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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With a little help from the New Richmond girls, the Somerset girls basketball team is back at the top of the Middle Border Conference standings. Last Thursday Somerset's girls put together a powerful effort in winning at Baldwin-Woodville, 67-42. The following night, New Richmond's girls upset Amery. Somerset and Amery had been tied at the top of the MBC standings until New Richmond knocked off the Warriors. Somerset went to Baldwin last Thursday and took care of business.
The New Richmond girls hockey team is on its best success streak in several years. The Tigers are now 5-1 in their last six games after a 6-5 win at Menomonie last Thursday. The success streak has lifted the Tigers above the .500 mark, with the team's record now at 8-7. Leading the Tigers to the win was junior Rachel Mullendore, who had a hat trick at Menomonie. Since the Tiger coaches shifted Mullendore to defense, she's been been finding the back of the net on a regular basis. The coaches moved Mullendore to forward to pair her with freshman Megan Cox.
If you attend one of the New Richmond boys basketball team's non-conference games, you are almost guaranteed to see a wild game that isn't decided until the final seconds. And so far, the Tigers have been able to win every one of them. The Tigers ran their season record to 11-0 with another furious finish, beating Menomonie 59-54 on Saturday. The five-point win over Menomonie was a comparative cakewalk to the Tigers' other non-conference games this season. Their other non-conference games have all been one-point decisions, over Hudson, Spooner and Eau Claire North.
There's no telling if the Somerset hockey team collectively clicked their heels together and said "there's no place like home." But after starting their season with 11 road games, the Spartans were more than ready to play on their home ice for the first time in the 2007-08 season on Saturday. The Spartans controlled the pace of the game and allowed Tomah very few scoring chances as the Spartans earned a 4-1 win. This raises Somerset's record for the season to 3-8-1. Tomah now stands at 5-7. The breaks have seemed to go against the Spartans in most of their losses this season.
The Somerset girls basketball team suffered its first loss of the season on Friday, at Amery. The Spartans then had to turn around and play Monday at Barron, a team that had beaten Amery last week. The Spartans bounced back impressively, beating Barron's Golden Girls by a 46-33 score. In the win at Barron, the Spartans got back to what had made them a success this season.
The showdown for the Middle Border Conference wrestling lead will happen this Thursday in New Richmond. The Tigers and Ellsworth are both undefeated in the MBC dual matches this season. Ellsworth has won the conference title each of the past four seasons. New Richmond finished in second place in the MBC last season. New Richmond coach Mark Neumann said he isn't concerned about winning or losing against Ellsworth. He's out to see how the Tigers will handle wrestling in a match of this magnitude. "Hopefully we'll get in their faces. I'd like to see us take the fight to them," Neumann said.
The New Richmond girls hockey team reached, dropped below, then re-found the .500 level during their three games in the past week. The Tiger girls are now 7-7 for the season. They will try to climb above the .500 level on Thursday, when they play at Menomonie.
The two main options being considered by the Somerset Board of Education for the proposed April 1 referendum are packages that would be for either $42 million or $45 million. Both packages would include the construction of a new high school and remodeling packages at all three current School District buildings. The options were discussed during the Board's Facilities Committee meeting on Monday. Another Facilities meeting will be held at 5 p.m. next Monday to further solidify the plans for the referendum.
Brett Anderson's hoop in the final three seconds settled one of the marquee boys basketball matchups in western Wisconsin this season as the New Richmond boys won at Eau Claire North last Thursday, 35-34. The Tigers are undefeated and are ranked in the top five in Division 2 in the state. Eau Claire North went into the game ranked in the top 10 in Division 1. North became one of the most hyped boys teams in the state when 6-11 Evan Anderson open enrolled into North to join the Huskies' boys program.
Juniors Tom Volkert and Bradley Gartner earned weight class championships as the New Richmond wrestling team took third place in the 2008 New Richmond Wrestling Invitational on Saturday. Volkert won his championship at 215 pounds. Gartner earned the championship at 119 pounds. Volkert was named as the Outstanding Wrestler in this year's NRI. Both wrestlers faced intriguing championship matches. Volkert faced Spooner's Cully Butterfield for the 215 title. Butterfield came into the match with a 21-1 record, but his only loss was to Volkert.