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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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.
The perfect season for the Somerset girls basketball team continued last Thursday when they overwhelmed Ellsworth 67-31. Somerset now leads the Middle Border Conference with a 4-0 record while Ellsworth is 0-4 in conference play. Somerset is 6-0 overall. Spartan coach Bill Powers has been working with the team on playing at a high intensity level in every game, not just against teams with good records. The Spartans were up to that task in this game. They outscored the Panthers 13-2 in the opening minutes of the game. Somerset was led by point guard Kellie Ring in Thursday's game.
The potential of the New Richmond girls hockey team has been clear this season. On Friday, the Tigers turned that potential into production. The Tigers went to Viroqua and dominated the game in every possible way, beating Viroqua 10-1. Senior Leah Egan and freshman Caitlynn Singerhouse tallied hat tricks for the Tigers. Sophomore Shelby Melby scored twice and Megan Cox and Chelsea Singerhouse each scored once in the win. In the first period the Tigers built a 3-0 lead.
Last year's Middle Border Conference champions felt the fury of the New Richmond boys basketball team, which now stands alone atop this year's MBC standings. New Richmond's boys were due for a break-out game and it arrived on Friday. The Tigers went to Baldwin-Woodville and delivered a 71-29 thrashing to the Blackhawks, last year's MBC champs. The Tigers started the game hot and just continued to gain momentum until Coach Rick Montreal took out the starters midway through the third quarter.
The Somerset girls basketball team has taken the lead in the Middle Border Conference, with a historic win moving the Spartans into the conference lead. On Saturday the Spartans went to Durand, where the Spartans have never beaten the Panthers. That all changed on Saturday. The Spartans broke open a close game by outscoring the Panthers 19-8 in the third quarter. Somerset maintained its lead throughout the fourth quarter, finishing with a 65-50 win. The Spartans are now 5-0 this season.