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 more than 30 years.
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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.
A 2013 Somerset High School graduate and Somerset native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, the premier naval air installation in the Pacific Northwest region. Petty Officer 3rd Class Jeremy Bucklew is an aviation machinist's mate serving with Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 10. A Navy aviation machinist's mate is responsible for taking care of all engines on the P-3C Orion.
Former Stillwater High School boys hockey coach Phil Housley has been named the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League. The Sabres made the announced early Thursday afternoon. Housley coached the Stillwater boys hockey team for nine years, before taking an assistant coaching position with the Nashville Predators of the NHL in 2013. Housley was a high school standout at South St. Paul High School before a long career in the NHL, mainly with the Sabres. Here is the Sabres' announcement:
Most people know the Nelson brothers, Trevor and Collin, as standout athletes and students at St. Croix Central High School. In becoming the highly respected students they are, they have endured the most unthinkable of all tragedies, losing their mother in a motorcycle accident. Their father was badly injured in the accident, leaving the middle school-aged brothers to help in his lengthy rehabilitation.
A fire did severe damage to an apartment building in Somerset Friday afternoon. The Somerset Fire Department was called to a fire at 308 Willow Street in Somerset just before 2 p.m. This is the site of an apartment building. The fire appeared to start in an upper corner apartment, where flames could still be seen inside the apartment. Smoke was billowing from under the awnings all around the upper level of the apartment. The New Richmond and St. Joseph fire departments were called to supply mutual aid in battling the blaze.
Summit Brewing will release its newest specialty brew, Belgian Style Abbey Ale, during the week of July 23. The new beer is the brainchild of New Richmond native Nate Siats. At 26, Siats already has four years of experience working as a brewer at Summit Brewing in St. Paul. Anyone wanting to sample Siats' new brew will have the chance on Thursday, July 26. Summit Brewing is holding several release parties to introduce the limited production beer. One of those parties will be held at the Old Saloon in New Richmond, from 6-9 p.m.