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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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.
It has been a long road with many twists and turns for Gaelin Elmore. He's hoping the journey takes him to the National Football League. Elmore, a 2014 graduate of Somerset High School, declared himself eligible for the 2018 NFL Draft. He has signed with an agent, Premier Athlete Advisors, to help him in pursuit of his goal.
Fat tire bikers now have a course in New Richmond, and there's a new event planned to christen the course. The Frozen Gnome Fat Tire Challenge will be held on Saturday, Jan. 13 at a new three-quarter mile groomed trail at Barley John's Brewing Company in New Richmond. The brewery is located at 1280 Madison Ave. The event is presented by the Big Ring Flyers Bicycle Club and Race Team and is open to the public. They will have demo fat bikes available at the event for anyone that wants to come out and give it a try, courtesy of Crank Worx Bike Shop of River Falls.
At 14, Owen Carlson is retiring as the .25 Midget racing world champion. This doesn't mean Carlson is retiring from racing. The Somerset High School freshman is outgrowing the .25 Midget cars and is moving up to Micro Sprint racing.
The Western Wisconsin Stars play in a WIAA section that is loaded with talented teams. The Stars faced another of those teams Friday, Dec. 29 when they hosted the Hayward co-op team at the Somerset Ice Arena. The game hinged on a bad-hop goal that Hayward scored with 16 seconds remaining in the first period. The Stars were the better team for long stretches of the second and third periods, but they could never catch the Hurricanes, losing 2-1. Hayward is the defending sectional champion.
Gwynn Christensen achieved a great many things in his 92 years. He started as high school standout athlete, then a World War II soldier. That was followed by being a college football starter, high school coach and administrator, college coach, businessman, Shriner and Mason, to name a few. Christensen moved to New Richmond in 1970. He remained here until he died on Nov. 5 at the American Heritage Care Center in Hammond.
This fall may be the most successful single athletic season experienced in the history of St. Croix Central High School. And around the state, Central's success this fall ranks among the top overall performances by any high school. St. Croix Central has seen its football, girls cross country and boys cross country reach the state championships and the volleyball team reach the sectional championship match. There are only three other schools, all in Division 1, that equalled or exceeded that level of success.
Through the first half of the season, New Richmond senior linebacker Clayton Van Dyk has had to play with a heavy guard wrapped around his left hand. He is extremely fortunate that his left hand remains intact. In late July, Van Dyk was involved in a farm accident at his family's farm just outside Boardman. Damage was done to the index, middle and ring fingers of that hand. The index and ring fingers were both broken, requiring pins to be inserted to assure that the fingers would heal in their proper alignment.
"Now starting for the Kansas City Chiefs: Bryan Witzmann." Bryan Witzmann is the toast of Somerset. The former Somerset football standout has continued to climb the ranks, all the way to the top. Starting at left guard, in the 2017 NFL season opener for the Chiefs, was Witzmann. It's been an amazing ride for a player who was lightly recruited out of high school. But there last Thursday, in front of a national audience, was Witzmann. And he earned stellar marks, as the Chiefs knocked off the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.
Volleyball practice became a time for the Somerset girls to heal a bit on Monday. The Spartans were dealing with the news that freshman team member Bailey Belisle, 14, died over the weekend from a fall at Palisade Head, a landmark along the Lake Superior shore north of Duluth. Somerset varsity volleyball coach Sarah Praschak had Belisle as an elementary student, and now again as a high school freshman. Praschak said Belisle was an active, energetic girl. "She was just sweet, very nice. Fun and friendly," Praschak said.