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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For a team as young as the Somerset Spartans, battling a veteran team like Hayward right to the final buzzer is a big step in a team's growth. The Spartan boys hockey team lost at Hayward 4-3 on Friday. The Spartans pulled their goalie in the final minutes and it nearly produced a tying goal, with the Spartans just missing a rebound shot in the closing seconds of the game.
It would have been easy to write off the New Richmond wrestlers midway through their season-opening match last Thursday against Osceola. Halfway through the dual, New Richmond trailed 25-12. The Tigers flipped the script in the second half of the night, winning six of the final seven matches to pull away from Osceola for a 43-31 win. The Tigers closed with pins in four of the final five matches.
The element of surprise will no longer be there for the Western Wisconsin Stars. After stunning the state's second-ranked team, the Hudson Raiders, by a 6-1 score last Thursday, every girls hockey team around the state knows the Stars are going to be a threat this season. The win over Hudson raises the Stars' record to 4-0. But it also brought a stern warning from Stars coach Bob Huerta. "They aren't handing out any championships in November, because other teams will gun for you now," Huerta warned his team.
The New Richmond boys basketball ended one of the longest winning streaks in Wisconsin high school sports on Tuesday. The Tigers defeated defending WIAA Division 3 state champion Prescott, 65-60, ending Prescott’s Middle Border Conference winning streak at 59 games. It was Prescott’s first loss in the conference since 2014.
Five wrestlers left the team before the first match of the season, leaving the Somerset wrestling squad with nine wrestlers to open the 2018-19 season. The Spartans wrestled their first matches of the season at the annual Glenwood City Duals on Saturday. The Spartans lost all five of the team competitions, though they did go 21-17 in the actual matches that were wrestled.
An outstanding effort, and opponent that brought the Spartans back down to Earth, were the results from the first week of the season for the Somerset boys' basketball team. The Spartans opened the season playing a nearly flawless game in defeating Unity 66-50. The Spartans led by as many as 29 points in the game. The tables were turned quickly. Somerset went to Grantsburg on Saturday and it was the Pirates who could do no wrong, shutting down the Spartans, 59-36.
Now we know how big the rebuilding project is for the New Richmond boys hockey team. The Tiger program graduated 16 seniors from last season's team. They took the ice for the first time last Thursday, losing at Cumberland 5-3, against the Northwest Icemen. Last year, the Icemen were the ninth seed in the WIAA sectional tournament bracket and the Tigers were the third seed.
For two-thirds of Saturday's game against Rice Lake, the New Richmond boys basketball team played the type of ball that it hopes will be its trademark in the 2018-19 season. While Rice Lake pulled away in the final 12 minutes of the game to defeat the Tigers, 74-58, the Tigers showed the style of play they hope will lead to a successful season.
It was a gleeful ride home from Barron for the St. Croix Central girls' basketball team on Monday. The Panthers scored their first victory of the season at Barron, topping the Bears 37-28. The win capped an intense week for the Panthers, who played four games in eight days. The Panthers lost at Osceola last Friday and at St. Croix Falls last Thursday. The Panthers will play their fourth straight road game this Friday when they trek to Prescott.
It was easy to see what Vernon Conrad wasn't. But for the many people who took the time to let Vernon into their lives, most will say their lives were forever enriched. Vernon died over the weekend. New Richmond lost one of its most loyal citizens. In the way the citizens of New Richmond accepted Vernon and made him feel accepted, it showed the depth of caring and acceptance in the community.