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 boys basketball coach Jim Kannel announced Monday that he is stepping down from his head coaching position after four seasons. The Tigers are coming off a difficult season where they finished 4-17. The Tigers started this season with high expectations, making their return to the Middle Border Conference. The Tigers tried to offset being the shortest team in the conference by being a running team early in the season. That resulted in the team starting the season 0-10. The Tigers then slowed their pace and played under more control.
Sophomore Rachel Anderson and freshman Ella Olson were the only members of their class named to the all-Dunn-St. Croix Conference girls basketball team. Anderson was named to the all-DSC second team while Olson was an honorable mention all-conference choice. Anderson and Olson both ranked in the top 10 in the conference in scoring this season. Their performance is a big part of the reason why the Panthers believe their future is bright in the conference. Anderson averaged 14.7 points per game.
With two indoor meets already in, the New Richmond girls track team is showing it is ready to build on last year's success. The Tigers ran in two indoor meets at UW-River Falls, last Tuesday and Saturday. Tuesday's meet was a quad event against River Falls, Hudson and Osceola. Saturday's meet was the 14-team All-American Invite. In the two meets the Tigers had a good mix. Many of the girls who established themselves last season showed they are ready to take another step up in their success.
The season that ended with St. Croix Central's first-ever trip to sectionals brought three of the Panthers all-Dunn-St. Croix Conference honors. Nathan Fern and David Reyzer were named to the all-conference first team. Mark Arneson was an honorable mention all-DSC selection. All three are seniors. Fern and Reyzer have been the leading 1-2 punch for the Panthers for several years, giving them an inside-outside attack that was tough to defend. Fern was one of the leaders in assists in the area, finishing with 106 assists in 18 conference games.
The gentle, grandfatherly manner of Jim Landes immediately made students in the Somerset Elementary School feel comfortable. Landes is retiring after 13 years as the principal at the elementary school. It completes a 34-year career in education, which Landes began after a term in the military. For the Somerset Class of 2003, Landes is the only elementary principal they have known. They began at the school together, when this year's seniors were attending junior kindergarten. "I'm graduating too," Landes said.
Jodi Duffe never got to reach her dream of playing in the WIAA State Girls Basketball Tournament in her years with the New Richmond High School girls team. In the 2003 WIAA girls state tournament, Duffe got to fulfill her dream. Duffe was one of three female officials who worked in this year's girls state tournament. Duffe is a seventh and eighth grade physical education and health teacher in the Howard-Suamico school district, which is a suburb of Green Bay.
Ladysmith's defense lived up to its reputation. The Lumberjacks were relentless in smothering Somerset's offense in Thursday's WIAA Division 3 Sectional Semifinal at Rice Lake on Thursday. Somerset's offense never got rolling and Ladysmith cruised to a 40-26 win. With the win, Ladysmith faced Fall Creek in the Division 3 sectional championship game.
New Richmond and River Falls played evenly for the first half of their WIAA Division 2 regional opener last Tuesday. River Falls then was able to shut down New Richmond's scoring from the low post. With that, the Wildcats pulled away in the second half for a 54-43 win. The loss ends New Richmond's season. The Tigers, who were seeded fifth in the regional, end the season with a 4-17 record. In the first half the Tigers were successful in getting the ball into the low post.
Knocking off the top two seeded teams in the regional has gotten the Somerset boys basketball team into the WIAA Division 3 sectionals. Last Thursday the Spartans caught fire in the final minutes of the game to overtake Glenwood City 56-52. Glenwood City was the top seed in the regional. That win put the Spartans in Saturday's regional final against Boyceville, where the Bulldogs had been the second seeded team.
For a half, the St. Croix Central boys were the equal of Boyceville. Central's boys led 20-17 in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference finale for both teams last Friday. Then in the second half, Central's shooting went cold and Boyceville's rebounding caught fire. The Panthers were left in the wake of a 50-37 final score. The Panther who tried keeping the team in the game in the fourth quarter was senior David Reyzer. The Panthers had seven points in the fourth and Reyzer scored all seven.