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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Girls hockey coaches from around the state recognized that the Western Wisconsin Stars have a special player in Jade Williams. Williams received honorable mention status last week when the Wisconsin Girls Hockey Coaches Association All-State honors were announced.
Girls hockey in western Wisconsin is a vastly underrated sport. Our area has been producing some of the best teams in the state for more than a decade. The top three ranked teams in the state all reside in Sectional 1. Undefeated Hudson is the top-ranked team in the state, with Eau Claire and St. Croix Valley being the second and third ranked teams. All three are highly skilled teams that possess standout players, along with deep talent pools. Any of the three teams would represent the section admirably at the state tournament.
Sectional 1 in the WIAA boys hockey tournament bracket is annually one of the best in the state. The battle to be champion of the section should again be an epic battle, with Hudson, Superior and New Richmond all fielding top quality teams. Section 1 has put a team in the state finals each of the past three years. Hudson won the title in 2017 after taking second place in 2016. Superior won the state championship in 2015. There's every reason to believe that whichever team advances out of the sectional this winter again has a great chance of reaching the state title game.
Going into its biggest game of the season, the New Richmond boys hockey team could have filled a wing of Westfields Hospital with all the illness and injuries the team was dealing with. Undaunted, the Tigers put together an incredible effort last Tuesday, playing at undefeated Hudson, with the top seed in the WIAA sectional bracket at stake. Hudson scored with 5:30 left in the game to defeat the Tigers, 3-2.
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.
After facing two of the three top-ranked teams in the state earlier in the week, the Western Wisconsin Stars were able to end a frantic week before Christmas by playing the Black River Falls cooperative team on Saturday, Dec. 23. The Stars earned a 4-1 win. The game featured some sharp team play from the Stars, along with two superlative efforts from leading scorer Jade Williams that resulted in a pair of goals.