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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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.
A little confidence took the Somerset hockey team a long way over the weekend. It took the Spartans all the way to an overtime period in the championship game of the St. Michael-Albertville tournament on Saturday night. In a weekend where the Spartans scored 18 goals and seemed to gel as a team, the Spartans were able to grow significantly. The tournament started with the Spartans facing a team from Fairmont, Minn.
Back when Somerset competed in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference, the Spartans fielded some pretty strong girls basketball teams. But they could never, ever find a way to beat Colfax. This year's Spartans settled an old score last Friday. They faced Colfax in the Chris Griffin Holiday Classic at UW-Stout. And now the Spartans can say they have beaten Colfax. Led by 23 points in the second half from junior guard Kellie Ring, the Spartans scored a 54-44 win over Colfax. The Spartans faced another strong opponent in the second day of the tournament.
The April 2008 school referendum in Somerset will likely be centered around a new high school for the Somerset School District. A report by the facilities committee of the District's Board of Education said that the leading option for the referendum is to build a new Somerset High School. Tim Witzmann, chairman of the Facilities Committee, said the leading option for the referendum includes construction of a new high school and adding on to the current Elementary School. The Committee has spent the last two months reviewing options.
When you watch the 2008 Orange Bowl college football game on Jan. 3, watch for the official with the "S" on his back. That would be New Richmond High School Associate Principal Jon Lucivansky. Lucivansky will be the side judge in the Orange Bowl, working the University of Kansas sideline. Lucivansky, 45, has been officiating college football for nearly 20 years. For the past six years, he has been an official for the Big Ten Conference. He is one of four Big Ten football officials from Wisconsin. This will be the second straight year that Lucivansky has drawn a bowl game assignment.
Two unbeaten teams with vastly different styles clashed last Tuesday, when the New Richmond and Spooner boys basketball teams waged battle on the Tigers' home court. The game was a pairing of extreme opposites. New Richmond is one of the tallest teams in the area, while Spooner only starts one player above six feet tall. The Tigers struggled all night with Spooner's quickness. In the end the Tigers were able to hold off Spooner, winning 42-41. Spooner was able to force numerous turnovers as the Tigers struggled with the Rails' non-stop defensive pressure.
When this season began, New Richmond girls basketball coach Jeff Kanewischer took last season's records and tore them up in front of his players. The symbolic gesture carried a message: put last season in the past. That's just what the Tigers have done. The Tigers are now 2-2 in Middle Border Conference play after a 44-34 win at Baldwin-Woodville last Thursday. At 2-2, the Tigers are tied for fourth place in the MBC standings. The Tigers are 2-3 overall this season.