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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With two indoor meets already in, the New Richmond girls track team is showing it is ready to build on last year's success. The Tigers ran in two indoor meets at UW-River Falls, last Tuesday and Saturday. Tuesday's meet was a quad event against River Falls, Hudson and Osceola. Saturday's meet was the 14-team All-American Invite. In the two meets the Tigers had a good mix. Many of the girls who established themselves last season showed they are ready to take another step up in their success.
The gentle, grandfatherly manner of Jim Landes immediately made students in the Somerset Elementary School feel comfortable. Landes is retiring after 13 years as the principal at the elementary school. It completes a 34-year career in education, which Landes began after a term in the military. For the Somerset Class of 2003, Landes is the only elementary principal they have known. They began at the school together, when this year's seniors were attending junior kindergarten. "I'm graduating too," Landes said.
Jodi Duffe never got to reach her dream of playing in the WIAA State Girls Basketball Tournament in her years with the New Richmond High School girls team. In the 2003 WIAA girls state tournament, Duffe got to fulfill her dream. Duffe was one of three female officials who worked in this year's girls state tournament. Duffe is a seventh and eighth grade physical education and health teacher in the Howard-Suamico school district, which is a suburb of Green Bay.
Ladysmith's defense lived up to its reputation. The Lumberjacks were relentless in smothering Somerset's offense in Thursday's WIAA Division 3 Sectional Semifinal at Rice Lake on Thursday. Somerset's offense never got rolling and Ladysmith cruised to a 40-26 win. With the win, Ladysmith faced Fall Creek in the Division 3 sectional championship game.
New Richmond and River Falls played evenly for the first half of their WIAA Division 2 regional opener last Tuesday. River Falls then was able to shut down New Richmond's scoring from the low post. With that, the Wildcats pulled away in the second half for a 54-43 win. The loss ends New Richmond's season. The Tigers, who were seeded fifth in the regional, end the season with a 4-17 record. In the first half the Tigers were successful in getting the ball into the low post.
Knocking off the top two seeded teams in the regional has gotten the Somerset boys basketball team into the WIAA Division 3 sectionals. Last Thursday the Spartans caught fire in the final minutes of the game to overtake Glenwood City 56-52. Glenwood City was the top seed in the regional. That win put the Spartans in Saturday's regional final against Boyceville, where the Bulldogs had been the second seeded team.
The New Richmond girls hockey team started last week in the best possible situation. The Tiger girls had two chances to play their way into the 2003 WIAA Girls State Hockey Tournament. But neither of those opportunities panned out for the Tigers, losing to Superior and Hudson in state tournament qualifying games last week. Last Thursday Superior visited the Tigers. New Richmond was the second seed in the sectional and Superior was seeded third. The lead in this game changed hands several times, but Superior held it in the end, winning 6-4.
For a half, the St. Croix Central boys were the equal of Boyceville. Central's boys led 20-17 in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference finale for both teams last Friday. Then in the second half, Central's shooting went cold and Boyceville's rebounding caught fire. The Panthers were left in the wake of a 50-37 final score. The Panther who tried keeping the team in the game in the fourth quarter was senior David Reyzer. The Panthers had seven points in the fourth and Reyzer scored all seven.
Andrew Neumann completed the most successful wrestling career in Somerset High School history on Saturday by winning his first WIAA state wrestling championship. Somerset teammate Bruce Baillargeon also reached the Division 3 state wrestling finals Saturday, losing in the 152-pound state championship match 4-2. This is the first time Somerset has had two wrestlers reach the state championship finals in the same season. Neumann becomes Somerset's third state wrestling champion, following Trevor Anderson in 1993 and Scott Glowe in 1989.
New Richmond's Mitch Campeau had qualified for the state powerlifting competition, as one of 81 lifters who competed in the New Richmond Powerlifting Meet on Saturday. Eleven of the lifters had lifts that qualified for the state meet, which will be held March 15 in Kaukauna. Wrestlers from all over the state came to the New Richmond meet because it is the final meet to qualify for state. There were lifters competing from as far away as Racine and Minocqua. There were several impressive individual performances in the meet.