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'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.
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.
In Division 3 wrestling in this sectional, Shell Lake is one of the top teams that each team measures themselves against. So when the St. Croix Central wrestling team opened the season last Thursday by sweeping a double-dual meet with Shell Lake and Luck, it showed the improvement the Panther wrestlers bring into the 2005-06 season. Panther coach Brad Holzer was hoping to get two wins at the match in Luck, but knew both would be close battles. "We should be much improved," Holzer said.
The people have spoken. Again. A petition has been filed halting the attempt of the Somerset Board of Education to purchase the 69-acre tract of land that borders the current Somerset School District property. A petition was filed last Friday by Ron Baillargeon against the purchase of the property. There were only 326 signatures required on the petition, but when Baillargeon brought in the petition, it contained 381 signatures.
The New Richmond girls hockey team earned its first win of the 2005-06 season last Tuesday. The Tigers locked up in a close game with the Blizzard, a team based out of Webster which includes skaters from Grantsburg, Siren and Frederic. The game was tied 1-1 after the first period and 2-2 after the second period. The Tigers got the only goal of the third period to earn a 3-2 win. This was the Tigers' second game of the season. They had lost their opening game to Onalaska, 4-0. Emily Cook scored the winning goal for the Tigers Tuesday, 3:38 into the third period.
If wrestling tough opponents early in the season results in success down the road, the Somerset wrestling team should improve rapidly. The Spartans started the 2005-06 season last Thursday wrestling at Ellsworth in a Middle Border Conference dual meet. Ellsworth is the defending MBC champion and the Panthers delivered a 51-14 loss to the Spartans Thursday. Somerset got three wins in the match, from three of its most experienced wrestlers.
The St. Croix Central boys basketball team is 2-0 after beating Elmwood 48-36 on Friday. The game was close for a quarter, with Central leading 10-9 entering the second quarter. The Panthers flamed up in the second quarter, outscoring Elmwood 17-2 in the quarter. Point guard Jeff Fern hit a pair of three-pointers in the quarter to lead the charge. Central coach Mike Fern said the second quarter was when the Panthers got on track offensively for the first time this season. "We had a nice improvement from the first game, especially offensively," he said.
The New Richmond girls basketball team pounced on Durand's team, springing out to a 12-0 lead in the first three minutes of last Friday's game on the Tigers' court. Durand was able to withstand the Tigers' fierce start. The Panthers had two factors that turned the game in their favor: center Rachel Lubeck and a swarming zone press that caused numerous Tiger turnovers.
The battle between two undefeated teams, Somerset and Lancaster, was everything you could ask for in a state championship game. Lancaster, the team that was ranked number one in Division 5 all season, was able to score on a 31-yard touchdown pass with three minutes left in the game, to dramatically knock off Somerset, 17-14. This was an emotion-packed game with more plot twists than your favorite mystery novel.
Somerset's final play, an incomplete pass on a fourth-and-one with 1:36 left in the game, will be the play everyone remembers from the Spartans' 17-14 2005 Division 5 state championship loss to Lancaster. Singling out that play would be a gross understatement on a tremendous game filled with pivotal plays. Going for a big play on fourth down has been a common practice for Somerset, and for Lancaster, this season.