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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The Somerset track teams have very little resemblance to last year's Spartan squads. The Spartan boys roster has exploded, nearly tripling since last season. Somerset's girls have almost the exact same number of athletes as last season.
For a few weeks in 1921 and 1922, Ted Odenwald stood at the top of the baseball world. Odenwald, a Hudson native, pitched in the major leagues with the Cleveland Indians in 1921 and 1922. He even got to be part of the customary trip to the White House with the Indians, who were World Series champions in the 1920 season. Our attention was brought to Odenwald by Ralph Germain of New Richmond. Germain's wife's sister was married to Odenwald's son. One of their family mementos was brought to our office by Ralph. It's printed above, a panoramic photo that Germain unrolled.
Somerset kindergarten teacher Melanie Germain has boundless enthusiasm for teaching her young students. Her passion for teaching was recognized last week, when she was one of 100 Wisconsin teachers chosen to receive a Herb Kohl Foundation Excellence Fellowship. Fellowship recipients are chosen for their superior ability to inspire a love of learning in their students, their ability to motivate others, and their leadership within and outside the classroom. Each fellowship winner's school will receive a $1,000 grant. Germain will receive her honor from Sen.
Bryan Greene is New Richmond's first high school powerlifting state champion. The NRHS senior earned the state championship in the 275-pound class at the 2011 Wisconsin High School Powerlifting Championships, held at Eau Claire North High School on Saturday. Greene was one of five members of the Tiger powerlifting team to compete in the state tournament. Also competing were Buck O'Flanagan, Pat Kletschka, Boyd Stacken and Connor Hollern. The season isn't done for four of the Tiger lifters.
The intensity of the rivalry between Somerset and Osceola was on full display when the two girls basketball teams met in the second round of WIAA Division 3 regional tournament play last Friday. Osceola had beaten Unity in the opening round of regionals, while the Spartans received an opening bye. Osceola carried the momentum of its opening win into Friday's game, leading throughout the game to eliminate the Spartans 60-53. Somerset finished the season with a 16-7 record.
The New Richmond girls basketball team was the first of three victims that fell to Rice Lake in the WIAA Division 2 regional basketball tournament last week. Rice Lake was the third seed in the region, but the Warriors defeated New Richmond, Ashland and Hayward to win the regional championship. Rice Lake will now face Sparta in the Division 2 sectional semifinals at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Eau Claire North. New Richmond fell to Rice Lake 55-26 in the opening round of regionals last Tuesday. The Tigers end the season with a 3-20 record.
The New Richmond hockey team had everything fall perfectly into place in qualifying for the 2011 WIAA State Boys Hockey Tournament. The one thing the Tigers couldn't control in the state tournament was the most important: where they were placed in the state tournament bracket. The Tigers got the worst of possible draws, facing eventual state champion Wausau West. The Tigers put up a heartfelt fight, but lost to the Warriors 5-0 in the state quarterfinals at the Alliant Energy Center last Thursday. The Tigers finish the winter with a 21-6 record.
It was an all or nothing battle for the conference title. When Somerset and Prescott clashed last Thursday, the teams knew the winner would be a Middle Border Conference champion and the loser would get nothing. After trailing by five points at halftime, the Spartans took control of the game by outscoring Prescott 17-2 in the third quarter.
Getting past the regional final remains an elusive goal for the New Richmond boys basketball team. The Tigers were upset in Saturday's regional final, losing to River Falls 54-45 at Osceola High School. River Falls advances to the WIAA Division 2 sectional semifinal. They will face Onalaska in that game, which will be played at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Eau Claire North High School. The winner of Thursday's game will play in the sectional championship game in Marshfield at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The Tigers finish the season with a 22-2 record. This matches the best record in team history.
One of the best girls basketball teams in Minnesota has a strong Wisconsin representation. Claire Van Dyk of New Richmond, Tessa Cichy of Somerset and Morgan Rustad of Hudson are all key members of the top-ranked Hill-Murray High School girls basketball team in St. Paul. Another Hudson resident, eighth grader Olivia Graskewicz, is working her way onto the Hill-Murray varsity team. Hill-Murray is the top seed in its sectional tournament bracket. The Pioneers will play in the sectional championship game this Thursday at 7 p.m. against South St.