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 the season, guard play was a big question for the Somerset boys basketball team. The guards were expected to be a strength for St. Croix Central's boys. You would think those roles were reversed in last Tuesday's game at Hammond. The Somerset guards brought intensity and composure to the game, while Central's guards were skittish and unsure of themselves. The play of the guards was a big reason behind Somerset's 52-35 win over the Panthers in the non-conference game. Somerset's one certainty at guard entering the season was senior David Moulton.
Three solid days of team building, togetherness and hockey did wonders for the New Richmond boys as they competed in the Kiwanis Wells Fargo Hockey Tournament in Rochester, Minn. from Dec. 29-31. After being outscored 9-0 in their first five periods of the tournament, the Tigers put together a momentous turnaround. They outscored their opponents 8-1 in the next four periods to earn two wins in the tournament. After starting the season 0-4, the Tigers won three of their next four games to bring their record to 3-5. The Tigers will get two more good tests in the upcoming days.
There have been several years where the New Richmond wrestling team has done well during its annual trip to the Bi-State Classic in La Crosse. By getting six placewinners in last week's 2008 Bi-State Classic, this ranks as one of the best overall performances by the Tigers in the 56-team tournament. The Tigers were led by a trio of seniors in the tournament. Brad Gartner's only loss in the tournament was to the tournament champion, as Gartner placed third in the 130-pound class.
The New Richmond girls basketball team is holding onto the thought that they can consistently be the team that scored 17 points in the fourth quarter against Barron last Monday night. That is largely because the Tigers don't ever want to revert back to the team that played the first three quarters against Barron. Even with the strong fourth quarter, the Tigers lost to Barron, 39-30, in the non-conference game. The Tigers have one of the longest breaks between games of any team in the area. Tiger coach Jeff Kanewischer plans to put those numerous practices to good use.
A challenge was what the New Richmond wrestling team was seeking when it went to Park High School in Cottage Grove, Minn. last Tuesday. That's exactly what the Tigers got too. A strong start and a strong finish helped the Tigers pull out an exciting 30-29 win over Park in the non-conference match. Park led the match 26-21 entering the final three bouts of the night. In the 189-pound out, New Richmond's Quinn Brophy fell behind early, trailing 4-1 after a period. He continued to trail until a wild flurry in the third period where he picked up two takedowns.
More than 50 years ago, Chuck Ennis was part of a younger version of the Cub Scouts called the Lion Cubs. Several years later, the Lion Cubs program was phased out. Ennis has remained active in Scouting, serving as the Cubmaster in Somerset. When Ennis heard about the possibility of the Lion Cubs program being restarted, he immediately volunteered to run a pilot program in Somerset. The Lion Cubs program is open to kindergarten boys. Ennis said he was hoping for a half dozen boys to show interest in joining the new pack.
School lunch prices in the Somerset School District will rise 20 cents when the school year resumes in January. Lunch prices at the Somerset Elementary School will now be $1.90 per meal. Students at the Middle School and High School will now be charged $2.05 per meal. This will not affect families on free and reduced lunch price programs. This move was approved by the Somerset Board of Education at its Dec. 15 meeting.
While the New Richmond boys basketball team is still trying to elevate its offensive play, the Tigers have found they can rely heavily on their play in the defensive end of the court. The Tigers scored a pair of Middle Border Conference wins last week, over Somerset and Durand.
It is the opinion of the New Richmond coaches that the Tigers boys hockey team can still have a successful season. The coaches believe the lessons learned from the Tigers' 0-4 start will be a driving factor in how much the Tigers improve this season. The improvement began to show last Tuesday, when the Tigers earned their first win of the 2008-09 season. The win was on their home ice, by a 4-1 score over Menomonie. A week earlier, Menomonie had beaten Somerset in overtime. "This is just the start of where we want to be," Tiger coach Adam Swanda said about getting the first win.
The Durand wrestling team may have the least varsity experience of any team in the Middle Border Conference. So it was no surprise that the Panthers provided little competition for the senior dominated New Richmond wrestling team last Thursday. In a brief dual match, the Tigers were able to score a 55-15 win over Durand. This raises the Tigers' conference record to 3-0 this season. Between the Tigers and Durand, there were six forfeits in this match. The meet was completed in less than an hour. Of the eight matches wrestled, the Tigers were winners in seven of them.