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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When the St. Croix Central baseball team starts the WIAA Division 2 regional tournament on Thursday, the Panther players and coaches believe they can compete with any team in the regional bracket. They've seen them all before, so familiarity is working in the Panthers' favor. Central goes into the regional bracket as the sixth seed, meaning they will play at third-seeded Ellsworth at 5 p.m. on Thursday. The winner of that game advances to the second round of regionals next Tuesday.
In their finest moment, the girls of New Richmond soccer team paid tribute to a teammate who couldn't be there to celebrate with them. The New Richmond girls soccer team clinched the 2018 Middle Border Conference championship with the 10-0 victory over Amery last Tuesday. And at halftime of the game, the Tigers paid tribute teammate Megan Bennig, who died in a car accident last October. In the halftime ceremony, the Tigers recognized Bennig's parents, Trent and Mary. The players then released 13 balloons, in recognition of Bennig's jersey number.
Speeding isn't illegal on the soccer field. And with the way the Somerset soccer team is now using its strong overall team speed, that's a good thing. The Spartans put together two dominating performances in their games last week. In their last three games, the Spartans have now scored 23 goals.
The goal for the Somerset track teams at the 2018 Middle Border Conference track meet was to finish better than they did at the 2017 meet. The Spartans took a step up this year, and they hope it's the beginning of a climb that puts them in a position to be a title contender in future seasons.
With regional softball and golf being played, plus the key baseball games around the Middle Border Conference, Tuesday was a pivotal day for a number of area teams. Let's start with golf, where one team has advanced to the sectional tournament and another team had two players who qualified for sectionals. St. Croix Central is the team that reached sectionals. The Panthers advanced by placing third at the Rice Lake Division 2 sectional tournament on Tuesday. The Panthers advanced with a 352 team score.
The power of team balance carried the New Richmond boys tennis team to second place at the Middle Border Conference tournament last Tuesday and Wednesday at Baldwin-Woodville High School. With this finish, the Tigers were able to finish second in the overall conference standings for the 2018 season.
It would have taken a perfect day for the St. Croix Central boys track team to upend Osceola for the Middle Border Conference track team title at last Tuesday's MBC meet. And the Panthers nearly pulled it off. When the scores were announced, Central had rolled up 141 points, but it wasn't quite enough to match the 144 points Osceola amassed to win the 2018 team title. The results were the same in the girls meet, with Osceola winning the team title and Central taking second place.
The competition for the New Richmond Millers on Friday was Hudson, but it was also the Minnesota Twins-Milwaukee Brewers game. With several players deciding to attend the Twins-Brewers opener instead of playing against Hudson, the Millers didn't have a full lineup Friday. And it played into the Millers losing their 2018 home opener, 7-1. That was the Millers' opening game of the 2018 St. Croix Valley Baseball League season. The Millers will play another SCVBL game this Wednesday, hosting Elmwood at 7:30 p.m. at Citizens Field.
The approach taken by the New Richmond track teams was completely different at the 2018 Middle Border Conference meet last Tuesday. The New Richmond boys have a highly-talented group of seniors who accounted for nearly all of the team's points at the MBC meet. The Tiger girls have one senior, so they relied on team balance and contributions from every competitor.
The season didn't go as the St. Croix Central softball team had hoped. But a run in the WIAA playoffs could salvage the season for the Panthers. The Panthers open WIAA Division 3 regional play at 5 p.m. Tuesday, playing at Mondovi. The Panthers are the 10th seed in the regional bracket, and Mondovi is the seventh seed. The winner of Tuesday's game will play at second-seeded Altoona this Wednesday.