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 New Richmond wrestlers got more of a battle than they expected in Somerset on Thursday, but the Tigers were able to survive for a 45-27 victory. Somerset led 24-18 after the first eight weight classes, but New Richmond won five of the final six classes to pull out the win. Earning wins on the mat for New Richmond were Shane Blackman, Caleb Neumann, Dominic Ficociello, Alex Schmidt and Jake Rose.
New Richmond hockey players and fans have made many disheartened trips home from Superior after frustrating losses to the Spartans through the years. So when the Tigers defeated Superior 3-2 on Saturday and gave the Spartans the chance to beat themselves up on the three-hour road trip, the Tigers didn’t feel a bit of remorse about it. For the young Tiger squad, this win showed what the team’s capabilities are.
Defeating a quality Middle Border Conference opponent and seeing the team leader reach a career milestone made for a successful opening week for the New Richmond wrestling team. The Tigers opened their season on Thursday, scoring a 49-13 win over Prescott. That was followed up by making the trip to the annual Lakeville North tournament, where Tiger senior Shane Blackman earned his 100th career victory. Blackman earned his 100th career victory when he defeated his second opponent during the Lakeville North tournament.
They might be the youngest varsity team in any sport in the area, but Somerset girls showed the basketball world that they are ready to play. The Spartans hosted Bloomer in their season opener. After a few shaky moments in the first half, the Spartans quickly proved they were fully capable to handle varsity action. When the game stretched into an overtime, and then another, the Spartans held their ground, winning in the second overtime 55-53. The game started well for the Spartans as they built a 12-6 lead in the first quarter.
Even with starting forward Hannah Simpson sidelined by elbow surgery, the New Richmond girls basketball squad looked in top form while winning its first two games of the season last week. The Tigers put away Middle Border Conference rivals Osceola and Ellsworth, with the Tiger offense looking potent in both games. The Tigers defeated Osceola 61-39 in their season opener last Tuesday.
The Western Wisconsin Stars reached the championship game in Saturday’s tournament in Wisconsin Rapids, but they were outshined by Fox Cities in the title battle. The Stars, the girls hockey co-op based in New Richmond, beat the cooperative team from Wisconsin Rapids and Stevens Point in the opening round of the tournament, 4-2. Fox Cities advanced to the title game by dealing Hudson its first loss of the season. The Stars weren’t at their brightest in the first two periods of the title game, falling behind 2-0.
The Somerset boys basketball team was one of the latest starting teams in the state, but they’re used to the late starts because of the success of the Spartan football team over the past decade. The Spartans finally got to take the court last Thursday in Osceola. They scored a win over the rival Chieftains, 61-44. This is a different Spartan team than in past years and Coach Brent Larson has changed his offensive system to match his talent. The Spartans are built around returning starters seniors Gaelin Elmore and Jack Emmert.
The Associated Press All-State Football Team was announced on Tuesday and Somerset senior Gaelin Elmore was again selected as a first team all-state player. Elmore was named as a first team selection at the defensive end-outside linebacker position. He had already been named as a first teamer on defense on the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association All-State Team. Several area players were included in this year’s AP All-State Team. Bloomer’s Colten Seibel and Hudson’s Jake Giordana were named to the first team offense.
Despite playing one of the most successful defensive halves imaginable, the St. Croix Central boys basketball team couldn’t finish off a win at Plum City last Friday. The Panthers held Plum City scoreless through the first quarter and without a field goal in the first half. The Panthers led 14-4 at halftime, but their turnovers in the second half left the door open for a Plum City comeback. The Blue Devils tied the score by the end of the third quarter and finished with a 32-29 win over the Panthers. The loss drops the Panthers to 0-3 for the season.
The early season opponents have presented opposite extremes for the Somerset boys hockey team. The Spartans have faced sharp, seasoned opponents such as Hudson and Menomonie. But they’ve also faced young opponents trying to find their way in teams like River Falls, Pine City and Tomah. The games last week were prime examples. The Spartans faced their toughest challenge so far last Tuesday when they played at Hudson. This was a rematch of last season’s WIAA sectional semifinal, where Hudson ended Somerset’s most successful season.