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 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.
The Somerset Board of Education is close to deciding on the site for the new building planned for Somerset school property. The location for the building will likely be off the northwest corner of Somerset Elementary School. The initial thought for the structure was to place it at the end of the school track. The location change was due largely to accessibility to utilities. With the new location, the water and electrical utilities are readily available.
Spectacular defensive efforts were the difference as the New Richmond boys basketball team knocked off the two Middle Border Conference leaders last week. The Tigers started the week with a 49-32 win at Amery. Amery started the week with a perfect MBC record and a two-game lead on its nearest competition. The defense may have been even better, when the Tigers quieted the high-scoring Osceola boys team, 45-38. This was a make-or-break week for the Tigers. With the two road wins, they now stand one game out of first place.
With wins over Somerset and Eau Claire North last week, the New Richmond boys hockey team has not lost in seven games. The Tigers raised their season record to 10-5-1 with their wins last week. The week started with a 6-2 win at Eau Claire North last Tuesday. The Tigers were visited by Somerset on Thursday. The Tigers dominated the first two periods of play to earn a 4-2 win. The last time the Tigers lost was on Dec. 28 when they were beaten their opening game in the Rochester tournament to Rochester John Marshall, 2-1.
Two New Richmond High School powerlifters have qualified to compete at the state level. Five other Tiger lifters will have a chance to qualify for state in another meet that will be held at the end of February. Qualifying for state are Bryan Greene and Derek Briese. Greene qualified for state in the 220-pound class and Briese qualified in the 132-pound class. They qualified for state at a meet held at Osceola on Jan. 16. Greene qualified for state by having lifts totalling 1,135 pounds.
The battle for second place in the Middle Border Conference wrestling standings went down to the final match. New Richmond and Amery put on an excellent show last Thursday, with Amery winning the final match to escape with a 36-32 victory. This was New Richmond's second loss in MBC dual matches. Amery is 5-1 in the MBC standings, trailing only unbeaten Ellsworth. Amery is ranked ninth in the state in Division 2. Tiger coach Mark Neumann said the Tigers were definite underdogs going into the match. "We did everything we could to keep it close," Neumann said.
Facing their two biggest rivals within a three-day span proved to be a challenge for the Somerset hockey team last week. The Spartans' play improved steadily through the two games, resulting in a split in their games against New Richmond and Hudson. The Spartans were defeated in a game at New Richmond on Thursday, 4-2.
If opponents thought the Somerset boys basketball team was going to be an easy win this season, they found out differently when Durand visited the Spartan gym last Thursday. Somerset led through most of Thursday's Middle Border Conference game. It wasn't until well into the fourth quarter that Durand got the lead, with the Panthers hanging on to get a 49-43 win over the Spartans. Last week was the first full week for the Spartans after four seniors had been removed from the team.