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Tiger boys repeat as MBC track champions

After going 16 years between conference championships, the New Richmond boys track team has now won consecutive Middle Border Conference championships.

The Tigers earned the 2008 MBC crown last Tuesday, scoring 198 points to win the meet on a rainy day in Somerset.

The 2007 MBC championship also went to New Richmond. This is the first time the Tigers have won consecutive conference titles since the 1981 and 1982 seasons.

The team championship was led by victories in six individual events for the Tigers. Senior Brian Figueroa was a triple winner, taking the championship in all three sprint events. This is a repeat for Figueroa, who also swept the sprint championships in the 2007 MBC meet.

Figueroa and Osceola's Brent Lundgren were the only triple champions in this year's boys meet. Figueroa's time of 50.4 seconds in the 400 meters ties the New Richmond school record of 50.4 seconds set by Dave Marson in 1982.

Junior Jake Wickham was the champion of the 1600 meters for the Tigers. He pulled away from the competition early in the race and won by a wide margin.

Senior Andy Lieffring won the pole vault championship for the Tigers. Lieffring and Andy Stockey finished first and third in the event.

Senior Brett Anderson was the champion in the triple jump at the conference meet. He was also second in the long jump, fourth in the high jump and he was part of the third place 1600 meter relay team.

Depth was again the heart of the Tigers' team success. In 12 of the 14 individual events, the Tigers had two athletes earn places. In every individual event except the 300 hurdles, where Nate Suo was an injury scratch, the Tigers had one of the top three finishers.

One of the events that helped swing the championship in the Tigers' favor was the discus throw. John Peper, Shaun Peper and Tyler Weeks all threw further than 130 feet, putting them all in the top five in the event. All three set personal records with their throws. Weeks improved by 14 feet and Shaun Peper broke the freshman school record that had been set by his dad, Dave, in 1979. Shaun came up with the record throw in his final attempt of the meet.

Tiger coach Roger Reuvers said this year's championship was the result of a team-wide commitment to improve throughout the season.

"I was extremely pleased with the times and distances our kids were doing under those conditions," Reuvers said. "That tells us our training got us where we needed to be."

Somerset is third

Somerset's boys gave one of the team's best performances since Somerset moved into the Middle Border Conference by placing third on their home track last Tuesday.

Somerset's boys finished the meet with 97 points. The Spartans were champions in one event, the 800 meter relay. The relay team of Evan Kowalski, Tony Martin, Justin Trautmiller and Jay Martell, all seniors, ran away from the competition. They finished with nearly a two-second margin over runner-up Osceola. The 1:33.3 time is their best mark of of the season.

At the Amery Invitational, the Spartans finished behind Amery's boys, and beating Amery became one of the Spartans' main team goals for the conference meet. The Spartans clearly accomplished that goal, beating Amery by more than 30 points.

"I think we did about as well as we possibly could have done," said Somerset boys coach Eric Olson about the team's third place finish.

Olson said senior John Neuman was one of Somerset's top performers in the meet. He was part of the 3200 meter relay team that took second place. He also took second in the triple jump, third in the long jump and fourth in the high jump. Neuman has come a long way since breaking his back when he was a sophomore.

"He was basically one fifth of our points," Olson said.

The Spartans also took second place in the 1600 meter relay. Martell and Martin each recorded second place individual finishes. Martin took second place in the shot put with a toss of 45 feet. Martell took second in one of the most exciting races of the meet, the 200 meters. Martell and New Richmond's Brian Figueroa have both posted some of the best times in the state this season. The race lived up to the hype. Figueroa edged Martell by inches, with both runners being listed with finishing times of 22.7 seconds.

Middle Border Conference 2008 Boys Track Championships

Boys Team Scores: New Richmond 198, Osceola 180, Somerset 97, Amery 66.5, Prescott 58, Ellsworth 46.5, Durand 36, Baldwin-Woodville 17

New Richmond placewinners

100 Meter Dash: 1. Brian Figueroa 11.1; 6. Calvin Hanson 11.7

200 Meter Dash: 1. Brian Figueroa 22.7; 6. Calvin Hanson 23.7

400 Meter Dash: 1. Brian Figueroa 50.4; 2. Trey Brotzler 51.3

800 Meter Run: 2. Trey Brotzler 2:02.3; 3. Jake Wickham 2:04.5

1600 Meter Run: 1. Jake Wickham 4:32.3; 3. Nick Stenske 4:49.6

3200 Meter Run: 3. Jerrod Berget 10:32.0; 4. Zach Johnson 10:33.4

110 High Hurdles: 2. Nate Suo 16.0; 4. Cody Taubman 16.6

400 Meter Relay: 2. NR 46.2 (Shaun Peper, Tony Stockey, Andy Lieffring, John Peper)

800 Meter Relay: 5. NR 1:36.0 (John Peper, Tony Stockey, Shaun Peper, Andy Lieffring)

1600 Meter Relay: 3. NR 3:37.2 (Calvin Hanson, Cody Taubman, Brett Anderson, Trey Brotzler)

3200 Meter Relay: 4. NR 9:01.4 (Nick Stenske, Andy Steffen, Scott Anderson, Jerrod Berget)

High Jump: 2. Dan Stovall 6-0; 4. Brett Anderson 5-8

Pole Vault: 1. Andy Lieffring 11-6; 3. Tony Stockey 10-6

Long Jump: 2. Brett Anderson 20-0; 7. Calvin Hanson 18-3.5

Triple Jump: 1. Brett Anderson 41-5

Shot Put: 3. Alex Thorson 43-11; 5. Blake Jacobson 43-2

Discus Throw: 2. John Peper 138-8; 3. Shaun Peper 132-7; 5. Tyler Weeks 130-6

Somerset placewinners

100 Meter Dash: 4. Evan Kowalski 11.5

200 Meter Dash: 2. Jay Martell 22.7; 7. Evan Kowalski 23.8

400 Meter Dash: 5. Dylan Rivard 54.0

1600 Meter Run: 7. Josh Torrey 4:57.4

3200 Meter Run: 8. Michael Meyer 11:37.1

110 High Hurdles: 3. Paul Fohrenkamm 16.5; 5. Alex Praschak 16.7

300 Int. Hurdles: 4. Paul Fohrenkamm 45.2

400 Meter Relay: 8. Somerset 55.0 (Eric Walczak, Kevin Gelle, Joe Hinke, Joe Schiltgen)

800 Meter Relay: 1. Somerset 1:33.3 (Evan Kowalski, Tony Martin, Justin Trautmiller, Jay Martell)

1600 Meter Relay: 2. Somerset 3:34.7 (Jay Martell, Dylan Rivard, Phil Vanasse, Tony Martin)

3200 Meter Relay: 2. Somerset 8:34.99 (John Neuman, Justin Trautmiller, Phil Vanasse, Tony Martin)

High Jump: 3. John Neuman 5-8; 7. Dylan Rivard 5-8

Pole Vault: 5. Michael Meyer 10-0

Long Jump: 4. John Neuman 19-10

Triple Jump: 2. John Neuman 40-10

Shot Put: 2. Tony Martin 45-0

Dave Newman
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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