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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The first venture into Division 1 wrestling produced one of the best days in recent years for the New Richmond wrestling team. The Tigers wrestled in their first Division 1 regional tournament on Saturday and ended up bringing home the team championship. Eleven of the 14 Tiger wrestlers ended up advancing to the Division 1 sectional tournament, held this Saturday in Chippewa Falls. Via their regional championship, the Tigers qualified for the Division 1 team sectional tournament series.
The St. Croix Central wrestling team has three chances to end its state tournament drought. Seniors Trevor Helgeson, Brady Hughes and Curtis Hinkel all have the chance to reach the WIAA 2007 State Division 3 wrestling championships. They are one step away, as they wrestle in the St.
Playing under the weight of mountainous expectations has been difficult for the Somerset girls basketball team this season. In the past few weeks, the girls have begun dealing with the expectations and their play has heated up. Last Thursday, they reached a full boil. Middle Border Conference champion Durand came to Somerset, and it was no contest: in Somerset's favor. The Spartans took charge in the second quarter and never looked back, rolling to a 71-56 win. Durand took a 12-6 lead in the first quarter, before the Spartans started to get their footing.
For a half, the New Richmond boys basketball team had all it could handle when playing at Osceola last Friday. In the third quarter the Tigers found their shooting range, outscoring the Chieftains 20-8. That set the Tigers toward a 59-44 final outcome. With the win the Tigers remain in the thick of the Middle Border Conference race. Baldwin-Woodville stands at 10-1 after last week's action, while New Richmond and Prescott are tied in second place with 9-2 records.
The New Richmond boys came up with one of its biggest wins of the 2006-07 season in its regular season finale last Thursday. The Tigers got a visit from the AAA team from Shattuck-St. Mary's. While Shattuck seemed more intent on taking penalties, the Tigers played sharp, focused hockey and beat the private school team 4-3. The win evens the Tigers' final regular season record at 10-10. The Tigers will now begin WIAA tournaments this Thursday.
The St. Croix Central and Glenwood City boys basketball teams are extreme opposites in size and style, but the combination of the two teams led to a great ballgame Saturday night. Central is probably the shortest team in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Glenwood City is one of the tallest. Each team tried to exploit the differences and, at the end of regulation, the game was still even at 44-44. Central led twice in the overtime.
Not so fast, Baldwin-Woodville. With B-W fans wearing shirts asking the New Richmond boys basketball team how second place felt, the Tiger boys let their actions on the court do the talking. New Richmond's boys outplayed the Middle Border Conference leaders last Thursday, winning by a 60-53 score. This is Baldwin-Woodville's first loss in MBC play, with four rounds of conference action left to play. New Richmond and Prescott are tied for second place in the MBC, one game behind B-W. With the New Richmond gym packed with fans, the crowd roared with the opening tip and never stopped.
For those who doubted the New Richmond wrestling team, the Tigers proved their strength again by taking second place in the Middle Border Conference Wrestling Tournament on Saturday. Led by senior Israel Neumann, who earned his second MBC individual championship, the Tigers had 11 wrestlers finish among the top four in their weight class. All 14 Tigers recorded at least one victory in the tournament. Ellsworth, which thinks it has the depth to make a run at a state team championship, won the tournament with 269 points.
It's hard to imagine a more painful way of losing a conference championship. First, the St. Croix Central wrestling team was told it had won the Dunn-St. Croix Conference championship. After a full-scale celebration, with the Panthers believing they had won the first conference title since 1993, an error was found in the scoring. The WIAA rule manual had to be consulted on how to break a tie. It wasn't until the sixth criteria that a method could be found to break the tie. And this time, the tie-break went against Central.
Senior Mitch Grahovac and sophomore Darrin Emmeck each took second place in their weight classes as the top finishers for the Somerset wrestling team in the 2007 Middle Border Conference tournament. The MBC meet was wrestled Saturday at Prescott High School. The Spartans had the least experienced team in the conference this season. They finished last among the eight teams in the tournament with 65 team points. Grahovac opened action in the 140-pound bracket with a 16-0 technical fall win over Jordan Jones of Baldwin-Woodville.