Friday was a momentous day for St. Croix Central athletics, but it brought a bitter end for the New Richmond football team.
Both St. Croix Central cross country teams qualified for the WIAA Division 2 state championships at the Hayward sectional meet on Friday. The St. Croix Central girls, led by sectional champion Liv Moll, captured the sectional championship. The Central boys are also headed to state after placing second at the sectional meet. Osceola won the boys sectional title, giving the MIddle Border Conference three of the four spots in the state tournament field from this sectional.
The St. Croix Central football team capped an incredible Friday for the Panthers with a win in the opening round of the Division 4 state football playoffs. In front of a home crowd, the Panthers rolled past Mauston, 48-26. With the win, the Panthers advance to next Friday's level 2 playoff game. The Panthers will host Northwestern next Friday at 7 p.m. Northwestern, the sixth seed in the sectional bracket, upset Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau 29-17 on Friday night.
The New Richmond football team was the fifth seed in the Division 3 sectional bracket, playing West Salem at La Crosse Logan. As many games between 4-5 seeds are, this game went right down to the wire. The Tigers had the ball in the final minutes, but couldn't generate the winning points, losing to West Salem, 17-14.
Saturday will be another busy sports day. The New Richmond cross country teams will be running at the WIAA Division 1 sectional meet at 1 p.m. at Menomonie. At the same time, New Richmond will be hosting Onalaska in the second round of the WIAA Division 2 regional tournament. To cap the day, St. Croix Central's volleyball team puts its unbeaten season on the line, hosting Ellsworth in the WIAA Division 3 regional finals.