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 2016 New Richmond Fun Fest will again feature sports of all varieties for athletes and spectators to enjoy. Here is a rundown on this year’s sports events.
For the past 57 years, except for one when he was being treated for a heart attack, Stan Barr has worked at the WIAA State Track and Field Championships, either as a coach or a meet official. That incredible run has ended. Barr announced that the 2016 WIAA State Championships, held June 3-4 at La Crosse, was the final state meet he will work. Though he said it’s still likely that he will attend future state meets as a spectator.
Eleven-year-old Jaden Gess has battled brain tumors since before his first birthday. When he had to undergo his second major brain surgery last year, he became eligible to have a wish granted by Make-A-Wish Wisconsin. Jaden’s wish was to visit Hawaii. Jaden is also a huge sports fan. So Make-A-Wish packaged his interests together, sending him and his family to Hawaii and to the 2016 NFL Pro Bowl, which was played on Jan. 31.
Coaching and teaching took Kelly Stephens to places like Saudi Arabia and Thailand. On Feb. 6, it will take Stephens to the Wisconsin Track Coaches Association banquet, where he will be a 2016 inductee into the track coaches’ Hall of Fame. Stephens is a 1971 graduate of New Richmond High School. He then graduated from Winona State University. His teaching career was worldly, to say the least. He twice taught at Dhahran Academy in Saudi Arabia, from 1977-79 and 1982-92. He taught at International School Bangkok in Thailand from 1992-94.
In every successful organization, there are people who work behind the scenes to make sure things get done. In the New Richmond Youth Football Association, one of the people who works tirelessly behind the scenes is Amie Schroeder. Her efforts have now been recognized. Schroeder has been named one of 10 finalists in USA Football’s “Team Mom of the Year” contest.
Somerset's Bryan Witzmann is back in the National Football League. Witzmann announced Tuesday night that he has signed with the New Orleans Saints to be part of the Saints' practice squad. The move comes three weeks after Witzmann was cut by the Houston Texans. Witzmann, an offensive tackle, was a four-year starter at South Dakota State University.
The New Richmond 10U softball team went to its national championship tournament just hoping to have fun. What could be more fun than bringing home a national championship? That’s exactly what they Tiger girls did, winning the national championship in the bronze tier of the North American Fastpitch Association U10 National Tournament, played last Thursday through Sunday at Bloomington, Minn. The Tigers played eight games over the four days.
Finding new and interesting ways to motivate high school athletes is an ongoing challenge for teachers and coaches. When New Richmond teachers Keith Badger and Josh Fiege attended a five-day educational workshop put on by the U.S. Marines, it led to a new opportunity for NRHS athletes. Last Thursday, a group of Marines put more than 200 NRHS athletes through a Combat Fitness Test, designed to simulate some of the physically challenging tests the Marines are put through on a daily basis.
The WIAA Board of Control gave its final approval Tuesday to the conference realignment that will move St. Croix Central to the Middle Border Conference and Durand to the Dunn-St. Croix Conference. The move becomes effective for the 2015-16 school year. This was one of several actions the Board of Control took during its monthly meeting on Tuesday. The Board of Control voted to grant final approval of an Executive Staff recommendation to suspend membership dues and fees for two years.
There are thousands of varsity football coaches across the nation. But there’s only one Bruce Larson. That’s how Somerset football fans feel about Larson, the Spartans’ varsity football coach. There are people across the country who have come to feel the same way. That led to Larson being notified on Friday that he is the 2015 recipient of the Don Shula NFL National High School Coach of the Year award. Larson will be honored at Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Arizona on Sunday, Feb. 1. Attending the Super Bowl will just be part of Larson’s itinerary for Super Bowl weekend.