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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Durand made life easy for the New Richmond wrestling team in the Tigers' season-opening match last Thursday. While Durand had 16 wrestlers available, the Panther coaches chose to have most of them wrestle junior varsity matches. Only six varsity matches were wrestled, which led to the Tigers getting an easy 66-12 win. New Richmond has had an excellent turnout for wrestling, including a ground swell of interest from kids who've never wrestled before.
With several important games on the horizon, the Somerset boys hockey team spent Saturday's clash with Tomah prepping for those upcoming games. The Spartans improved their season record in the process, icing the Timberwolves 6-2. The next game for Somerset is at 3 p.m. this Saturday, when they skate at Robbinsdale Cooper. The Spartans start their Middle Border Conference schedule next Tuesday, hosting New Richmond in the always tumultuous meeting with the Tigers. In Saturday's win over Tomah, the Spartan coaches set out three tasks for the Spartans.
The schedule couldn't get much tougher for the New Richmond girls basketball team to start the 2011-12 season. The Tigers began the season by facing Chippewa Falls, which finished last season ranked sixth in the Division 1 state rankings. The Tigers' second opponent was Barron, one of the top teams in the Heart O'North Conference. In both games the Tigers were able to stay close, but they couldn't get the offensive production to win either game. They lost to Chippewa Falls 45-26 last Friday and 33-23 at Barron this Monday. This year's Tiger team is a mixture of the four classes.
For the second straight year, the New Richmond girls hockey team took second place at the Wisconsin River Classic. The tournament was held on Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids. The Tigers won their opening game 3-2, when senior Paige Charland scored 20 seconds into the overtime period to top the Stevens Point-Rapids co-op team. In the championship game, the Tigers were defeated for the second straight year by the Bay Area Bears, a co-op team from the Green Bay area. This year's score was 3-0. The Tigers and Bay Area were both scoreless in the first period.
Some teams try to pad their early season record by scheduling a few easy opponents. The Somerset girls basketball team isn't one of them. Somerset's opening opponent was Hayward, a team that finished with a 19-4 record last season. The Spartans took a 52-34 loss in Friday's opener, but the coaches saw what they wanted to see from the team in a competitive setting. The Spartans were competitive for most of Friday's game with Hayward.
There isn't a great deal of varsity experience on the 2011-12 St. Croix Central boys basketball roster. So the Panthers are going to try to overcome their lack of experience with a highly committed effort level. That worked for the Panthers in their season opener, beating Glenwood City 37-22 last Tuesday. The Panthers' lack of experience was exploited when they played at Mondovi last Friday, with the Buffaloes winning 65-32. The win over Glenwood City was the first varsity victory for new Panther coach Zach Turpin.
There's a great deal of anticipation surrounding the Somerset boys basketball team this season. By finishing 4-4 in their final eight games last season, the Spartans appeared to be a team on the verge of maturing into a contender in the Middle Border Conference this season. In their first outing of the 2011-12 season, the Spartans showed they are ready to live up to those expectations.
Six dual matches in the first three days of their season helped to get the Somerset team back in wrestling shape in a hurry. The Spartans began their season last Thursday, winning a Middle Border Conference dual match against Prescott, 44-27. The Spartans followed that up by wrestling five dual matches in a tournament at Glenwood City on Saturday. The Spartans won two of their five matches. The late run by the football team set the Spartans behind the clock in the wrestling season. There are 24 wrestlers out for the team, one of the highest numbers in decades.
With all the new players on the St. Croix Central girls basketball team, the first two games of the season were more like a fact-finding mission. So while the Panthers lost both of those games, they gave evidence that they are quickly progressing in the right direction. The Panthers lost their season opener at Ellsworth last Tuesday, 45-26. Two nights later they were nearly able to knock off Glenwood City, losing 39-36 in the Panthers' home opener. The Panthers are terribly young, with two seniors, Shelby Thomley and Shaylyn Lyksett.
In the frantic world of high school football, extra time is in short supply. So when special needs student Hunter Harstad decided he wanted to go out for the Somerset football team this fall, there were concerns about whether there would be ways to incorporate him into the football program. There were as many concerns whether the time needed for a student with Down syndrome would take away from time needed by the coaches to work with the rest of the players. The concerns were quickly put to rest. The coaches found a role for Harstad, as an assistant to the coaching staff.