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 Somerset track teams start the season on the young side, but that doesn't mean the teams won't be competitive. Under new coach Terry Otradovec, the Spartans began their season with a pair of meets last week. The Spartans showed their ability in the 2014 Northern Badger Classic at UW-Stout on Saturday. The Spartan boys took third place among 24 schools competing in the small school division at the Somerset girls placed 13th. The Somerset teams start the season in different places, experience-wise.
Graduation has taken a toll on the St. Croix Central track teams each of the past several years, but the resilient Panthers continue to bounce back. The Panther coaches expect their teams to again be competitive in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference and in the WIAA Division 2 tournament series. Ben Lamb is the senior member of the Panther coaching staff. Former co-head coach Amanda Webb departed for Spring Valley, so John Tackmann has stepped into the co-head coach role for the Panthers.
The recently completed WIAA basketball tournaments proved to have a positive financial benefit for the New Richmond School District and the local community. Because of the capacity of the New Richmond High School gym, it has become a popular spot for the WIAA to place tournament games.
The message was loud and clear at the New Richmond wrestling banquet last Thursday. Because Ellsworth is graduating more than half of its state championship lineup, Tiger coach Mark Neumann said there is an opportunity for the New Richmond wrestlers to be competitive at a new level in the Middle Border Conference. Neumann said the one thing that separated the Tigers from the two teams above them in the MBC standings this year, Ellsworth and Amery, was physical strength. “Technically, we're as good as anybody,” Neumann said.
It happens to the best of athletic programs. Transition. It's a word that means there are more questions than answers as a team begins its season. Such was the case with the St. Croix Central wrestling team in the past season. The Panthers brought back few wrestlers with any varsity experience. And while the Panthers didn't get any wrestlers to the WIAA state tournament this year, Central's coaches aren't deeming the season a failure. Far from it. “Coaching-wise, it was one of our more successful years,” said Central coach Brad Holzer.
Former St. Croix Central athlete Marcus Malecek is now making his mark in athletics at the United States Air Force Academy. As a sophomore, Malecek moved into the starting lineup for the Air Force wrestling team that built an 11-6 record this season in its NCAA Division I schedule. Malecek finished the season with a 16-16 record for the Falcons. One of the shining moments for Malecek this season was at the 20th annual All-Academy Championships, where wrestlers from eight military academies across the nation compete. The meet, hosted by the Coast Guard Academy on Feb.
A former Somerset hockey standout has finished his collegiate career and is looking to move on to a higher level of hockey next year. That player is Jeff Burke, son of Jim and Kathy Burke, who has been playing hockey since he was 3 years old. “I got started in hockey through my cousins. All my older cousins played hockey so they would take me down onto the ice to skate while babysitting me,” Burke said. Burke said some of his best memories were getting to play under his coach, and cousin, Dan Gilkerson.
Here are this week's reported scores from the bowling leagues at Gibby's Lanes in New Richmond. Among the highlights were a 297 game rolled by Steve Glick in the Wednesday Commercial League.
The outstanding basketball played in the area was recognized when the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Game rosters were announced this week. New Richmond's Sydney Kannel and Mattie Kidder and Somerset's Jack Emmert have been selected to play in the all-star series. Kannel and Kidder will play for the Division 2 North girls team and Emmert will be a part of the Division 3 North boys team. Emmert will be playing under a familiar coaching staff. Somerset varsity coach Brent Larson will be the head coach for the Division 3 North team.
The announcement of the Wisconsin Hockey Coaches Association All-State Team brought great news for five area boys hockey players. Somerset seniors Drew Kelly and Adam Marty were both selected as first team all-state players. New Richmond seniors Tanner Wisemiller and Jeremy Leavens were named as honorable mention all-state players, as was Somerset junior Reed Kelly. This is the second time in team history that Somerset has two players named to the all-state first team.