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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Five of the 10 players in the New Richmond lineup had never played in a varsity match before the Tigers took to the courts in Menomonie last Thursday for the 2011 season opener. That lack of experience didn't bother the Tigers. They showed poise and promise in winning the non-conference match 5-2. Playing in their first official varsity matches were Mike Stoffel, Pat Holland, Nick Bradish, Isaiah Hobbs and Joe Deppe. While the Tigers may be a bit inexperienced, coach Mike Montello is upbeat about the team's prospects this season.
The schedule worked out that the New Richmond girls soccer team faced one of its most important games of the season in the 2011 opener last Thursday. The Tigers hosted Amery, one of their main rivals and one of the top teams in the Middle Border Conference, in their first game last Thursday. The Tigers came away with the win, in their first game under new coach Steve Tesar, beating Amery 1-0. This is the third time since New Richmond became a varsity program that the Tigers were able to beat Amery. The only goal of the game was scored by New Richmond's Amanda Ramsey.
In terms of varsity experience, the St. Croix Central baseball team may be one of the youngest squads around this spring. In their first three games of the season, the Panthers showed they are quick learners. In Central's season opener last Thursday, the Panthers looked overmatched in a 10-4 loss to Elk Mound. The following night the Panthers played at Osceola. There was distinct improvement as the Panthers lost to the Chieftains, 4-3. On Monday the Panthers took the field against Boyceville, facing Ryan Bloom, considered by many as the top returning pitcher in the Dunn-St.
It wasn't the usual cast of characters, but the Somerset baseball team still managed to win its Middle Border Conference opener last Thursday. The Spartans beat Osceola 10-9 in an offense-heavy season opener Thursday. The Spartans didn't have seniors Nick Dvorak, Jared Dettmann or Sean Conrad available for games last week, but other players stepped up. Dvorak is out following surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder.
Maybe Hannah Wheeler should wish upon a star. It might help to make her dream come true. Her dream is to skate with Disney on Ice. The New Richmond High School junior has been figure skating since she was 5 years old. She has skated competitively at the state and Midwest regional level. Now she is concentrating on getting her skills ready for the audition she hopes to someday get with Disney. Last June, Wheeler passed her senior free skate, which makes her eligible to be considered for Disney's shows. She received a gold medallion for passing her free skate. "It was like a graduation.
The final indoor track meet of the 2011 season was a meet filled with opportunities. After the New Richmond and Somerset teams competed in massive invitational meets, last Thursday's meet at the UW-River Falls indoor facility was a chance to see what the less experienced track athletes could do. The local teams were joined by Osceola, Amery and St. Croix Falls in the meet. The coaches on every team seemed to have the same idea. The events were packed with younger athletes, many of them getting their first chance to compete in a meet.
Steph LeMire of Somerset and Audrey DeKock and Walter DeKock of New Richmond swam for the St. Croix Swim Club in the Minnesota Senior State Championships on March 17-20 in Rochester. The St. Croix Swim Club is based out of Stillwater. The team is coached by former Olympic swimmer Olga Splichalova Espinosa. LeMire, 15, competed in the 15-16 age group. She won five state championships. That includes setting a new Minnesota state record of 58.74 seconds in the 100-yard individual medley.
The respect shown for the New Richmond boys hockey team was reflected in the 2011 All-Middle Border Conference team balloting. Eight Tigers received all-conference honors, including six of 12 first All-MBC first team honors. The Tigers went undefeated through the MBC this season, advancing to the WIAA State Hockey Tournament. Tigers named to the All-MBC first team were defensemen Zach Kier and Tyler Montgomery, forwards Josh Leavens, Nate Jones and Parker Olson and goaltender Kyle Frey. The Tigers had exceptional balance this season.
There is seemingly a endless stream of new computer software arriving for everyone's use, if they can find time to learn all the applications. Somerset High School is one of the few schools in the state that has a course offered that specifically helps students learn cutting edge computer technology. The course, Information and Technology Literacy Exploration, is taught by high school media specialist Nancy Dressel. When Dressel shifted to the high school, her predecessor had taught a media aids course to help students use the library.
Residents of the Somerset School District will be surveyed this summer to get their opinions on what directions the school district should head in the future. The company "School Perceptions" has been hired by the school district to perform the survey. School district Administrator Randy Rosburg said the Board of Education should have a first draft of the survey within two weeks. School Perceptions has done surveys in many districts around the state, including Prescott and Glenwood City. They were chosen because they have averaged a 30 percent response in their surveys.