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 Somerset hockey team had leads in its back-to-back games last Thursday, but the Spartans couldn't hang onto the lead in either game. On Friday the Spartans lost 4-3 to Tomahawk in overtime. The night before the Spartans had lost to River Falls by a 6-4 score. Against Tomahawk, Spartan coach Dan Gilkerson tried to break up his top line of Brock Montpetit, Matt Johnson and Nick Widing to try getting more balanced scoring. That move didn't work, with the Spartans struggling through the first period.
Any wrestling team in western Wisconsin would have difficulty matching the strength of schedule that the New Richmond wrestling team faced last week. In a double-dual meet at Baldwin-Woodville last Tuesday, the Tigers tangled with Hudson and Glenwood City. Last Thursday the Tigers wrestled a dual match at Ellsworth. All three matches ended as losses for the Tigers. "Glenwood City will be one of the favorites in the Dunn-St. Croix and Hudson will win the Big Rivers," said New Richmond coach Mark Neumann.
The Somerset boys basketball team played in a wildly uptempo game and a tough, defensive minded game last week. Neither of the tempos was a style that got the Spartans into the win column. They were beaten at Grantsburg 76-67 last Tuesday before losing 41-27 at Baldwin-Woodville last Friday. The game at Grantsburg featured a career-high 29 points from Somerset senior Brett Schreiner. Grantsburg is a team with outstanding guards, but limited experience in the post.
The St. Croix Central girls basketball team is near the top level of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference. To give themselves a chance to climb higher in the conference standings, the Panthers need to find ways to perform better against the other top conference contenders. Last Thursday the Panthers struggled from the outset, losing 59-36 to Mondovi. The loss drops the Panthers to 5-2 in conference play, two games behind Colfax. Mondovi jumped out to a 21-7 lead in the first quarter and the Buffaloes extended the lead to 31-16 at halftime.
The New Richmond boys basketball team jumped out to a double-digit first quarter lead and was never seriously threatened in beating Ellsworth 51-31 last Friday. This was New Richmond's first win in Middle Border Conference play this season. The two MBC teams that have beaten New Richmond, Durand and Prescott, currently share the MBC lead with 3-0 records. Tough, full-court pressure by the Tigers was able to create a number of turnovers early in the game. The Tigers were quick to convert those turnovers into points, taking a 16-4 lead by the end of the quarter.
Add another impressive effort to the fast start of the St. Croix Central wrestling team. The Panthers were without five starters for Saturday's La Crosse Logan Invitational, still they finished in fourth place, 32 points out of first place. Seven of the Panther wrestlers placed among the top three in their weight class at the tournament. Mark Shaver was the Panthers' lone champion of the tournament. Shaver ran his season record to 8-1 by sweeping his three matches in the tournament. Curt Hinkel, Mike Winkler and Sam Wells each took second place in their classes.
There will be games when younger players struggle. That's when seniors need to step forward. That's just what happened for the St. Croix Central boys basketball team last Thursday at Pepin. Seniors Ryan Fedie, Dustin Meyer and Tom Redmon combined for 39 of Central's 47 points as the Panthers logged a 47-37 win. Fedie was hot early in the game, hitting a pair of three pointers as the Panthers were able to build a 10-point lead in the first half. Fedie finished with a game-high 19 points, followed by Meyer with 12 and Redmon with eight.
The Somerset hockey team is out to a 3-0 start for the 2005-06 season, leading into this Thursday's showdown in New Richmond. The Spartans climbed to 3-0 on Saturday, winning a wild contest at Chippewa Falls, 4-3.
It's a double landmark for the New Richmond boys hockey program. On Saturday the Tiger boys defeated Superior, the defending WIAA state champions, by a 4-2 score. This is also the first time the Tiger boys have ever beaten Superior in a regular season game. This game has been highlighted on the Tigers' schedule ever since Superior trounced the Tigers in the WIAA sectional championship game last February, 5-0. New Richmond faces another highly charged game this Thursday, when Somerset visits the Tigers.
After their season-opening win over Hudson, members of the New Richmond boys basketball team were being treated like rock stars. The Tigers then got a huge dose of humble pie fed to them by the Durand boys last Tuesday.