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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Comments made at the March 15 Somerset Board of Education meeting brought light to how the school district is dealing with its high-end students and how that action remains a work in progress. Somerset is one of the few districts in the area with a full-time gifted and talented teacher, Rosanne Erickson.
Somerset's Dylan Dabrowski and St. Croix Central's Garrett Ullom have been selected to play in the 2004 Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Shrine Bowl. This game features the premier senior football players from the state of Wisconsin each year. Ullom and Dabrowski were both all-state players during the past season. Both players will be playing along the offensive line in the Shrine Bowl. Ullom will be stationed at tight end, while Dabrowski will be at guard. Dabrowski was one of the most powerful guards in the state.
St. Croix Central had two players earn all-Dunn-St. Croix Conference boys basketball honors for the 2003-04 season. Junior Tyler Cody was named to the all-DSC first team and senior Garrett Ullom earned a spot on the all-DSC second team. Cody ranked third in the conference in scoring this season, averaging 13.8 points per game.
At halftime the St. Croix Central boys couldn't have been sitting in a better position against Spring Valley in the WIAA Division 3 regionals last Thursday. The Panthers led 28-25 at halftime, despite having two of the team's leading scorers miss big chunks of the second quarter with foul trouble. Spring Valley then switched its approach in the second half. Instead of relying solely on the outside shooting of Ryan Stangl, the Cardinals decided to spread the court. That gave point guard Tom Sauve room to drive through the Panther defense.
The first appearance by a New Richmond team in the WIAA State Girls Hockey Championships ended in the semifinals last Friday. The Tiger girls were beaten in the state semifinals by Superior 4-2. New Richmond and Superior had split the two games that they played in the regular season. New Richmond coach Steve Gehr said the Tigers got caught up in the excitement of playing in the state tournament. "They just forgot about the game plan," Gehr said. "It wasn't a lack of effort.
New Richmond's girls hockey team is state-bound. The Tigers won a thriller to qualify for the WIAA Girls State Hockey Championships, winning at Hudson 2-1 in double overtime last Tuesday. Steph Kendrick scored both of New Richmond's goals in Tuesday's sectional game. She got the game winner 2:29 into the overtime. The puck came free to Kendrick, who skated to the middle of the faceoff circle, where she cut loose with a shot.
How will Somerset's boys recover? That's the question being asked repeatedly around Somerset over the weekend, after the Spartan boys were thrashed by Amery Friday night, 64-33. This makes Amery the undefeated 2004 Middle Border Conference champions, while Somerset spirals down to finish in a tie for second place in the conference standings with Prescott. The Spartans were scheduled to open WIAA Division 3 play on Tuesday night against Fall Creek. The Spartans went into that game as the third seed in the regional while Fall Creek was seeded sixth.
Somerset sophomores Tyler LeRoy and Justin Neumann were defeated in their first attempt at the WIAA State Wrestling Championships. Somerset coach Mike Kappers is guessing this won't be their last chance to wrestle at the state level. "I know it will make them hungry for next year," Kappers said of the first round losses at state. By losing in the opening round, they were eliminated from the state tournament.
Senior Adam Delander has joined the elite. Many schools have never had a multiple state champion. On Saturday, Delander became St. Croix Central's second two-time state wrestling champion. Delander won the Division 3 119-pound state championship at the Kohl Center in Madison on Saturday night. In the championship match Delander beat Casey Klister of Wrightstown, 2-0. Two years ago Delander was the Division 3 state champion at 103 pounds. Last year Delander finished in third place in the Division 3 112-pound state bracket.
If there's a team that appears overdue for a win, it's the Somerset girls basketball team. The Spartans finished with their second straight winless season in the Middle Border Conference on Friday. The Spartans surely have had their share of close calls however. The latest close call was on Friday, when the Spartans lost 33-28 at Amery. After trailing 26-14 at the start of the fourth quarter, the Spartans made a huge comeback.