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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While the Somerset boys basketball team continues to work hard, wins have been elusive for the Spartan boys. Last Tuesday the Spartans played well in stretches in a 69-59 loss to Baldwin-Woodville. The Spartans' lack of size and experience was exploited last Friday, when they lost at Prescott 67-38. The 69-59 final against B-W doesn't mean the Spartans were close. They trailed by more than 20 points for parts of the second half.
The smiles told the story. And the smiles were huge. After two overtime losses and several other close calls, the New Richmond girls hockey team needed something good to happen. That something was a visit from the Rochester Century girls team Monday night at the New Richmond Sports Center. The Tigers dominated the game from the opening drop of the puck, scoring a 7-0 win. Even more than the score, the shots on goal showed how thoroughly the Tigers controlled this game.
The final dual meet of the season for the New Richmond wrestling team was a success last Thursday, with the Tigers scoring a 45-33 win at Osceola. This leaves the Tigers with a 5-2 Middle Border Conference record, which is good for third place in the MBC dual meet final standings. The Tigers' overall dual meet record stands at 8-5 for the season. The Tigers were without several wrestlers in the lower weights, but the success in the middle weights more than made up for it. From 125 to 140 pounds the Tigers lodged four straight wins.
With two starters out with injuries, it would have been easy for the New Richmond girls basketball team to wave the white flag when they played at Amery last Friday. Instead, the Tigers rallied, playing one of their best defensive games of the season. Amery won the game 39-36, but not without a heart-wrenching end for the Tigers. New Richmond's Kendra Mitchell rebounded a missed free throw with less than two seconds remaining and the Tigers called a timeout. The inbounds play got the ball to Tiger senior Jordan Van Dyk at halfcourt.
After losing three straight Middle Border Conference games, the Somerset girls basketball team went to Baldwin-Woodville last Thursday trying to refind its game. They found it. The Spartans pounced on the inexperienced Blackhawk girls, taking a 25-4 lead through the middle of the second quarter. With the early insurmountable lead, Spartan coach Kendrick Livers substituted liberally. That led to the Spartans winning 44-31. The win raises the Spartans to 3-3 in MBC games.
The two wins of the week weren't the biggest news made by the St. Croix Central girls basketball team over the past week. Central scored wins over Elmwood and Spring Valley, but they nearly rocked the basketball world with their upset bid against Dunn-St. Croix Conference leader Boyceville last Tuesday. The Panthers battled Boyceville evenly right to the end of the game. The Panthers missed a three-point shot at the buzzer that would have forced overtime, losing 43-40. Boyceville has a potent offense, led by the Bodsberg sisters, Cansis and Krista.
St. Croix Central's bid for a share of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference wrestling title came up short last Thursday. The Panthers ruled the middle weights, but Glenwood City's strength in the lower and upper weights was too much for the Panthers. Glenwood City won the match 40-25. The night's bouts started at an ideal spot for St. Croix Central. Panther senior Zack Gillis took the mat at 140 pounds. He left the mat 28 seconds later, having scored a pin that quickly. The early roll continued for the Panthers with Cody Nyhagen winning at 145 pounds and Matt Smith winning at 152 pounds.
The Somerset wrestling team still has a chance to finish in the upper half of the Middle Border Conference standings. The Spartans will be wrestling at Baldwin-Woodville in the final dual match of the MBC season. Both teams currently have 3-3 conference records. If the Spartans can overcome the Blackhawks, they would earn fourth place in the final MBC standings. Somerset moved in a position to stay in the upper half of the standings by beating Durand 41-34 last Thursday. Since four wrestlers left the Spartans in January, it has put the younger Somerset wrestlers into more pronounced roles.
Penalties are becoming an overriding factor for the Somerset hockey team. Even in last Thursday's 4-1 win over Baldwin-Woodville, the Spartans were bogged down by penalties. Eleven penalties were the difference on Saturday as the Spartans lost to Chippewa Falls, 4-2. The Spartans are hoping they can get the penalty issue resolved by this Thursday's home game with Amery. This game has consequences on several fronts. If Somerset wins, it would cost Amery a share of the Middle Border Conference title.
Ron Berg is the only director of curriculum the Somerset School District has ever had. When the position was created 10 years ago, Berg moved from the band director position to become curriculum director. "I was looking for a challenging job and I found it, with a capital C," Berg said. "My job is the four T's: testing, textbooks, training and too many other things to mention." The Somerset district developed its first strategic plan for the years 1995 through 2000. Part of that plan was creating the curriculum director position.