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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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.
The Amery Division 2 regional meet proved to be a prolific tournament for the Somerset wrestling team, particularly the Spartan seniors. Four seniors wrestled for the Spartans at the regional meet and all four will wrestle again, as qualifiers for this Saturday's WIAA Osceola Division 2 sectional meet. Somerset had eight wrestlers finish among the top two in their class at last Saturday's Amery regional meet, qualifying them for this Saturday's sectional meet.
When the New Richmond boys basketball team moved into a tie for the Middle Border Conference lead, Tiger fans looked at the schedule to see what opponents would likely give the Tigers their toughest battle in the rest of the season. Most fans' eyes stopped at last Thursday's game at Baldwin. The Blackhawks have been one of the Tigers' main antagonists in battles in the upper realm of the MBC in recent years. Fans knew this would likely be the case again, and they were right.
With the wrestling room looking more like a M.A.S.H. ward, there were concerns on how the New Richmond wrestling team would fare at the Eau Claire North Division 1 Wrestling Regional Meet on Saturday. The team was ravaged by the flu bug that left two wrestlers unable to compete and several others considerably weakened.
During each Christmas season for the past six years, Somerset Middle School fifth and sixth grade students have created holiday cards for people in nursing homes and hospitals. On Feb. 4, the students got to find out what kind of impact their holiday cards can have. Richard Hodges, a resident at The Deerfield in New Richmond, asked if he could address the students who created cards this year. The story Hodges told tugged at the students' heart strings. Hodges told the students about one of his neighbors at The Deerfield, a woman named Maureen who had worked as a registered nurse.