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 first match set the tone for an opening night win for the St. Croix Central wrestling team and the Panthers are hoping the opening win sets the tone for their season. The Panthers went to Grantsburg last Thursday to face the cooperative team from Grantsburg, Luck and Frederic. The co-op team was hoping for a big night, starting with the opening match at 140 pounds. They consider Ben Ackerly one of their best wrestlers. But they forgot that Central has a pretty fair wrestler there too in senior Chris Halvorson.
The New Richmond boys hockey team withstood an early charge from Hudson on Tuesday to beat the Raiders 5-2 at the New Richmond Sports Center. Hudson came out flying, hitting any Tiger who was near the puck. That early intensity carried the Raiders to a 2-0 lead. New Richmond answered the Raiders' second goal almost immediately, when Max Skatrud scored 10 seconds later. The Tigers scored early in the second period to tie the game on a goal from Josh Leavens.
The showdown between last winter's boys basketball conference champions was everything fans could have asked for. The New Richmond boys, the three-time defending Middle Border Conference champions, got the better of Eau Claire Memorial on Saturday. The Tigers won on the Old Abes' home court, beating the defending Big Rivers Conference championship team 38-26. This was the Tigers' second game of the 2010-11 season.
Youth bowling is being re-established in New Richmond and it's ready to take off. Youth bowling has been moved back to Saturday mornings at Gibby's Lanes. There are already 20 kids who are bowling each Saturday morning and there is room for many more kids to join in the fun. League organizers said they can easily take on as many as 50 kids each Saturday. The program is open to kids ages 6-20 and of any bowling experience level. The league is coached by Derik Thibodeau, Chris Heinbuch, Tom Lund and Jake Sander.
Ten of the 20 skaters on the New Richmond girls hockey team got their first varsity experience in a demanding opening week of the season last week. Combine that with Emily Howlett moving up from assistant coach to her first varsity coaching assignment and you have a team that is definitely learning on the fly. The Tigers were beaten in each of their first four games of the season that were played last week. Howlett said the team progressively got better during the week and is making improvements in the areas where they are most needed. The opening game of the season was played on Nov.
New Richmond boys hockey coach Adam Swanda specifically picks the tournaments the Tigers play in, looking for tough competition to sharpen the players' skills. The Tigers got all the competition they could handle by skating in the Eagles Nest Thanksgiving Open in Rochester, Minn. last Friday and Saturday. How's this for a challenging way to start the season? The Tigers' opening draw in the tournament was Rochester Lourdes, the number 3 ranked Class A team in Minnesota. Lourdes scored a 5-1 win, boosted by an inordinate amount of penalties called against the Tigers.
If you think the Somerset hockey team found particular joy in thrashing Eau Claire North on Saturday, you are right. The Spartans scored a 12-1 win over North in the second round of the Amery holiday tournament on Saturday. In the opening round of the tournament on Friday, Somerset lost to River Falls 5-2. The fact that Somerset's enrollment is approximately one-third of the enrollment at Eau Claire North served as inspiration for the Spartans.
A large part of New Richmond's sport history was on hand to officially unveil a key part of its future. More than 1,200 people were in attendance, including many former coaches and athletes, as the New Richmond High School gymnasium was dedicated last Tuesday. The gym is considered the centerpiece of the new athletic facilities at the high school, which include new locker rooms, outdoor athletic fields, a new track and a state-of-the-art weight room. The dedication ceremony was held before the first varsity boys basketball game in the new facility.
An open house was held last week to show off the new Learning Center building in the Somerset School District. The new building houses the district offices and a number of classrooms. By moving the district offices out of the high school, it created space for a rapidly growing special education population in the schools. The former district office is now the home for the oldest special education students in the district.
The Somerset Board of Education has denied a grievance filed against them over benefits for a retired teacher and her husband. The grievance was filed by the West Central Education Association, which is the union that includes the Somerset teaching staff. The grievance was filed on behalf of Kathy Murphy, who retired as a teacher from the school district last summer. The crux of the argument is whether Murphy's husband, Bill, should be covered under her insurance policy carried through the school district. The board's denial came down to four points.