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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It was a record-breaking week for the St. Croix Central girls track team last week. The Panthers broke two records in the distance events during meets run last Monday and Thursday. A long-standing St. Croix Central track record was toppled when the Panthers ran at the Mondovi Invitational last Monday.
It isn’t always the team with the best record that advances through the WIAA playoffs, but the team that is playing the best at the end of the season. That’s what the St. Croix Central baseball team is relying upon. The Panthers struggled to find the right chemistry through the first month of the season, but last week, everything came together. The Panthers have won three of their last four games and are suddenly looking like a team to avoid in the WIAA playoffs.
If you watch a game like St. Croix Central’s softball game against New Richmond last week, you might wonder why the Panthers are still winless in the Middle Border Conference. The Panthers lost Thursday’s game 9-2. There are things the Panthers are doing better than in past seasons, particularly at the plate. But it is the little things right now that appear to be holding the Panthers back as much as anything.
With a full season of experience, the Somerset baseball team is playing with more polish and poise. And it’s starting to show in the Spartans’ results. The Spartans earned their third win of the Middle Border Conference season last Tuesday, defeating Osceola 4-3 in eight innings. This is the Spartans’ second win of the season over their MBC rival from the north.
Last week started with one of the most prolific innings in Somerset softball history, then ended with the Spartans facing a stretch of games against top teams from the Middle Border Conference. The week opened with the Spartans hosting St. Croix Central last Monday. The Spartans didn’t start the game on fire, but that’s how they finished. The Spartans broke the game open with 18 runs in the sixth inning to defeat Central, 25-6. “It was probably one of the crazier rallies we’ve ever had,” said Somerset coach Cory Lindenberg.
The girls on the Somerset soccer team are fast learners. A week after being burned by four goals in the second half by Baldwin- Woodville, the Spartans got another shot to play the Blackhawks last Thursday. This time, the Spartans were ready for the speed of the Blackhawks’ best offensive player. And by shutting her off, the Spartans were able to shut down the Blackhawks in a 2-0 Somerset victory. The win is the seventh of the season and it is also the seventh shutout the Spartans have recorded. This was just Baldwin- Woodville’s second loss of the year.
The season opener for the New Richmond Millers started well, but didn’t finish that way. The Millers led 3-0 midway through the fourth inning, but things went south from there as they lost at Bay City on Sunday, May 14, 9-3. The first Millers home games of the season will be played this weekend. The Millers will host Spring Valley at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 20 in a St. Croix Valley Baseball League game. The Millers will play a non-league game on Sunday, May 21 at 1 p.m. when they host Shoreview.
Three teams were crowned as Middle Border Conference champions on Tuesday, despite weather that was severely uncooperative. St. Croix Central and Osceola won MBC track championships, while Somerset narrowly won the MBC boys golf title. The weather conditions forced suspension of the MBC boys tennis championships. Central overpowered the competition to win the MBC girls track title. Central's girls rolled up 147 points in winning the title. Osceola finished second with 117.5 points and New Richmond was third with 102 points.
New Richmond High School volleyball standout Hanna Weinzierl will continue her volleyball career at Augsburg University. A letter of intent ceremony was held during the high school lunch period last Thursday for Weinzierl.
Somerset High School advanced a large number of students to the 2017 Wisconsin High School State Forensics Association state competition on April 21-22 in Madison. Somerset had a number of students earn perfect scores of 25 at the state contest, which earned their Critic's Choice Awards. Included in that group are Nikki Quaderer, Cade Colbeth, Blake Merritt, Salem Rondeau, Connor Darrow, Kayla Huerta and Jaden Skwarek Schwartz.