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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New Richmond's Israel Neumann earned the 189-pound championship as the Tigers performed well in the 2006 Bi-State Classic Wrestling Tournament, held at UW-La Crosse. There were 54 teams competing in this year's Bi-State and it was one of the deepest fields ever at the tournament. Neumann's win at 189 pounds is an example. There were 14 wrestlers in the bracket who started the tournament with one loss or less. Neumann was seeded first in the 189-pound bracket, based upon his third place finish there in last year's Bi-State. Neumann, now 21-0, pinned his way to the semifinals.
Five St. Croix Central wrestlers were able to place among the top 12 wrestlers in their weight classes in the 2006 Northern Badger Wrestling Invitational, held last Thursday and Friday at River Falls High School. Senior Curtis Hinkel was the top finisher for the Panthers, placing fourth at 125 pounds in his first action of the season.
Alex Sullivan's three-pointer with 32 seconds left decided a distinctly defensive game last Friday, as Somerset's boys basketball team topped St. Croix Central, 38-36. It was fitting that a three-pointer swung the final result in Somerset's favor, because outside shooting was one of the main weapons for the Spartans. Somerset led at halftime in the game 22-18, with 15 of those 22 points coming from five three-pointers.
Mallory Rorabeck is the only senior on the Somerset girls basketball team. When the Spartans were struggling in their game last Thursday at Glenwood City, it was Rorabeck who provided the leadership to get the Spartans back on course. Glenwood City had cut Somerset's early double-digit lead down to three points in the third quarter. That's when Rorabeck got the Spartans' offense back on track.
For students looking to start a career in a woodworking industry, they can get a jump start on their career in high school. Somerset High School has become part of the WoodLinks Certification program, where students can get an early start in a wood product-related profession. Somerset technology education teacher Mark Barron got the school involved through the state technology educators association. "The sole purpose is the woodworking industry needs to retain quality workers," said Barron. He said by involving high school teachers, the industry leaders can let students know what they are
Kelly Shilts has established himself as a formidable straight-line snowmobile racer, racing all around the nation. Whether it's racing on a dirt track or on ice, Shilts has become one of the top competitors in the National Straightline Racing Association (NSRA). Shilts, 30, has been racing nationally for the past 10 years. He is consistently been among the national leaders, whether it is during dirt track or ice track seasons. The dirt track season runs every weekend from mid-August through November.
Digging a three-goal hole isn't a pattern the New Richmond boys hockey team wants to continue to do. At Hayward the Tigers outshot the Hurricanes 47-23. But a shaky first period left the Tigers facing a three-goal deficit. They were never able to overcome their slow start, losing at Hayward 4-2. "We dug ourselves into a hole by being unprepared mentally," said Tiger coach Adam Swanda.
When the New Richmond boys basketball fell behind 16 points several times in the first half against Rice Lake last Tuesday, it would have been easy to write off the Tigers for the night. The Tigers proved that giving up on them, even against an undefeated opponent like Rice Lake, could be a major error in judgement. Playing perhaps their best third quarter of the season, the Tigers narrowed the margin to 43-39 as the teams entered the fourth quarter.
The New Richmond wrestling team earned two wins at a quadrangular meet last Tuesday, but the win the Tigers wanted most barely got away from them. The quad meet was held at Hudson. The Tigers scored convincing wins over Glenwood City and Baldwin-Woodville, but the Tigers couldn't quite get the win against Hudson that they were hoping for. Hudson beat the Tigers by a 35-29 score. This was a Tiger lineup that wasn't at full strength. Senior Jon Haffner strained ligaments in his knee during the week of practice, leaving a void at 171 pounds.
Dealing with the future is a multi-pronged challenge for the Somerset Board of Education. Both sides of that issue received attention at the board's monthly meeting on Dec. 18. The issue of space within the district is an on-going issue for the school district. District administrator Randy Rosburg said he needs advice from the board on whether he should start planning to move the district's pre-school and junior kindergarten programs off campus.