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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The string of Middle Border Conference championships is alive and well for both New Richmond cross country teams. But the Tigers want more. They want to find a way to be more competitive when they move up to face the incredible running talent that awaits them every year in the WIAA Division 1 sectional cross country meet. New Richmond’s girls have won seven straight MBC championships and the Tiger boys have won the past two MBC titles. Both teams have the talent to keep those streaks alive when the 2014 MBC championships are run at Amery on Oct. 16.
The 2013 season was a time for transition for the Somerset volleyball team. The Spartans were young and inexperienced in a volleyball sense. With most of the players returning from last year’s team, the Spartans are a much more refined team than a year ago, but with areas of growth still needed within the team. The team roster begins with seniors Becca Olin, Rachel Plourde, Racheal Russell and Kendrah Wink.
One of the biggest surprises in the 2013 Middle Border Conference fall season, in any sport, was the Somerset boys cross country team. With the bare minimum number of runners to compete, the Spartans still managed to take second place in the MBC meet last October. The Spartans are back, again with five runners, and they are looking to be even more of a factor in this year’s conference meet. The Spartan girls are looking to make more of an impact this season, after finishing eighth in the MBC meet last fall.
This year, the focus isn’t as much on the final goal. It’s on being mentally prepared to take advantage of the possibilities that could be available for the St. Croix Central cross country team at the end of the season. The Panthers had hopes of winning the Dunn-St. Croix Conference title last year and winning the conference meet was the overriding theme in their season.
“A fresh start in ‘14.” If the St. Croix Central volleyball team is in need of a slogan, that one is more than fitting. With a new coach in Mindy Widiker, the Panthers are starting fresh and refreshed. The chance to reboot after a turmoil-filled 2013 season was just what the Panthers needed.
The excitement surrounding New Richmond's opening season football victory came crashing to the ground Friday at the New Richmond Middle School field. Rice Lake manhandled the Tigers in every facet of Friday's game, with the Warriors posting a 45-10 win over New Richmond. The game started late because of a lightning delay. Another delay pushed the game back another 85 minutes, with play resuming at 9:55 p.m. The game was completed just after 11 p.m. The Tigers got the opening score of the game on a 37-yard field goal by Cam Hausman.
Wow. New Richmond football fans were treated to one of the most dominating efforts by a Tiger team in several years in Friday’s season opener against the River Falls Wildcats. River Falls returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. It was one of few highlights for the Wildcats, as New Richmond outperformed its opponent on offense and defense in a 38-17 Tiger non-conference victory. The Tigers and Wildcats have played early-season non-conference games against each other for more than a decade.
Somerset and Bloomer have two of the longest current streaks in western Wisconsin for qualifying for the WIAA playoffs. Both of those streaks are a dozen years or more. And one of the reasons is the challenging non-conference games they schedule to get them ready for the regular season. The Spartans and Blackhawks met again on Friday and it was another game in the tradition of hard-fought battles between these two heavyweight programs.
It’s not the Hatfields and McCoys, but the football rivalry between St. Croix Central and Baldwin-Woodville is never going to be on friendly terms either. The battle for the heart of St. Croix County is every bit the intense, spirited game that you’d expect from rival schools three miles apart. And the games are rarely close, because neither team wants to let up when it has the advantage. This year it was St. Croix Central’s turn to inflict some pain, bashing the Blackhawks 62-14. This was the Panthers’ opportunity to unveil their new option offense.
Wins over two Division 1 programs were the product of a strong performance by the New Richmond girls tennis team at last Friday’s Altoona Invitational. The Tigers opened the tournament by putting on a powerful showing against Chippewa Falls, winning 6-1. In the semifinals, the Tigers were defeated by Altoona 5-2. The team bounced back with another fine effort in the third place match, posting a 5-2 victory against Whitewater. Opening with a win in the tournament was beneficial for the Tigers because it meant they faced strong competition in the final two rounds of the tournament.