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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Tuesday was a rough night for local high school teams, with four squads seeing their seasons come to an end. The New Richmond and Somerset boys hockey teams were both defeated in the WIAA sectional semifinals, as were the Western Wisconsin Stars. In girls basketball, the New Richmond girls saw their season come to an end in a Division 2 regional loss at River Falls. The New Richmond boys hockey team lost at Superior, 5-2. Dane Swanda and Brady Werner scored for the Tigers.
New Richmond is advancing two wrestlers and Somerset and St. Croix Central are eaching advancing one wrestler from Saturday's WIAA sectional tournaments to the 2017 WIAA Individual State Championships. New Richmond is advancing senior Bryce Younger and junior Nathan Fehlen from the WIAA Division 1 sectional tournament held at River Falls High School on Saturday. Somerset is advancing junior Steven Moncada and St. Croix Central is advancing sophomore Ryan Larson from the WIAA Division 2 sectional tournament held at Amery High School.
The New Richmond boys hockey team has advanced to the WIAA sectional tournament level. The Tigers advanced with a 2-0 home ice win over River Falls in the WIAA regional final on Friday night. The Tigers, the third seed in the section, will play at Superior at 7 p.m. next Tuesday in one sectional semifinal. Superior advanced Thursday with an 8-0 win over Spooner.
This is the time for which hockey fans wait all year. The WIAA state playoffs begin this week, with dreams of skating at the WIAA state championships in Madison filling the heads of high school hockey players all across Wisconsin. The New Richmond boys begin their playoff journey this Friday when they host River Falls. The Tigers are the third seed and River Falls is the sixth seed in the sectional bracket. Friday’s game will be played at 7 p.m. at the New Richmond Sports Center.
The emotional roller coaster ride the New Richmond boys basketball team has rode this season has had more highs and lows than the wildest rides at ValleyFair. And often the Tigers’ twists and turns have come within the same game. The game that epitomized the Tigers’ emotion-wracking season came last Tuesday at St. Croix Central. The Tigers played perhaps their best half in the first half. But they backed off on the intensity in the second half and lost to the Panthers, 44-40.
Despite being in the crosshairs of an illness bug that ran through New Richmond High School last week, the Tiger wrestling team was able to advance five wrestlers through Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 regional wrestling tournament in Chippewa Falls. Senior Bryce Younger, juniors Dylan Wachter and Nathan Fehlen, sophomore Jake LaVenture and freshman Brandon Dennis advanced, putting them into this Saturday’s Division 1 sectional tournament at River Falls.
Senior Josh Maack, junior Steven Moncada and sophomore Jared Grahovac all won WIAA regional wrestling championships on Saturday and all three will be competing in this Saturday’s WIAA Division 2 sectional tournament at Amery High School. Maack, Moncada and Grahovac all won their championships at the Division 2 regional meet held at St. Croix Central on Saturday. The Spartans finished in third place among the six teams at the regional meet, 26 points behind regional champion Osceola.
A strong finish by the wrestlers in the upper weights saved what began as an agonizing day for the St. Croix Central wrestling team at the WIAA Division 2 regional meet the Panthers hosted on Saturday. The Panthers were able to advance four wrestlers from the upper weights from the regional to this Saturday’s Amery Division 2 sectional meet. Three of the Panthers advance as regional champions, along with one second place finisher.
The opening round of WIAA hockey Thursday ended up with some wild finishes. The Somerset boys hockey team needed overtime to defeat Baldwin-Woodville, 3-2, with Somerset senior Hunter Hartwick scoring the game-winner 55 seconds into the overtime period. In girls hockey, the Western Wisconsin Stars pulled off an upset, defeating the St. Croix Valley Fusion, 4-3. The New Richmond boys hockey team will play Friday, hosting River Falls at 7 p.m. in opening round game.
The Somerset girls basketball team made history on Friday. With their 68-26 victory over New Richmond on Friday, the Spartans locked up their second consecutive Middle Border Conference outright championship. In the history of the Somerset School District, this is the first time, girls or boys, that Somerset has won consecutive conference basketball championships. “It was a special night, to be able to lock it down on Senior Night,” said Somerset coach Cory Lindenberg.