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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It was a joyful bus ride home for the New Richmond girls hockey team last Thursday. The Tigers earned their first win of the season, in overtime, by beating Superior 3-2. It seemed that all the breaks had been going against the Tigers this season. In the overtime, a break finally went their way. New Richmond's Chelsea Singerhouse put a shot on goal that was covered by the Superior goalie. The goalie then uncovered the puck, but no whistle had blown. A Superior defenseman and Tiger freshman Siera Myer both charged toward the free puck.
Wrestling in the Dells Dual Classic at Wisconsin Dells is becoming a tradition for the New Richmond wrestling team. The Tigers took second place in their six-team pool. The Tigers earned wins over Portage, Middleton and the Wausau West junior varsity and were defeated by River Falls and Cumberland. Individually, the Tigers had a number of highlights in the tournament. Heavyweight Joel Neumann went 5-0. So did Tanner Turany at 140 pounds. "Tanner's getting his basics down better," said Tiger coach Mark Neumann.
Heading into this season, three teams appeared to rise to the top in consideration as favorites for the Dunn-St. Croix Conference boys basketball race. Colfax, Glenwood City and St. Croix Central seemed to draw the attention around the conference as the main threats to win the conference title. The Central boys took a big step toward establishing themselves as a force in the D-SC by overpowering Glenwood City last Thursday, 61-40. This game was essentially decided by halftime.
"Good things happen when you go to the net." You will hear that from every hockey coach who has ever seen their offense go through a stretch without scoring. It couldn't have been more true for the Somerset boys hockey team in their games last week. The Spartans showed excellent energy in a game at Menomonie last Tuesday. The one thing the Spartans didn't have in the 3-0 loss to Menomonie was much action in front of their opponent's goal. That changed on Thursday when the Spartans played at Robbinsdale Cooper. The Spartans consistently fed the puck toward the goal mouth.
Getting six wrestlers into the finals and leading the team competition heading into the final round of the 2009 La Crosse Logan Invite showed how quickly the St. Croix Central wrestling team is maturing. The Panthers ended up taking third place among the nine teams in the tournament. Two Panthers, Matt Smith and Cody Nyhagen, earned individual titles. Central coach Brad Holzer said the team is developing more and more confidence every time it takes the mat.
It was a week of adversity, and finding ways to deal with it, for the Somerset girls basketball team. The Spartans found out midway through the week that they would be without starting junior forward Karli Solum for the rest of the season. Solum played limited minutes in last Tuesday's win at Spooner, but the discomfort in her lower back led to her family seeking out medical specialists to find the source of her pain. It was found that Solum has a fracture in one of her lumbar vertebrae in her lower back.
An 11-point first half on Saturday showed that the Somerset boys basketball team still has plenty of work to do. The Spartans lost to St. Croix Central 51-42 on Saturday. The lead for much of the game circulated in the 20-point range, before the Spartan reserves made a charge in the final three minutes to bring the final margin down to nine points. In the first half the Spartans made four field goals. Three of them came from senior guard Ben Kieckhoefer, who finished with a team-high nine points. "They did a good job of taking us out of our flow," said Spartan coach Brent Larson.
Prescott forfeited six weight classes against Somerset last Thursday, pretty much guaranteeing a Spartan win before a wrestler even stepped on the red mat in the Somerset gym. Those forfeits gave Prescott the flexibility to avoid many of the Spartans' top wrestlers. So it was up to many of the Spartans' younger grapplers to finish the job. They were able to do that, with Somerset earning a 44-30 win.
For more than three quarters, it appeared the St. Croix Central girls basketball team was well on its way to its second win of the season over a Middle Border Conference team. Central's girls took an early lead at Ellsworth last Friday and extended the lead as far as 10 points. In the fourth quarter Ellsworth clamped down full-court pressure that frazzled Central's guards. Ellsworth finished the game with a 20-4 scoring run, coming all the way back to beat Central 49-37. The Panthers were missing starting guard Ashley Adkins for Friday's game at it showed when Ellsworth turned up the heat.
Somerset's Brock Montpetit has made his college decision. Next fall Montpetit will be attending the University of Nebraska-Omaha and will skate with the Mavericks' men's hockey team. Montpetit currently is in his third season with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League. He is the Hawks' team captain and leading scorer this season. Recently he was named as the USHL Offensive Player of the Week. Montpetit will join New Richmond's Kyle Ensign on the UNO roster. Ensign is a sophomore defenseman for the Mavericks. UNO has had success recruiting Wisconsin products.