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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Two wins and some valuable experience were the reward for the Somerset wrestling team for their efforts in a quadrangular meet in Glenwood City last Tuesday. The Spartans scored wins over Unity and Baldwin-Woodville, but were beaten by a sturdy Glenwood City team. The night started with the Spartans scoring a 37-29 win over an improved Unity team. The Spartans got pins from Gabe Flandrick, Austin Bushinger and Bobby LeRoy in the win. The one surprise was a loss by pin taken by Spartan heavyweight Jeremy Kelly. Apparently, you don't want to make Kelly angry.
The New Richmond girls hockey team learned last Tuesday how much one elite level player can affect a game. Onalaska is one of the most improved teams in the state this year, largely due to freshman Theresa Knutson. She accounted for five goals and an assist as Onalaska beat the Tigers 7-2 last Tuesday. An elite-level skater can have a larger impact in girls hockey because they can't be checked off the puck.
The third straight undefeated opponent faced by the St. Croix Central girls basketball team showed that the Panthers still have room to improve. The Panthers went into the string of games against unbeaten opponents without a loss too. But they lost two of those three games. The second loss came last Tuesday against Prescott, 48-37. In Tuesday's loss the Panthers' offense was streaky. Prescott led 12-4 after the first quarter, before the Panthers charged back to tie the score at 15-15 in the second quarter.
Somerset High School hasn't had an Academic Decathlon team since 2005. When Troy Pertzborn was hired as the new social studies teacher at SHS this fall, he was asked if he was interested in reviving the Academic Decathlon program. The new teacher was looking to get involved in extracurriculars so he jumped at the chance, though he had no knowledge of how Academic Decathlon operated. The advisor and students have learned quickly. Somerset was one of 60 Academic Decathlon teams to advance through the first round of competition.
The clash between the undefeated New Richmond and Baldwin-Woodville boys basketball teams had the feel of a playoff game. A vocal crowd, estimated at more than 1,400, saw a riveting battle that went down to the final second, with the Tigers scoring a 60-57 victory. The game wasn't decided until a B-W three-pointer from halfcourt plunked off the back iron at the buzzer. The Tigers took the lead with six minutes left in the game and never gave it back.
Five straight wins give the New Richmond Tigers a sense of momentum. How much the Tiger boys hockey team has improved in that stretch will be tested in the next 10 days. The Tigers are coming off a week filled with wins over Somerset, Menomonie and Amery. On Tuesday the Tigers were scheduled to host Eau Claire Memorial, which is ranked second in the state. The Tigers will make up their previous postponement with Superior this Thursday. The Spartans currently stand eighth in the state rankings. Next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the Tigers will make their annual trek to Rochester, Minn.
A measure of a team is how they perform against the traditional powers. St. Croix Central's wrestlers are measuring up quite impressively. The Panthers reached the championship match in the Osceola Wrestling Invitational on Saturday, beating several traditional powers on the way. To reach the championship match on Saturday, the Panthers won dual matches against Osceola, Barron, Cumberland and Clear Lake. In the championship match the Panthers lost a close battle with Boyceville, 34-27. Central's day started with a 54-22 win over Osceola.
The best efforts don't always translate into wins. Somerset hockey coach Dan Gilkerson said he felt the Spartans put forth an excellent effort in last Tuesday's game at New Richmond, but the Spartans suffered a 6-3 loss in that game. He said the team's effort wasn't nearly as strong when the Spartans played at Spooner on Thursday, but the Spartans came home with a 4-2 win to their credit. The win in Spooner hinged on the play of Spartan senior Mikal Urhammer.
The schedule has been grueling for the St. Croix Central girls basketball team to start the season. The Panthers were able to avoid defeat until their fifth game, when they lost to Mondovi 41-26 in Hammond last Thursday. It was the second undefeated opponent for the Panthers last week. On Tuesday the Panthers hosted unbeaten Alma-Pepin, with the Panthers prevailing, 51-42. The Panthers were scheduled to play their third straight unbeaten opponent this Tuesday when they played at Prescott. The Panthers are now into their holiday break. They don't play again until Jan.
The lunch lines were long at Somerset High School last Thursday. A'viands, the food service company that serves the school district, had a company chef cook lunch for the high school students and staff that day. The chef, Joel Orwig, makes visits to A'viands customer schools through the company's "Chief On Demand" program. Orwig, who has been a chef for 34 years, was cooking Chinese food for the students. One dish was a sweet and sour chicken, the other was a spicy Szechwan dish. The meal was served with a purpose.