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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You can bet the Somerset girls basketball team is happy to be done playing Minnesota opponents for the season. The ambitious non-conference schedule has brought some painful lessons for the Spartans, particularly in their four games against Minnesota opponents.
:It would be hard to top the drama of the New Richmond-Somerset boys basketball game last Friday, but the Tiger and Spartan girls may have done that when they clashed on the Spartans' court Tuesday night. Somerset trailed for much of the night, but charged back in the fourth quarter to force overtime.
The New Richmond and Somerset boys hockey teams added to their win totals in action on Thursday night. The St. Croix Central wrestling team also notched a win on Thursday. Boys hockey The New Richmond hockey team pelted Baldwin-Woodville with shot after shot, but it wasn't until the third period that the Tigers pulled away in their 5-0 win over the Blackhawks. The Tigers scored twice in the first period and were held scoreless in the second period.
Getting wrestlers into the semifinals in half of the weight classes carried St. Croix Central to the Division 2 team championship in the 2011 Northern Badger Wrestling Invitational last Wednesday and Thursday. Four of those seven wrestlers were able to reach the Northern Badger finals. One Panther, senior Marcus Malecek, came away as a Northern Badger champion. Finishing second in their weight classes were senior Matt Smith and juniors Carl Moll and Cody Nyhagen. The Panthers were the only team to get seven wrestlers into the semifinals of the tournament.
Somerset coach Mitch Flandrick was tired of seeing the Spartans finish in second place. He told senior Haydon Dvorak to do something about it. Dvorak answered the request by winning the 182-pound championship match at the 2011 Northern Badger Wrestling Invitational at River Falls High School last Thursday. Somerset had three wrestlers reach the championship match in their weight classes. Junior Gabe Flandrick lost in overtime in the 138-pound finals and junior Bobby LeRoy lost a narrow decision in the 126-pound finals. Dvorak tangled with St.
Former New Richmond state champion Ayla (Mitchell) Helland has received a highly prestigious honor recognizing her running career. Helland has been named to the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference All-Time Women's Cross Country Team. Helland ran from 2007 through 2009 for UW-Oshkosh. As a senior at Oshkosh, Helland won the 1,500 and 5,000 meter women's outdoor national track titles in 2009. She also won the NCAA national indoor mile championship in 2009. She finished third in the NCAA women's Division 3 cross country national championships in 2008.
The focus was on improvement when the New Richmond wrestling team competed in the Bi-State Classic in La Crosse last Thursday and Friday. Three of the Tigers were placewinners in the tournament. Sophomore Shane Blackman placed ninth at 120 pounds. Senior Mitch Kern and freshman Derek Dowd were both 10th place finishers, Kern at 285 pounds and Dowd at 113 pounds. With the Tigers being so young this season, the game plan for Bi-State was much different than in most years.
The Somerset girls basketball team was hoping to make changes happen in their game at Boyceville last Thursday. While the Spartans did show some signs of progress, they weren't able to create overall change. The Spartans suffered their fourth straight loss,62-43, dropping their season record to 2-7. When the Spartans were able to get into their halfcourt offense, especially in the first and fourth quarters, they were able to do some good things.
Maybe Rochester, Minn., is where momentum begins. That's what the New Richmond boys hockey team is hoping. The Tigers earned one win and played three solid games in their annual sojourn to the Rochester tournament last week. Other than slow starts in their two losses in the tournament, there was a definite upswing in the Tigers' performance. Their win came against Rochester John Marshall in the second round of the tournament, by a 5-2 score. The Tigers lost to Rochester Century in the opening round of the tournament.
Reaching the championship game in the Rice Lake tournament had its consequences for the Somerset boys basketball team last week. It meant the Spartans would have to face undefeated Rice Lake in last Wednesday's title game. The Spartans didn't have the firepower to compare with the Warriors, losing 74-56. Somerset earned a win in the opening round of the tournament last Tuesday, toppling Cumberland 47-37. Rice Lake is led by the three Ellenson brothers. The oldest, Wally, has already signed a scholarship offer to play at the University of Minnesota.