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New Richmond boys earn three-peat as MBC winners

New Richmond senior John Peper (center) was one of the standouts for the Tigers in the conference meet. He was part of two winning relays and he is shown here taking second place in the 100 meter dash.

The New Richmond boys track team has made a tradition of having its seniors rise to the occasion at the yearly Middle Border Conference track championships.

That tradition carried the Tiger boys to their third straight MBC title, winning the 2009 meet by a wide margin last Tuesday at Amery High School. This is the third straight conference title for New Richmond's boys team.

New Richmond's girls finished in third place in their half of the 2009 MBC meet.

The Tiger boys finished the meet with 180 points, well beyond second place Osceola's 145.5 points.

The boys' championship was the net product of outstanding individuals and quality depth. The Tigers were winners in seven events in the meet, five individual events and two relay races.

Boys coach Roger Reuvers said the team spent its season building toward the conference meet

"At the beginning of the year the talk was to three-peat," Reuvers said. "There were so many great performances. The kids really stepped up."

Senior Jake Wickham led the way for the Tigers, with individual titles in the 800 and 1,600 meter races. Osceola's Andrew Rohlman tried to set the pace in both races, but he and the other competitors couldn't come near the kick that the long-legged Wickham put together in the final lap of both races.

"He eats up a lot of ground with that stride of his," Reuvers said.

The hurdle races were the personal domain of the Tigers. One of the tightest finishes of the day came in the 110 hurdles, where Tiger senior Nate Suo edged Somerset's Alex Praschak by three-hundredths of a second for the race title. Cody Taubman placed fourth and Patrick Hailey placed eighth for the Tigers in the 110s.

For Tiger fans, one of the most impressive sights of the day was the finish in the 300 hurdles. Taubman, Suo and Hailey made huge pushes in the home stretch to take the top three places in the race. The two hurdle races netted the Tigers 40 points.

In nearly every field event, the Tigers were able to take places. That was led by the pole vault. Tony Stockey won the event with a vault of 12 feet, 6 inches, the best of his career. Anthony Hennlich took fifth place by clearing 11 feet, 6 inches.

The Peper brothers took second and fourth place in the discus throw. Shaun Peper took second, missing his dad's sophomore school record by two inches. John Peper took fourth.

In the shot put, Blake Jacobson took third and Alex Thorson seventh. Derek Sabby and Steve McCarthy both cleared five feet, 8 inches in the high jump, with Sabby placing fifth and McCarthy eighth.

Mason Schultz was one of the surprises of the meet for the Tigers. Schultz went into the triple jump event seeded seventh, but was able to place third with career-best jump of 38 feet, 1.75 inches. McCarthy was able to place sixth in the event.

The relay events were quite productive for the Tigers. The 400 meter relay team of Logan Jensen, Hennlich and the Peper brothers combined for the win. In the 800 relay the Pepers were joined by Stockey and Jensen, putting together a huge effort to win by more than three seconds.

The Tigers were edged at the finish line in the 1,600 meter relay and the 3,200 meter relay team placed fourth.

The sprints were also productive for the Tigers. John Peper took second in the 100 meter. One of the nicest surprises was the 200, where freshman Tyler Cran took second and Shaun Peper took third. Cran also placed fourth in the 400 meters.

Tiger girls

The Tiger girls were involved in a strong four-way battle for the top spot in their half of the conference meet.

Somerset won the girls title with 174.5 points. Osceola was next at 138.5. Then came the Tigers at 108 and Ellsworth at 103.

New Richmond's girls didn't quite have the depth of the top two teams but the Tigers did all they could to maximize their points.

The Tigers were champions in three events in the meet. The Tigers continue to have one of the best 1,600 meter relay teams in western Wisconsin. The team of Shelly Stockey, Morgan Kelly, Mary Balow and McKenzie Kelly won the title with a time of 4:07.96, beating a quality team from Ellsworth by more than a second.

Freshman Kat Keller earned the conference championship in the 200 meters for the Tigers. She won the race in 26.66 seconds. She was one of the top sprinters in the meet, taking second place in the 100 meters to go along with her 200 meter title.

Tiger junior Molly Holland was the champion in the high jump at the MBC meet. Holland was seeded fourth, but by clearing a career best jump of 5 feet, 2 inches, she was able to take the conference title.

McKenzie Kelly had a strong senior meet for the Tigers. In addition to anchoring the 1,600 meter relay team, she earned second place in the 800 meters, third place in the 1,600 meters and fourth place in the triple jump.

Relays were a solid source of points for the Tigers. In addition to the 1,600 win, the Tigers were second in the 3,200 and fourth in the 400 and 800 relays. The team of Morgan Kelly, Balow, Stockey and Hannah Utzman were the runners in the 3,200.

Utzman was also able to place third in the open 3,200 and fifth in the 1,600. Stockey placed fourth in the 400 meters.

Alina Stai and Brittany Jonsson both placed in the 100 hurdles for the Tigers, with Stai fourth and Jonsson sixth.

WIAA tournaments

The Tigers competed in the River Falls Division 1 regional track meet on Tuesday.

The top qualifiers from the regional meet will advance on to the Wausau West Division 1 sectional meet. The sectional will be run on Friday, starting at 4 p.m.

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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