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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Somerset's Dylan Dabrowski and St. Croix Central's Garrett Ullom have been selected to play in the 2004 Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Shrine Bowl. This game features the premier senior football players from the state of Wisconsin each year. Ullom and Dabrowski were both all-state players during the past season. Both players will be playing along the offensive line in the Shrine Bowl. Ullom will be stationed at tight end, while Dabrowski will be at guard. Dabrowski was one of the most powerful guards in the state.
At halftime the St. Croix Central boys couldn't have been sitting in a better position against Spring Valley in the WIAA Division 3 regionals last Thursday. The Panthers led 28-25 at halftime, despite having two of the team's leading scorers miss big chunks of the second quarter with foul trouble. Spring Valley then switched its approach in the second half. Instead of relying solely on the outside shooting of Ryan Stangl, the Cardinals decided to spread the court. That gave point guard Tom Sauve room to drive through the Panther defense.
The first appearance by a New Richmond team in the WIAA State Girls Hockey Championships ended in the semifinals last Friday. The Tiger girls were beaten in the state semifinals by Superior 4-2. New Richmond and Superior had split the two games that they played in the regular season. New Richmond coach Steve Gehr said the Tigers got caught up in the excitement of playing in the state tournament. "They just forgot about the game plan," Gehr said. "It wasn't a lack of effort.
New Richmond's girls hockey team is state-bound. The Tigers won a thriller to qualify for the WIAA Girls State Hockey Championships, winning at Hudson 2-1 in double overtime last Tuesday. Steph Kendrick scored both of New Richmond's goals in Tuesday's sectional game. She got the game winner 2:29 into the overtime. The puck came free to Kendrick, who skated to the middle of the faceoff circle, where she cut loose with a shot.
How will Somerset's boys recover? That's the question being asked repeatedly around Somerset over the weekend, after the Spartan boys were thrashed by Amery Friday night, 64-33. This makes Amery the undefeated 2004 Middle Border Conference champions, while Somerset spirals down to finish in a tie for second place in the conference standings with Prescott. The Spartans were scheduled to open WIAA Division 3 play on Tuesday night against Fall Creek. The Spartans went into that game as the third seed in the regional while Fall Creek was seeded sixth.
Somerset sophomores Tyler LeRoy and Justin Neumann were defeated in their first attempt at the WIAA State Wrestling Championships. Somerset coach Mike Kappers is guessing this won't be their last chance to wrestle at the state level. "I know it will make them hungry for next year," Kappers said of the first round losses at state. By losing in the opening round, they were eliminated from the state tournament.
Senior Adam Delander has joined the elite. Many schools have never had a multiple state champion. On Saturday, Delander became St. Croix Central's second two-time state wrestling champion. Delander won the Division 3 119-pound state championship at the Kohl Center in Madison on Saturday night. In the championship match Delander beat Casey Klister of Wrightstown, 2-0. Two years ago Delander was the Division 3 state champion at 103 pounds. Last year Delander finished in third place in the Division 3 112-pound state bracket.
If the St. Croix Central girls basketball team isn't residing in The Twilight Zone, the Panthers are at least in the same neighborhood. The Panthers finished the regular season with a six-game losing streak, falling in overtime to Spring Valley 52-47 last Thursday. Because of injuries and fouls, the Panthers played about 30 seconds of the overtime with four players. The Panthers led 14-11 at halftime. Then center Rachel Anderson injured her foot in the third quarter and was done for the game. That gave Spring Valley room to take the lead.
New Richmond was the only team to put a loss on Osceola's otherwise perfect Middle Border Conference girls basketball season. So when the Chieftains came to New Richmond last Friday in the final round of the MBC season, Osceola's Ashlea Muckenhirn made sure the Tigers didn't strike down the Chieftains a second time. Muckenhirn was incredible, the best player on the court in every facet of the game. Her 35 points led the Chieftains to a 67-44 win over New Richmond. The Tiger girls kept the game close well into the fourth quarter.
Senior Adam Delander has become one of the rare wrestlers who has qualified for the WIAA State Wrestling Championships four times in his career. He now hopes to join the elite group of wrestlers who've won more than one WIAA state championship. Delander won a state championship in 2002 and he is in great position to make a run at a second state title.