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 New Richmond girls golf team is the sectional champion. The Tigers put together another strong team performance in winning the Division 1 sectional tournament at Stevens Point on Monday, earning the team's fourth-ever appearance in the state tournament field. The Tigers won the sectional title by shooting a team score of 350 at the challenging Stevens Point Golf Club. Tomah earned the second spot in the state tournament from this sectional by shooting a 359. It's been a streak of tournament championships for the Tigers since they finished the regular season.
The Middle Border Conference football championship will be decided this Friday. Somerset and Durand, both undefeated this season, will meet at Durand, with the winner locking up a share of the 2012 MBC championship. Somerset is seeking its sixth straight conference title. Somerset is coming off a 41-0 win over Baldwin-Woodville last Friday, while Durand needed a late surge to overcome Prescott, 21-7. Somerset has won all five of its MBC contests by at least 21 points, so the Spartan coaches aren't sure how the team will react to the challenge of facing an undefeated opponent.
A two-game win streak has kept the hopes of a WIAA playoff berth alive for the New Richmond football team. The Tigers need to win their final two regular season games to qualify for the 2012 playoffs. The first of those challenges arrives this Friday when the Tigers host Osceola in New Richmond's 2012 Homecoming game. Osceola has already qualified for the WIAA playoffs following its 14-0 win over Ellsworth last Friday. Osceola has been the surprise of the conference this season.
New Richmond will have two doubles teams competing in the Wausau East Division 1 girls tennis sectional tournament this Wednesday. The Tigers qualified for that honor during the WIAA Division 1 New Richmond Subsectional Tournament, played Monday at the New Richmond High School and Middle School courts. The New Richmond one doubles team of Kaycie Anderson and Mattie Kidder rolled to a 6-0, 6-0 win over Eau Claire North to advance to Wednesday's sectional. The three doubles team of Emma Meisner and Shannon Peper qualified for sectionals by outbattling River Falls and Hudson, with both matches
Barron's players laid on the field in shock when Somerset's Jon Bucklew scored. And that was just the game-tying goal. Bucklew scored with 37 seconds left in regulation, knotting the score of last Tuesday's game at 3-3. The Spartans saw the shock in the faces of the Barron players and they moved quickly to capitalize in the overtime period.
The goal is the WIAA state championships and the New Richmond girls golf team took the first step toward that goal by winning the WIAA Division 1 regional that they hosted at the New Richmond Golf Club last Wednesday. The Tigers won the regional title by shooting 344. The Tigers received a hearty challenge from River Falls, which finished 12 strokes off the Tigers' pace. New Richmond coach Neal Ziller said it was clear that River Falls had targeted the Tigers in the tournament, but that only helped the Tigers focus more on their task. There were a few bumps in the road for the Tigers.
Last week was filled with unplanned readjustments for the St. Croix Central volleyball team. The previous Friday, senior team captain Laura DeSmith decided to leave the team. As a three-year setter and one of the best defensive players in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference, DeSmith's departure left the Panthers with a major retooling in the middle of a busy season. With last week spent in transition, the Panthers lost their conference matches played against Plum City and Spring Valley. They lost to Plum City 25-21, 25-13, 25-13 on Tuesday.
Friday's 46-0 win by the Somerset football team locked up a spot in the WIAA playoffs for the Spartans, but there are several higher objectives remaining for the Spartans to accomplish this season. The Spartans will play at home again this Friday, with winless Baldwin-Woodville as the opponent. This will be the third straight game for the Spartans against a sub-.500 opponent. The Spartan coaches have been stressing improvement in these games, because the following Friday, Somerset and Durand clash in the game that will likely decide the 2012 Middle Border Conference championship.
The defense has been carrying the load for the New Richmond Tigers during the first half of the 2012 football season. On Friday the offense stepped up its production considerably and the Tigers were able to earn their first victory of the season. The win came at Ellsworth, 14-7, ruining the Panthers' Homecoming festivities. The Tiger defense was superb in Friday's game, limiting Ellsworth to 126 yards of offense. In comparison, the Tiger offense was able to generate 326 yards of offense. From the first drive of the game, the Tiger offense played with more confidence.
There was no question which team stood atop the Middle Border Conference when the 2012 MBC girls golf tournament was completed at the New Richmond Golf Club last Wednesday. A record-smashing performance by the New Richmond girls locked up the 2012 conference championship for the Tigers. New Richmond's girls finished with a team score of 328, shattering their 18-hole scoring record that had been set early this season at Pheasant Hills Golf Club.