team 8-3, the Spartans took the strides they needed to be ready. The playoffs were scheduled to begin on Tuesday night, with Somerset hosting Barron. The winner of Tuesday's game will play at New Richmond at 7 p.m.
At the start of the season the St. Croix Central girls basketball team was one of the youngest teams in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference. Losing two of their most experienced players in the past two weeks to season-ending injuries has the Panthers playing at new levels of inexperience. In the opening minutes of last Tuesday's game at Plum City, Panther junior forward Arinn DiSalvo suffered a dislocated knee cap while playing defense.
New Richmond's boys basketball team needed its best performance of the season to retain the Middle Border Conference lead. That's just what the Tigers produced. New Richmond and Baldwin-Woodville went into Friday's game at the NRHS gym tied at the top of the MBC standings with 7-2 records. Baldwin-Woodville hit a three-pointer for the opening points of the game, but it would be the only highlight for the Blackhawks.
On a team packed with young wrestlers, senior Mitchell Kern has been the shining example for the New Richmond wrestling team of what can be accomplished with patience and diligence. Kern, in his first year in the varsity lineup, earned the Middle Border Conference heavyweight championship on Saturday. The 2012 MBC meet was held at Durand High School. Kern was one of three Tigers who reached the championship match in their flights.
By getting six wrestlers into the finals, St. Croix Central was the highest ranking Dunn-St. Croix Conference team in the 2012 Big Rivers-Dunn-St. Croix Wrestling Challenge, held on Saturday at River Falls High School. The Panthers finished in third among the 12 teams in the tournament with 199 points. Hudson won the team title with 214 points. The Panthers were 3.5 points behind second place Chippewa Falls. The Panthers did finish seven points in front of Spring Valley, the D-SC dual meet champion. Six Panthers reached championship matches on Saturday.
New Richmond and Superior played in the WIAA boys hockey sectional championship last March. If the WIAA seedings hold true, the Tigers and Spartans would meet in the sectional championship game again this year. New Richmond earned the second seed in the WIAA sectional tournament bracket. Superior was the unanimous choice as the top seed in the tournament bracket. The Tigers start their WIAA tournament run on Thursday, Feb. 16. They will play at home at 7 p.m., against the winner of next Tuesday's opening round game between Somerset and Barron. The winner of the Feb.