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 focus was on improvement when the New Richmond wrestling team competed in the Bi-State Classic in La Crosse last Thursday and Friday. Three of the Tigers were placewinners in the tournament. Sophomore Shane Blackman placed ninth at 120 pounds. Senior Mitch Kern and freshman Derek Dowd were both 10th place finishers, Kern at 285 pounds and Dowd at 113 pounds. With the Tigers being so young this season, the game plan for Bi-State was much different than in most years.
The Somerset girls basketball team was hoping to make changes happen in their game at Boyceville last Thursday. While the Spartans did show some signs of progress, they weren't able to create overall change. The Spartans suffered their fourth straight loss,62-43, dropping their season record to 2-7. When the Spartans were able to get into their halfcourt offense, especially in the first and fourth quarters, they were able to do some good things.
Maybe Rochester, Minn., is where momentum begins. That's what the New Richmond boys hockey team is hoping. The Tigers earned one win and played three solid games in their annual sojourn to the Rochester tournament last week. Other than slow starts in their two losses in the tournament, there was a definite upswing in the Tigers' performance. Their win came against Rochester John Marshall in the second round of the tournament, by a 5-2 score. The Tigers lost to Rochester Century in the opening round of the tournament.
Reaching the championship game in the Rice Lake tournament had its consequences for the Somerset boys basketball team last week. It meant the Spartans would have to face undefeated Rice Lake in last Wednesday's title game. The Spartans didn't have the firepower to compare with the Warriors, losing 74-56. Somerset earned a win in the opening round of the tournament last Tuesday, toppling Cumberland 47-37. Rice Lake is led by the three Ellenson brothers. The oldest, Wally, has already signed a scholarship offer to play at the University of Minnesota.
After scoring 14 goals in their first 10 games of the season, scoring seven goals in one game was something the New Richmond girls could celebrate. The Tigers scored five goals in the first period in rolling to a 7-2 win over Luverne (Minn.) in the second round of the Sertoma-Home Federal Shootout in Rochester, Minn. last week. In the opening round the Tigers lost to Rochester Century, 6-2. In the third round of the tournament the Tigers and New Ulm (Minn.) had to break their 2-2 with a shootout.
The first holiday tournament for the New Richmond girls basketball team in many years was scheduled for several reasons. The Tigers were able to win one of the two games they played in Thorp last Tuesday and Wednesday. They edged Abbotsford in the opening round of the tournament, 44-41. They ran up against one of the finest teams in this part of the state, undefeated Ladysmith, and suffered a 58-24 loss in the championship game. Coach Jeff Kanewischer said the Tigers signed up for the tournament for several reasons. The tournament divide up a lengthy holiday break.
Two vastly different wins put the Somerset hockey team in the championship game of the Spooner Holiday Tournament last Friday. After beating Ashland 12-6 and the Breckenridge, Minn.-Wahpeton, N.D. cooperative team 2-1, the Spartans faced Menomonie in Friday's championship game. The Spartans played evenly with Menomonie for two periods, but the Mustangs were the better team in the third period, beating the Spartans 4-1. The tournament started with the Spartans getting into a frenetic paced game with Ashland.
The annual Somerset Elementary School version of the Iditarod sled dog race has been run in all sorts of weather conditions. A complete lack of snow for this year's race last Wednesday may have been the most rare weather condition the students have faced through the years. There have been years when the race has been held in waist-deep snow.
The New Richmond and Somerset boys hockey teams both registered impressive wins on Tuesday night. So did the Somerset boys basketball team. Boys hockey New Richmond's boys hockey team put together its most impressive performance of the past several weeks, slamming Big Rivers Conference co-leader Rice Lake, 7-1. The game was played in Rice Lake. Austin Zywiec scored the first two Tiger goals and Nate Jones also scored twice. Somerset's boys added to their lead in the Middle Border Conference by thumping Baldwin-Woodville 8-1 on the Spartans' ice.
One of the biggest surprises around the Middle Border Conference this winter has been the hot start of the New Richmond girls basketball team. The Tigers took over sole leadership of the MBC by defeating Baldwin-Woodville last Tuesday, 45-43. The Tigers are 3-0 in the conference and all three wins have been by two-point margins. The Tigers are 3-3 overall. A difference in the Tigers this season is they are finding a way to win the close games, where in past seasons they had trouble winning them. Against B-W, the Tigers built a 28-19 halftime lead.