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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Having the experience of playing in three straight sectional championship games showed for the New Richmond boys hockey team in its 2008 tournament opener on Friday. New Richmond jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period and was able to maintain the lead in beating the Burnett County Blizzard 6-1. The win raises the Tigers' season record to 9-11-1. It also advanced them into Tuesday's sectional semifinals against Superior, the defending WIAA state champions. The winner of Tuesday's game will qualify for the sectional championship game, which will be played at 2:30 p.m.
The Somerset girls basketball team is one win away from its first Middle Border Conference championship. If the Spartans win at Baldwin-Woodville this Friday, they will at least have a share of the MBC championship. This comes after the Spartans put together two impressive efforts to win a pair of conference games last week. On Friday the Spartans avenged one of their two MBC losses when they used a smothering defensive effort to beat Amery 50-40. Last Tuesday the Spartans beat Osceola 51-33.
The New Richmond boys are undefeated Middle Border Conference champions, and the Tigers hope their fun has just begun. The Tigers wrapped up their perfect MBC season on Friday with a resounding 74-47 win over Amery. The win puts the Tigers at 14-0 for the MBC season and leaves them at 18-2 as they begin what they hope is a lengthy WIAA tournament run. In WIAA Division 2, the Tigers are the top seed in this regional. They began regional play on Tuesday against Hayward, the eighth seed. If the Tigers were victorious on Tuesday, they will be back on their home court at 7 p.m.
It was fitting that on Valentine's Day, the New Richmond girls hockey team put on a tremendous show of heart. The Tiger girls upset Hudson in the opening round of WIAA tournament play in Hudson last Thursday, 2-1. The Tigers were the fifth seed in the section, with Hudson possessing the fourth seed. With the win the Tigers advanced into the WIAA sectional semifinal game that was played on Tuesday, against the St. Croix Valley Fusion.
While the Somerset School District referendum is an attempt to deal with the long-term needs of the District, there is an immediate need to decide on what will be done with the space crunch in the District for the 2008-09 school year. The Board of Education has been meeting to decide what to do for space solutions for this fall.
The last time the New Richmond boys basketball team won a Middle Border Conference title, the current Tigers could barely hold a basketball. The 2007-08 Tigers ended a 14-year championship drought when they officially locked up sole ownership of this season's championship with a 52-32 win at Ellsworth last Thursday. The win gave the Tigers a 12-0 record in the MBC this season.
Even with 10 wrestlers advancing to the WIAA Division 1 sectional tournament, New Richmond wrestling coach Mark Neumann said it will take some of the Tigers' best wrestling of the season to get anyone through to the 2008 WIAA State Wrestling Championships. That there will be 40 state-ranked wrestlers competing in Saturday's Division 1 D.C.
The Somerset wrestling team accomplished half of its goals at the Division 2 Osceola regional meet last Saturday. The Spartans wanted to get a large group of individuals through the regional so they could compete in front of their home crowd at this Saturday's Somerset WIAA Division 2 Sectional Tournament. The Spartans succeeded in that goal, getting six wrestlers through to this Saturday's sectional meet. The second goal for the Spartans was to win the regional championship.
Five members of the 2007 Somerset High School football team have solidified their plans to play college ball. Leading the group is Evan Kowalski, who signed a national letter of intent last Wednesday to accept a scholarship package from Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Mich. NMU is an NCAA Division II program. Kowalski is being viewed as a cornerback by the Wildcats.
This is the week the Somerset girls basketball team has been building toward all season. Not only will this week likely decide whether the Spartans will be Middle Border Conference champions, it will also decide where the Spartans will be seeding in a brutally strong WIAA Division 2 regional tournament bracket. This week began with Somerset and Durand tied for the Middle Border Conference lead, with Amery one game behind the MBC co-leaders. The Spartans were scheduled to host Osceola on Tuesday. On Thursday, the Spartans will get a visit from the Amery girls.