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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Two losses to Prescott, including one last Thursday, pushed Somerset down to the third seed in the WIAA Division 3 boys basketball regional. Spring Valley, fresh off knocking off previously undefeated Mondovi, earned the top seed in the regional. Prescott, which didn't have as strong a record as Somerset or St. Croix Central, moved up to the second seed with Somerset being seeded third and St. Croix Central fourth. By drawing the third seed, Somerset gets a tough opening opponent in Fall Creek, the sixth seed.
A pair of Somerset sophomores will be representing the Spartans at the 2004 WIAA State Wrestling Championships. Tyler LeRoy and Justin Neumann both qualified for the 2004 state meet by finishing in third place in their weight classes at the WIAA Division 3 Somerset Sectional Tournament held Saturday. LeRoy qualified for state at 112 pounds and Neumann advances at 189 pounds. LeRoy beat two wrestlers who qualified for state last year to advance this year. In his opening round match, LeRoy faced Chris Treumper of Park Falls, who reached state last year.
An 18-point outburst from center Cameron Sarnstrom led the St. Croix Central boys to a 46-28 win at Glenwood City last Thursday. The win raises Central's season record to 11-6 and it gives the Panthers a rare season sweep of Glenwood City. Boys basketball seeding meetings will be held this weekend. Central coach Mike Fern said the win at Glenwood City was a good indication that the Panthers are playing as a unified team as they position for a higher seed in the regional. "It was a nice team win, you want everybody on the same page this time of the season," Fern said.
While a six-game losing streak may be eating at the confidence of the St. Croix Central girls basketball team, the Panthers still have the respect of other coaches. When the Division 3 regional seeding meeting was held over the weekend, the Panthers drew the fourth seed among the eight teams in the regional. This means the Panthers will open the tournament trail at home. That game will be played at 7 p.m. next Tuesday with Fall Creek as the opponent. Central coach Shannon Berg admitted she was a bit surprised at drawing the fourth seed, as were the Panther players.
If basketball games were only three quarters long, the Somerset girls basketball team would be a force in the Middle Border Conference. The fourth quarter, however, remains an immense roadblock for the Spartans. The Spartans have been close to the lead or in the lead late into the third quarter of several recent MBC games. That was the case again last Friday, when the Spartans and Prescott were tied 25-25 in the third quarter. Minutes earlier, Somerset had led 22-18. Prescott then scored the final six points of that quarter.
The WIAA girls hockey playoffs open next Tuesday and the New Richmond girls are primed. The Tigers will play at Hudson at 7 p.m. in the tournament opener next Tuesday, with the winner of that game qualifying for state. The loser of that game will get another chance to qualify for state, playing at Superior on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Tigers drew the third seed among the three teams in the sectional.
New Richmond's girls got much more of a battle than they were expecting when they played at Somerset Tuesday night. The Somerset girls, trying to get their first Middle Border Conference victory as a birthday present for coach Bill Powers, nearly upset the Tigers. Somerset trailed 17-16 after scoring the first hoop of the fourth quarter. The Tigers then went on a 9-2 run to pull away for a 34-23 win. This was an extremely loosely officiated game that allowed both teams to be extremely aggressive.
Somerset's hockey team beat up on two weaker opponents, but they couldn't get the win they wanted most this week. The Spartans notched easy wins against Minneapolis Washburn and Chippewa Falls McDonell-Eau Claire Regis. The Spartans were hoping they could compete evenly with Hayward last Friday, but lost 6-2. On Monday night the Spartans cruised past Washburn 8-4.
It wasn't the conference championship the Somerset hockey team was hoping for, but the Spartans wrapped up second place in the Middle Border Conference last Thursday with a 9-4 win over Amery. The Spartans finish with a 4-2 record in the MBC. New Richmond won the MBC with a 6-0 record. Somerset dominated play early in the game against Amery, building up a 7-1 lead midway through the game.
A double dose of redemption. That's what the New Richmond girls basketball team accomplished with its 58-49 win over Baldwin-Woodville last Friday. The win helps make up for an off-key performance three nights earlier. The Tigers were fresh off a win over Middle Border Conference leader Osceola, but they fell flat at Ellsworth, losing 48-43 to the seventh place team in the MBC. Beating B-W also gives the Tigers some relief from the loss in their first meeting with the Blackhawks.