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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The Somerset wrestling team is hoping to achieve something that hasn't been done by any Spartan team since Somerset became a member of the Middle Border Conference. Somerset became a member of the MBC for the 2002-03 school year. Since then, no Spartan wrestling team has finished among the top two teams in the MBC standings. The Spartans went a long way toward achieving that goal by winning at Baldwin-Woodville last Thursday, 41-33. The win increases the Spartans' MBC record to 4-1.
The recent improved play by the New Richmond boys basketball team netted a win for the Tigers Friday, Jan. 19 against Somerset. But the game the Tigers will lament is last Tuesday's contest at Ellsworth. The Tigers led by six points late in the game, but couldn't finish off the win, with Ellsworth coming back to take a 64-62 decision. Last week's results leave the Tigers with a 4-3 record in the Middle Border Conference, starting this week. The Tigers are 5-9 overall.
With a losing streak that has now reached 10 games, the New Richmond girls basketball team is looking for answers. The biggest thing that has held the Tigers back in this stretch is consistency. That issue was reflected again in their two losses last week. The Tigers showed some flashes of offensive success in last Tuesday's home game against Somerset. But the defense struggled all night, unable to deal with Somerset's speed and outside shooting in a 76-58 loss.
There was a sizzling sound emanating from the New Richmond High School gym last Tuesday. It was the nets on the hoop at whichever end of the court the Somerset girls basketball team was aiming at. The Spartans put on an incredible shooting display, scoring 40 points in the first half and finishing with a 76-58 win over the Tigers.
The final dual matches of the New Richmond wrestling season will be held in the upcoming days. That sets the Tigers' sights on the postseason. The Tigers are coming off a strong performance Thursday Jan. 18, where they defeated Amery, 50-30. That win put the Tigers' record in Middle Border Conference matches at 3-2. The Tigers finish the regular season with a dual match at Osceola on Thursday and a home dual match against Ellsworth next Tuesday. That's the makeup of a previous postponement.
Jack Cichy is healing on schedule and is hoping to make a strong impression on National Football League scouts, leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft on April 26-28. Cichy is recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury to his right knee that cost him his senior season. The Somerset native and former University of Wisconsin Badgers standout linebacker suffered the injury during a preseason practice in August. He underwent surgery three days later.
The Somerset and New Richmond wrestling teams both scored impressive Middle Border Conference victories on Thursday. The Somerset wrestlers won the battle for second place in the MBC standings, winning at Baldwin-Woodville, 41-33. Somerset built a 41-15 lead in the match by winning several early pivotal matches. The biggest win may have been when Jared Grahovac scored a pin in the 132-pound class.
The message was clear from Tiger coach Ryan Schradle. After the New Richmond girls basketball team played a disappointing game in a 56-36 loss to Osceola Tuesday, Jan. 9, the Tigers spent their entire practice time on Wednesday in a team meeting. The message was to worry about winning and not worry about playing time or statistics. "It's not about who starts," Schradle said in a blunt message to his team. "It's about making the most out of the minutes you get."
Matchups appear to be the deciding factor for the Somerset boys basketball team in recent games. When the Spartans faced Middle Border Conference leader Prescott on Jan. 5, the Spartans were able to stay competitive because Prescott is similarly smaller and athletic, as are the Spartans.
With a 13-0 win posted earlier this season against Badger Lightning, the Western Wisconsin Stars knew their chances were pretty good heading into Saturday's rematch with the Lightning. The Stars' coaches thought the best utilization of the rematch was to get the team's younger players as much ice time as possible. They were able to achieve that and still come away with a 9-2 win in Saturday's game played at Baraboo.