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 New Richmond boys hockey team has set goals for where it wants to be in the Middle Border Conference and the WIAA sectionals at the end of the season. The Tigers have already taken a key step in getting where they want to be in the MBC this season. But to get where they want to be in the sectionals by the end of the season, the Tigers still have some distance to cover. The big step in the MBC came last Thursday, when the Tigers rallied from a 3-1 deficit to score a 5-4 overtime win at Amery. Jake Calleja scored the game-winner for the Tigers, 45 seconds into the overtime.
"Konnie Jerabek, Christmas Tree Inspector." Okay, it's not her official title. But as the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection Plant Pest and Disease Specialist for the 20-county district of northwestern Wisconsin, Jerabek is the person who makes sure every Christmas tree sold in the area meets state and federal regulatory guidelines. Jerabek, of rural Star Prairie, has been the area inspector of Christmas trees for the Department of Agriculture since she graduated from UW-River Falls in 1996.
The New Richmond wrestling team sent shock waves through the Middle Border Conference last Thursday, knocking off Osceola by a 39-32 score. Ellsworth and Osceola have been locks as the top two teams in the MBC for most of the past decade. New Richmond has been searching for a win against Osceola for nearly that long. The contest came down to the final match, where New Richmond's Israel Neumann faced Osceola's Hans Johnson. The Tigers held a 33-32 lead entering the final match. Neumann hit two takedowns in the first period to hold a 4-1 lead.
Mark Schroeder lived the bowler's dream week last week. Schroeder bowled the first 300 game of his life while bowling in the Wednesday Commercial League at Gibby's Lanes in New Richmond on Nov. 22. The next time Schroeder bowled, in the Monday night league at Gibby's, he rolled a 299 game and a 799 series. Schroeder started bowling in leagues when he moved to New Richmond 30 years ago. The closest he's come to a 300 game before was a 278. A week before his 300 game, Schroeder bought a new ball, a No Mercy ball made by Hammer.
The New Richmond girls basketball team earned its first varsity win under coach Jeff Kanewischer when they charged back in the fourth quarter to upend Baldwin-Woodville 47-45 last Friday. The Tigers trailed 38-31 entering the fourth quarter. It was the defense that got the Tigers turned around. By using high intensity defense, the Tigers were able to cut down the Blackhawks' lead. A three-pointer by Libby Jensen tied the game, then the Tigers hit two free throws to go ahead. This wasn't the Tigers' first comeback of the game.
The 2006-07 schedule for the New Richmond boys basketball team was constructed with a very difficult line of opponents to start the season. The first challenge was one of the best the Tigers will face, Hudson's Raiders, who are expected to be one of the elite teams in the Big Rivers Conference this season. For three quarters of the game, the Tigers were just as good as Hudson. The Tigers led 28-25 at halftime and 37-36 entering the fourth quarter.
New Richmond boys hockey coach Adam Swanda is using the dreaded "R" word. Rebuilding. It's not a word coaches like to use, especially for a team that has been as successful as the Tigers over the past decade. With the team replacing its goaltender, top four defensemen and several top forwards, Swanda is realistic about where the team is starting from this season. The schedule at the start of the 2006-07 season will provide a stiff challenge for the young Tigers too. They opened the season last Tuesday at Hudson, losing 3-1.
After spotting the Burnett County Blizzard a 2-0 lead, the New Richmond girls hockey team charged back to earn a 4-3 overtime win in their season opener last Tuesday. The Tigers skated at Hayward last Thursday, in the first-ever varsity game for the Hayward girls program. The charged-up Hurricanes were able to score a 4-0 win over the Tigers. In last Tuesday's season opener, the Tigers showed their inexperience in the opening period, falling behind 2-0. The Tigers graduated five girls, and had a handful of girls sitting out the first week of the season.
Very few things can change a basketball game as effectively as well-executed full-court pressure. Just ask the St. Croix Central girls team. The Panthers looked to be in command of last Monday's game against Plum City, leading 16-8 in the second quarter. Plum City then turned to a harassing full-court press.
The Somerset girls basketball team has set quite high expectations for the 2006-07 season. In their season opener last Tuesday against a feisty Spooner team, the Spartans needed a fourth-quarter rally to earn a 48-38 win over the Rails. Somerset coach Bill Powers is not hesitant to air the Spartans' goals for the season. "Our expectations are to be conference champions," Powers said.