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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A $7.95 million referendum has been approved by the Somerset Board of Education, with most of those funds targeted toward three expansions of the current Somerset High School building. The referendum will be part of the April 2 general election ballot. This is the school board's answer to requests from the community to explore all the possibilities of adding onto the current buildings instead of asking to build another new structure. The additions to the high school target three areas.
The rivalry between Somerset and Durand was at center stage last Tuesday when the two boys basketball teams battled in Durand, with the Middle Border Conference lead on the line. The Spartans needed to man up and that's just what they did. They played a hard-nosed, physical style that got them the lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Despite Durand's best pressure, the Spartans didn't let go of the lead, winning 60-55.
Putting five wrestlers into the semifinals and three into the finals resulted in St. Croix Central producing its best team finish ever at the Northern Badger Wrestling Classic at River Falls High School on Saturday. It was an extraordinary tournament for the Panthers. Senior Cody Nyhagen won the 170-pound tournament championship. His classmates, Carl Moll and Kyle Aaby, were second place finishers. Austin Edison and Brian Gibb took fourth in their classes. The Panthers were able to amass 222.5 points in the tournament, which ranked second to Clear Lake in the overall ranking.
An early showdown for the lead in the Middle Border Conference girls basketball race didn't go as hoped for the New Richmond girls basketball team. The Tigers and Baldwin-Woodville went into Friday's game at Baldwin as the only remaining MBC teams without a loss in conference action. The Tigers could never get their offense to finish its chances in the 50-33 loss to the Blackhawks. Coach Jeff Kanewischer said the loss didn't reflect how effective the Tigers were on offense. He said the team moved the ball well and got the shots they were hoping for.
One of the rarest accomplishments that can be achieved in Middle Border Conference girls basketball is winning at Durand. New Richmond's girls were able to pull off that feat last Friday and it took a rare performance to do it. Tiger junior Sydney Kannel scored 37 points in leading the Tigers to a 54-45 win. The win was New Richmond's first at Durand in the seven seasons Jeff Kanewischer has been coaching the team. The 37 points by Kannel is also the largest individual point total in Kanewischer's tenure.
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.