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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In the 41 years of the New Richmond Invitational, rarely has the Tiger wrestling team performed so well. The Tigers won individual championships in seven of the 14 weight classes to earn the team title for the 2010 NRI. The Tigers finished the tournament with 260.5 team points. Clear Lake ended up in second place, with 237 points. Winning individual titles for the Tigers were Aaron Daul, Abe Anderson, Charlie Gartner, Cody Chouinard, Grant Nelson, Jorden Aufderhar and Joel Neumann. "It was an awesome day for the kids," said Tiger coach Mark Neumann.
Wow. That's the best way to describe how the St. Croix Central boys played in the first half of Monday's home game against Ellsworth. Flawless. Unselfish. Disciplined. Those words would all work too. The Panthers built an 18-2 lead in the first five minutes of the game and two minutes into the second quarter the lead stood at 31-4. From there on Panther coach Mike Fern substituted liberally. The Panthers were able to finish with a 69-39 win over their Middle Border Conference opponent. After the previous two games, Fern was looking for more defensive energy from the Panthers on Monday.
Getting five wrestlers into the finals helped the St. Croix Central wrestling team build up enough team points to place third in the 2010 New Richmond Invitational on Saturday. The Panthers were able to collect 168.5 team points, finishing behind New Richmond and Clear Lake. Osceola was fourth with 163.5 points. Reaching the finals for the Panthers were Alex Halvorson at 119 pounds, Carl Moll at 135, Matt Smith at 152, Cody Nyhagen at 160 and Marcus Malacek at 171.
The New Richmond boys hockey team beat Amery 8-2. Earlier in the season Amery trampled Rice Lake 9-3. So when New Richmond played at Rice Lake at last Tuesday, it would have been logical to expect a one-sided contest. It didn't pan out that way, however. New Richmond got a power play goal midway through the first period, then never scored again. The game stretched into overtime and ended in a 1-1 tie. The Tigers were able to generate 38 shots in the game. Coach Adam Swanda said total shots didn't equate to good scoring chances. "They weren't threatening shots," Swanda said.
At the quarter pole in the Middle Border Conference boys basketball race, little has been decided. Two upstart teams, Amery and Durand, are the early pacesetters. New Richmond is among several teams packed in the middle and each of them are looking for an opportunity to make their break. If the Tigers do start making a charge in the MBC race, Friday's win at Prescott could be the propelling point. The Tigers won 44-37 for their first road victory of the season. The Tigers stand at 2-2 in the MBC following Friday's win.
The Somerset hockey team is 5-1 in its past six games, including wins over Baldwin-Woodville and Spooner last week. The Spartans will try building on that momentum this weekend when they play in a tournament at Hayward. The Spartans face Hayward at 5:30 p.m. on Friday in the opening round of the tournament. Rice Lake and Kettle Moraine-Mukwonago will play in Friday's other games.
The Somerset girls basketball team had to wait until January to play its first Middle Border Conference game of the 2009-10 season. They saved up a month's worth of drama for one night. The Spartans were able to get the win, needing overtime to top Prescott 44-42. This game gave the Spartans a glimpse of what they will see in most MBC games this season. Namely, Spartan leading scorer Ashley Martell was double-teamed wherever she went in the offensive half of the court.
It isn't often that the girls on New Richmond's first line are held without a goal in a hockey game. That happened against Hayward last Thursday. Two of the girls on the second line stepped up to score goals, helping the Tigers to earn a 2-2 tie with Hayward. Dani Edin and Shelby Rolland stepped in to provide the goals for the Tigers in the tie. Hayward came into the game with a 5-3 record while the Tigers were 3-7-2 this season. The Tigers have been playing every one of their opponents closely.
The road to any girls basketball championship in the Middle Border Conference goes directly through Durand. The New Richmond girls basketball team was reminded of that last Tuesday. The Tigers started their MBC schedule at the toughest stop on the conference map. Durand showed it has every intention of repeating as conference champions, beating the Tigers 45-27. Outside shooting was one of the key factors in Tuesday's game. New Richmond gave Durand all it could handle for most of the first half. The Tigers trailed 17-15 with two minutes left in the first half.
The first Middle Border Conference win of the season for the Spartans was certainly memorable. They rallied in the final seconds of regulation to send the game into overtime. In the overtime the Spartans outscored Ellsworth 12-9 to earn a 52-49 win last Tuesday. The Spartans trailed 40-37 in the final minute.