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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At halftime the St. Croix Central boys couldn't have been sitting in a better position against Spring Valley in the WIAA Division 3 regionals last Thursday. The Panthers led 28-25 at halftime, despite having two of the team's leading scorers miss big chunks of the second quarter with foul trouble. Spring Valley then switched its approach in the second half. Instead of relying solely on the outside shooting of Ryan Stangl, the Cardinals decided to spread the court. That gave point guard Tom Sauve room to drive through the Panther defense.
The first appearance by a New Richmond team in the WIAA State Girls Hockey Championships ended in the semifinals last Friday. The Tiger girls were beaten in the state semifinals by Superior 4-2. New Richmond and Superior had split the two games that they played in the regular season. New Richmond coach Steve Gehr said the Tigers got caught up in the excitement of playing in the state tournament. "They just forgot about the game plan," Gehr said. "It wasn't a lack of effort.
Somerset sophomores Tyler LeRoy and Justin Neumann were defeated in their first attempt at the WIAA State Wrestling Championships. Somerset coach Mike Kappers is guessing this won't be their last chance to wrestle at the state level. "I know it will make them hungry for next year," Kappers said of the first round losses at state. By losing in the opening round, they were eliminated from the state tournament.
New Richmond's girls hockey team is state-bound. The Tigers won a thriller to qualify for the WIAA Girls State Hockey Championships, winning at Hudson 2-1 in double overtime last Tuesday. Steph Kendrick scored both of New Richmond's goals in Tuesday's sectional game. She got the game winner 2:29 into the overtime. The puck came free to Kendrick, who skated to the middle of the faceoff circle, where she cut loose with a shot.
How will Somerset's boys recover? That's the question being asked repeatedly around Somerset over the weekend, after the Spartan boys were thrashed by Amery Friday night, 64-33. This makes Amery the undefeated 2004 Middle Border Conference champions, while Somerset spirals down to finish in a tie for second place in the conference standings with Prescott. The Spartans were scheduled to open WIAA Division 3 play on Tuesday night against Fall Creek. The Spartans went into that game as the third seed in the regional while Fall Creek was seeded sixth.
Senior Adam Delander has joined the elite. Many schools have never had a multiple state champion. On Saturday, Delander became St. Croix Central's second two-time state wrestling champion. Delander won the Division 3 119-pound state championship at the Kohl Center in Madison on Saturday night. In the championship match Delander beat Casey Klister of Wrightstown, 2-0. Two years ago Delander was the Division 3 state champion at 103 pounds. Last year Delander finished in third place in the Division 3 112-pound state bracket.
Two losses to Prescott, including one last Thursday, pushed Somerset down to the third seed in the WIAA Division 3 boys basketball regional. Spring Valley, fresh off knocking off previously undefeated Mondovi, earned the top seed in the regional. Prescott, which didn't have as strong a record as Somerset or St. Croix Central, moved up to the second seed with Somerset being seeded third and St. Croix Central fourth. By drawing the third seed, Somerset gets a tough opening opponent in Fall Creek, the sixth seed.
If there's a team that appears overdue for a win, it's the Somerset girls basketball team. The Spartans finished with their second straight winless season in the Middle Border Conference on Friday. The Spartans surely have had their share of close calls however. The latest close call was on Friday, when the Spartans lost 33-28 at Amery. After trailing 26-14 at the start of the fourth quarter, the Spartans made a huge comeback.
If the St. Croix Central girls basketball team isn't residing in The Twilight Zone, the Panthers are at least in the same neighborhood. The Panthers finished the regular season with a six-game losing streak, falling in overtime to Spring Valley 52-47 last Thursday. Because of injuries and fouls, the Panthers played about 30 seconds of the overtime with four players. The Panthers led 14-11 at halftime. Then center Rachel Anderson injured her foot in the third quarter and was done for the game. That gave Spring Valley room to take the lead.
A pair of Somerset sophomores will be representing the Spartans at the 2004 WIAA State Wrestling Championships. Tyler LeRoy and Justin Neumann both qualified for the 2004 state meet by finishing in third place in their weight classes at the WIAA Division 3 Somerset Sectional Tournament held Saturday. LeRoy qualified for state at 112 pounds and Neumann advances at 189 pounds. LeRoy beat two wrestlers who qualified for state last year to advance this year. In his opening round match, LeRoy faced Chris Treumper of Park Falls, who reached state last year.