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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Brett Johnson is a bundle of non-stop energy with a motor that never quits. Distance running was the perfect fit for the St. Croix Central senior. Last week Johnson found a way to continue his running. He signed a national letter of intent to compete in cross country and track at UW-Parkside. Parkside is an NCAA Division 2 school located in Kenosha. Johnson didn't begin running competitively until the spring track season of his eighth grade year. "I got started running when my cousin, Monica (Walz) Jensen, died of Melanoma cancer," Johnson said.
The Somerset boys hockey team may have outhit New Richmond in the fiery renewal of the long-standing rivalry last Thursday. While Somerset had more hits, New Richmond had more goals. And that's the final measurement in a hockey game, with the Tigers netting a 4-1 win over the Spartans. The win raises the Tigers' record to 15-5 and this was their ninth straight victory. This gives the Tigers a sweep of their six Middle Border Conference games this season. The loss dropped Somerset to 8-11-1 for the season. The Tigers took the lead 47 seconds into the game and never gave it up.
Somerset senior Ashley Martell scored what is believed to be a Spartan single-game record 36 points last Tuesday in a 57-30 win at Prescott. The Spartans continued their winning ways on Friday, earning their seventh straight victory in a landslide 61-25 win at New Richmond. The wins put Somerset at 7-1 in the Middle Border Conference race. Durand began the week in second place with a 5-2 record. Martell's monster game in Prescott kept the Spartans at a comfortable lead throughout the game. Martell scored 16 points in the first quarter.
Sixteen points from guard Tyler Ledbeter and double-digit rebounds from Reggie Larson and Ryan Himes were key ingredients in the Somerset boys basketball team's 48-38 win over Ellsworth last Thursday. The win was the second for the Spartans in Middle Border Conference action this year, while Ellsworth drops to 5-4 in the MBC with the loss. For the young Spartans, this game was a huge step forward. The Spartans were able to control the post area at both ends of the court. Himes finished the game with a double-double, totaling 12 rebounds and 10 points.
An anemic offense continues to weigh down the New Richmond girls basketball team. The Tigers lost to Durand and Somerset, the top two teams in the Middle Border Conference last week. On Tuesday the Tigers lost at Durand 49-26. That was followed by a 61-25 homecourt loss to Somerset on Friday. The Tigers have not scored more than 28 points in any of their last four games and they are the lowest scoring team in the MBC. The offense struggled mightily against MBC leading Somerset on Friday, with one exception. The Tigers were held to six points in the first half.
St. Croix Central had four wrestlers reach the finals in Saturday's Big Rivers Conference/Dunn-St. Croix Conference Classic on Saturday, but none of the Panthers were able to win weight class championships. The Panthers like this tournament because of the rigid competition they face. In the final round of the tournament the Panthers faced off against some of the best wrestlers in the area. The performance of the Panthers in the tournament is best reflected in the all-conference honors the Panthers earned on Saturday.
The New Richmond boys basketball team was looking to start a new winning streak when they played at Prescott on Tuesday night. The Tigers accomplished that goal, pulling away in the second half to beat the Cardinals, 70-56. At halftime the Tigers led 33-32. They outscored the Cards 18-8 in the third quarter to take charge. The Tigers are now 15-1 this season. Riley Kannel paced the Tigers with 17 points. Cody Taubman scored 15 points, including nine in the second quarter.
New Richmond's Joe Neumann and Somerset's Gabe Flandrick and Haydon Dvorak all earned individual championships in the 2011 Middle Border Conference Wrestling Tournament, held Saturday at Ellsworth High School. Ellsworth won the team championship with 278.5 points. Amery was second with 207.5 points, followed by New Richmond with 157 and Somerset with 117.5. Neumann was the prohibitive favorite to win the 285-pound class and he didn't disappointed. Neither of his matches reached the second period.
Playoff hockey started early for the New Richmond boys this year. With the New Richmond and River Falls boys battling for the second seed in the WIAA sectional tournament bracket, Monday's game at the New Richmond Sports Center had all the excitement and intensity you could want from a tournament game. The game was deadlocked at 2-2 at the end of regulation. New Richmond junior Maxwell Skatrud banged home the game-winner at the 2:38 mark into overtime, giving the Tigers their eighth straight win. This was a noteworthy week for the Tigers.