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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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.
The Somerset girls basketball team faced the most serious threat to its unbeaten record thus far when the Spartans played at Osceola last Friday. Somerset was able to prevail, with the Spartans raising their season record to 9-0 with a 39-38 win in Osceola. The game wasn't decided until the final seconds. Osceola's Heather Byl had two free throws with :02.8 left on the clock with the score 39-37. Byl hit the first shot, but the second glanced off the front of the rim.
An injury suffered just before halftime by Tiger senior Ashley Stoffel proved to be a rallying point for the New Richmond girls basketball team during Monday night's home game against Spooner. The Tigers came through with a robust effort in the second half.
The New Richmond girls hockey team is hoping this is the week they climb above .500 and stay there. The Tigers were scheduled to play the Burnett County Blizzard on Tuesday.
The Somerset hockey team was able to create good scoring chances, but they couldn't find a way to get the puck past Hudson goalie Willie Riedel during last Friday's game in Hudson. That resulted in Hudson tallying a 5-0 win, but the game was much closer than the final score might indicate. Hudson scored three times in the final five minutes of the game to break open what had been a close contest. "We played right with them," said Somerset coach Dan Gilkerson.
The organization "Tee It Up for the Troops" has become a national force in taking care of fallen and disabled members of United States Military and their families. The organization was begun by New Richmond native James "J.B." Ball, who now lives in Savage, Minn. The organization runs golf tournaments around the country that provide many needed services to American soldiers and their families. The organization gave out $80,000 in scholarships its first year. It has grown so rapidly that it raised more than $500,000 in 2007. Originally, there were never plans to start a large organization.
Junior Tom Volkert advanced to the 215-pound championship match for the New Richmond wrestling team at the 2007 Bi-State Classic over the weekend. Volkert wrestled Matt Ripp of Dodgeville in the 215-pound finals and the bout became a defensive chess match. Ripp was able to edge Volkert by a 3-1 score to earn the 215-pound title. The tournament was wrestled at UW-La Crosse last Friday and Saturday. Volkert was one of five Tigers who placed among the top 12 wrestlers in their weight class in the 56-school tournament.
The fourth place finish by junior Darrin Emmeck in the 215-pound class was the top performance for the Somerset wrestling team in the 2007 Northern Badger Wrestling Invitational. The 36-team tournament was held last Friday and Saturday at River Falls High School. Somerset had two other wrestlers who were placewinners in the tournament. Elliot Bell moved down to 103 pounds for the tournament and took ninth place in that bracket.
Being the Wisconsin school in the annual Rochester Kiwanis hockey team carries some extra challenges for the New Richmond boys hockey team. Even with the extra challenges, the Tigers were able to win one of their three games and they put in solid efforts in all three of their games. The Tigers opened the tournament by facing Rochester Mayo, which happened to be the highest ranked Minnesota team in the tournament. The Tigers led 1-0 in this game, but missed more early scoring chances.
Applications are currently being accepted for the vacant New Richmond varsity football head coaching position. According to New Richmond High School Athletic Director John Ball, as of last week, 20 people had shown interest in the head coach position. The school will accept applications until Jan. 9, so Ball expects the number of applicants to rise beyond 20. Once all applications have been received, the goal is to narrow down the candidates to a pool of six to interview. "I guess we'd struggle to get it down to six," Ball said.