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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Heading into Saturday's WIAA Division 3 wrestling sectional tournament in Osseo-Fairchild, St. Croix Central's Zach Gillis was considered one of three standout wrestlers in the 135-pound weight class. Gillis didn't disappoint. He finished in third place in the 135-pound sectional class, earning his first trip to the WIAA State Individual Wrestling Championships in Madison this week. Gillis' first round match at state is scheduled for Thursday evening. St. Croix Central also had senior Casey Perry wrestling at the sectional meet.
Somerset heavyweight Darrin Emmeck found a way to beat Prescott's John Kariesch, which locked up a sectional championship for the Spartan senior. By winning the sectional title, Emmeck receives a bye in the opening round of the 2009 WIAA State Wrestling Championships, which will be held this Thursday through Saturday at the Kohl Fieldhouse in Madison. Emmeck's first match will come in the Friday morning session that begins at 11:15 a.m.
New Richmond seniors Bradley Gartner and Tom Volkert have one more shot to attain the biggest goal in their high school wrestling careers. Gartner and Volkert will get the second opportunity of their careers to wrestle in the WIAA State Championships, starting this Thursday at the Kohl Fieldhouse in Madison. Gartner wrestled at state as a sophomore and Volkert reached state as a junior.
There is every reason to believe the Somerset girls basketball team was fully ready for the start of the WIAA playoffs this week. The Spartans were scheduled to play at Ashland on Tuesday in the opening round of WIAA regional tournament action. The Spartans were seeded sixth in the regional, but with an 11-9 record, no team can take the Spartans lightly. The winner of Tuesday's tournament game will play again this Thursday, facing the winner of the game between Hayward and New Richmond. The winner of Saturday's game will advance to Saturday's regional final, which will be played at 2 p.m.
It was a double dose of Osceola and a double dose of overtime for the Somerset boys basketball team last week. Due to postponements and other alterations to the schedule, the Spartans and Chieftains ended up meeting twice last week. While Osceola is tied for the lead in the Middle Border Conference and Somerset is tied at the bottom of the MBC standings, these were two extremely tight ballgames. So tight in fact, that both games went to overtime.
There is nothing more frustrating in hockey than running up against a hot goaltender. That feeling of frustration was experienced by the New Richmond girls hockey team against the Burnett County Blizzard in the opening round of WIAA tournament play last Thursday. New Richmond pelted the Blizzard with 30 shots, while the Blizzard were only able to put seven shots on goal. To the agony of the Tiger girls, one of Burnett County's shots found its way into the net.
The New Richmond and Osceola boys basketball teams continue to be tied at the top of the Middle Border Conference standings. But the way the two teams have been winning made it easy for area coaches in the WIAA Division 2 seeding meeting held over the weekend. New Richmond received the second seed in the WIAA Division 2 bracket, with Osceola getting the third seed. New Richmond will open WIAA tournament play next Tuesday, getting a visit from the Somerset boys.
The home crowd got to see St. Croix Central's Zach Gillis and Casey Perry advance out of the St. Croix Central Division 3 Regional Wrestling Meet on Saturday. Gillis was the regional champion at Central on Saturday at 135 pounds. Perry qualified for sectionals by finishing second at 140 pounds in Central's regional meet. They will compete in the Division 3 sectional meet that will be wrestled at Osseo-Fairchild High School this Saturday. In the sectional seeding, the two Panthers have much different opportunities. Gillis goes into the meet with a 30-7 record.
Most teams hope they'll be ready to handle pressure situations when they reach the playoffs. After the final two games of the regular season, the New Richmond girls hockey team is pressure tested. The Tigers played their final two games of the regular season last week and both came down to frantic finishes. Last Tuesday the Tigers lost in overtime to Hudson, 4-3. The Tigers finished the regular season with a home-ice 7-6 win over Hudson on Saturday. The WIAA tournaments begin for the Tigers this Thursday, when they play at home against Webster.
Three road games in three days should have the New Richmond boys hockey team prepared for anything it sees in the WIAA tournament season. The Tigers begin 2009 tournament play this Thursday when they play at 7 p.m. in Menomonie. The Tigers are the fifth seed in this sectional bracket with Menomonie being the fourth seed. The winner of Thursday's game will be back in action next Tuesday, likely playing at Superior. Superior is currently ranked fourth in the state. In the three road games to end last week, the Tigers went 1-2. They lost at Hudson on Thursday 4-2.