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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It all comes down to Friday for the New Richmond boys basketball team. While the Tigers have tried to concentrate on getting ready for the WIAA playoffs, they have kept their hopes for a Middle Border Conference championship afloat. The Tigers are the only MBC team that has not lost in the second round of conference play, which comes down to its final set of games this Friday. New Richmond will be playing at home this Friday, against Prescott. Prescott is the last MBC team that beat the Tigers.
The New Richmond boys hockey team is making its seemingly annual trip to the WIAA tournament sectional level. The Tigers qualified for sectionals by winning at home last Thursday against Somerset, 8-2. This win moved the Tigers to the sectional semifinals, which were scheduled to be played on Tuesday in Hudson. The winner of Tuesday's game will advance to the sectional game. The championship game will be played at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Wessman Arena in Superior.
New Richmond coach Mark Neumann took the cautious approach to the Tigers' first appearance in the WIAA team wrestling sectionals in Division 1. With several of the Tigers nursing injuries and others battling weight issues, Neumann elected to hold those wrestlers out of last Tuesday's team wrestling. Wausau West was able to defeat the Tigers 57-15. This made Wausau West one of the eight Division 1 teams to qualify for the state team wrestling tournament. Wausau West is ranked second in Division 1 in the state, behind Wisconsin Rapids.
For the first half last Friday, the New Richmond girls basketball team turned the Middle Border Conference standings upside down. The Tigers finished the 2006-07 season at the bottom of the MBC rankings. But in the first half last Friday, the Tigers outplayed the MBC champions from Durand. The Tigers led 22-19 at halftime. Durand then caught fire in the second half and pulled away for a 60-33 win. What makes the Tigers' halftime lead more impressive was the fact that Durand jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the first two minutes of the game.
A gender-based classroom study at the Somerset Middle School passed with flying colors in its first quarter of implementation. The Somerset Middle School fifth grade is divided into gender-based sections. There is one section that is all boys, one section that is all girls, and two sections that are mixtures of boys and girls. The school year began with the fifth grade divided into four mixed-gender classes. This gave the fifth grade teachers and school staff a chance to observe the students and see which might benefit most from being in a single-gender classroom.
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.