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.J. Wallace found the perfect opportunity at the perfect time. That's why he accepted a scholarship offer to become part of the University of Minnesota-Crookston football program. Wallace, a senior at New Richmond High School, last week signed his Division 2 national letter of intent to attend Crookston. He is the second local athlete to sign on with Crookston this winter. Somerset's Ashley Martell has accepted a scholarship offer to play basketball at Crookston next year. Wallace stands 6 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs 240 pounds.
Ending the season on a positive note was a goal for the St. Croix Central boys basketball team. By winning their WIAA Division 3 playoff opener against St. Croix Falls last Tuesday, the Panthers achieved their goal. The Panthers defeated the Saints 54-46 on Tuesday. That moved Central into the regional semifinal on Friday against Osceola. Central led for much of the first half, but the Panthers couldn't match a push made by the Chieftains in the third quarter.
Another sign that the Somerset boys basketball program is turning around came last Tuesday, when the Spartans earned their first WIAA tournament win in six years. The Spartans, who were seeded fifth, went to Amery and eliminated the Warriors, 57-48. That win moved the Spartans into the regional semifinals at top-seeded Unity on Friday. The Spartans found they still have steps to go before they can compete with top teams in the area, losing 60-39. The Spartans finish the season with a 6-17 overall record.
When Nikki Brooks went down, it was time for the rest of the St. Croix Central girls to step up. That's what happened in the final regular season game for the Panthers last Thursday. Brooks, the senior captain and leading scorer, struck her head on the floor and didn't get up. The rest of the Panthers came through, as the Panthers defeated Elmwood 45-41. Central ends the regular season with a 12-10 record. They were scheduled to open WIAA Division 3 regional tournament action on Tuesday with a game at St. Croix Falls.
The Somerset and St. Croix Central boys made it through their opening Division 3 regional games in the WIAA basketball tournaments on Tuesday night. Somerset went to Amery on Tuesday and knocked off the Warriors 58-47. Somerset's next assignment is facing top-seeded Unity on the Eagles' home court. That game will be played at 7 p.m. on Friday. St. Croix Central boys scored a 54-46 homecourt win over St. Croix Falls on Tuesday. The Panthers will play this Friday at 7 p.m.
New Richmond's boys hockey team is headed to the WIAA State Tournament for the first time since 2003 after the Tigers knocked off top-seed Superior in the sectional championship game Saturday afternoon. New Richmond will face the winner of Saturday's game between Wausau West and Mosinee in the state tournament opening round. That game is scheduled to be played at 8:15 p.m.
New Richmond senior defenseman Zach Kier scored the game winner in the third overtime on Tuesday, sending the Tiger boys hockey team to Saturday's WIAA sectional tournament championship game. The Tigers defeated Menomonie 4-3 in triple overtime. New Richmond will host Saturday's sectional championship game at 2 p.m. at the New Richmond Sports Center. The Tigers will face Superior, who beat Hudson 6-0 on Tuesday night. Tickets for Saturday's sectional championship game are on sale at the New Richmond High School office during school business hours.
There was good news for all three local wrestling programs in the WIAA sectional tournaments that were held on Saturday. New Richmond has two wrestlers who qualified for state during the WIAA Division 1 sectional tournament in Marshfield on Saturday. Somerset and St. Croix Central each had three wrestlers advance from the Amery Division 2 sectional meet. The 2011 WIAA State Individual Wrestling Championships will be held on Thursday through Saturday at the Kohl Center in Madison. New Richmond The Tigers will be represented at state by senior Joel Neumann and freshman Shane Blackman.
Thursday's sports action was fast and furious, with hockey playoffs and Middle Border Conference basketball leaders dominating the action. Tiger boys hockey In the WIAA boys hockey regional finals, the New Richmond Tigers advanced with a 4-0 win over Amery. The Tigers will play at home on Tuesday in the sectional semifinals, facing Menomonie. Parker Olson scored the only goal of the first period on Thursday, slapping home the rebound off a Tyler Montgomery shot 3:06 into the game. In the second period the Tigers got goals from Dom Peterson, Nate Jones and Zach Kier.
Talk about a team peaking for the playoffs. The New Richmond boys hockey team hosted a four-team tournament this weekend, facing two state-ranked opponents from Milwaukee Marquette and Monona Grove. The Tigers demolished both of the state-ranked teams, beating Monona Grove 7-1 on Friday and Marquette on Saturday 5-0. The playoffs begin for the Tigers on Thursday. They will play at home at 7 p.m., facing the winner of Tuesday's game between Amery and Spooner.