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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Three Tigers earned championships and five of the 10 New Richmond wrestlers who competed reached the finals in the 2011 Shell Lake Wrestling Challenge on Saturday. Seniors Cody Chouinard and Jorden Aufderhar were weight class champions. They were joined at the top of the podium by freshman Shane Blackman. Taking second place for the Tigers were senior Tanner Turany and Joel Neumann. Chouinard had the toughest route to the championship among the three Tiger titlists. In his final two matches he faced the fourth and fifth ranked 189-pound wrestlers in the state in Division 3.
Both of the New Richmond girls basketball games ended in nail-biting finishes last week, but they took vastly different paths to that finish. Last Tuesday the Tigers and River Falls locked into a closely fought defensive game. River Falls managed to pull out a 30-28 win over the Tigers. On Friday at Ellsworth the Tigers were buried for three quarters, trailing by as many as 24 points. Late in the game the Tigers made a scrambling, passionate comeback and had chances to tie the game in the final minute.
T.J. Leverentz wants to be the next Joe Buck. He's already got a good start on his sports announcing career. Leverentz had asked New Richmond High School Athletic Director Casey Eckardt last spring if there was any chance he could be the public address announcer for Tiger basketball games this winter. When Leverentz asked again this fall, Eckardt knew the NRHS sophomore's interest was sincere. So Eckardt agreed to let Leverentz try announcing junior varsity basketball games.
The powerlifting team at New Richmond High School has won its first trophy. The Tiger lifters went to Osceola on Jan. 15 and earned second place in the team competition. River Falls won the team event with 100 points. New Richmond placed second with 87 points and Osceola was third with 74 points. Freshman Allan Wollenberg and senior Bryan Greene were champions of their weight class to lead the Tiger performance. Wollenberg was the champion in the 132-pound class, finishing with lifts of 695 pounds.
It was another one-goal game, but this time the New Richmond girls hockey team didn't need overtime to record a win. The Tigers climbed to 8-10-1 for the season on Saturday by winning 5-4 at Rochester (Minn.) Century. The tandem of Paige Charland and Caitlynn Singerhouse has been moving steadily up the ranks among the leading goal scorers in the state. They added to those totals, combining for four goals in Saturday's win. Singerhouse scored the hat trick on Saturday to bring her goal total to 21 for the season. Charland scored once at Rochester, giving her 31 goals for the season.
The coaches got the maximum number of matches they could for their wrestlers last Thursday when the Somerset boys traveled to Durand for a Middle Border Conference match. With their teams having nowhere near full rosters, the coaches moved wrestlers around to get matches in wherever possible. The final result was a 32-21 victory for the Spartans. By shifting wrestlers around, there ended up being four double forfeits in Thursday's match. Both teams could have had wrestlers take some of those forfeits.
The Somerset hockey team notched its first Middle Border Conference win of the season last Thursday, defeating Baldwin-Woodville 5-2. This game was significant for the Spartans because they felt they hadn't played up to their potential when they lost at the Blackhawks' rink two weeks earlier by a 5-4 score. Thursday's game started with both teams concentrating on puck possession and not making mistakes in their own zone. The first period ended without a goal. The Spartans bagged the first goal, 7:41 into the second period. Robbie Flom won a faceoff, pulling the puck behind him.
How strong is the Dunn-St. Croix Conference in wrestling this season? The St. Croix Central wrestling team has a 23-3 dual meet record and all three losses have come against D-SC teams. The third of those losses came last Thursday, when the Panthers lost a gut-wrenching battle with Spring Valley-Elmwood, 30-29. You couldn't ask for a closer match. The Panthers and Cards both won seven matches and each team scored two pins.
Winning in Durand is never easy and last Tuesday's 67-65 win by the Somerset boys basketball team in Durand is a reflection of the Spartans' improvement. Over the weekend the Spartans fell short against two well established programs, from Baldwin-Woodville and Webster. The win in Durand last Tuesday showed the Spartans playing well in all facets of their game. They took the lead early and held a lead of 4-6 points most of the game. The lead grew to as much as 10 points. Somerset coach Brent Larson was impressed with the energy the Spartans played with at Durand.
St. Croix Central's girls led after three quarters, but couldn't finish off Boyceville last Thursday. The Bulldogs outscored the Panthers 17-7 in the fourth quarter to get ahead in the final score, 41-32. The loss drops Central to 4-3 in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference standings and 6-6 overall. Central coach Luke Fritsche said the girls need to find ways to create easy points. The team is simply having trouble scoring points. They're averaging 29 points in their last three games. He said one of the easiest ways to increase the point total would be to get to the free throw line more often.