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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Success at the start of the season is nice, but what matters to the St. Croix Central cross country team is where the Panthers are at the end of the season. Central's boys were champions in their home invitational last Thursday and the Panther girls placed fifth among the seven teams in the meet. The Panther boys put a stranglehold on the team title by having the first three finishers in the meet. Senior Brett Johnson and junior Stephen Brunshidle continued to be the top two Panther runners.
The ability to convert in third and fourth down short-yardage situations was largely the difference in Friday's football game between St. Croix Central and Baldwin-Woodville. The Baldwin-Woodville boys were able to convert in those situations, keeping drives alive that would eventually end in touchdowns. Central wasn't able to convert in those clutch situations. That resulted in the Panthers taking a 31-0 defeat in the non-conference game in Hammond. Baldwin-Woodville is expected to be one of the leading contenders in the Middle Border Conference this season.
For all the success the Somerset football team has seen in recent seasons, the Spartans do not have a glittering record in the non-conference games at the start of those seasons. That is somewhat by design. The Spartans use the non-conference games as teaching tools to get ready for the Middle Border Conference season. The Spartans will show what they learned in the non-conference games when they open the 2010 MBC season this Friday with a home game against Osceola. That's not to say the Spartans wouldn't have loved to win last Friday's game at Bloomer, which they lost 20-19.
The search continues for the New Richmond volleyball team, but coach Bob Fisher is confident an answer is just around the corner. The Tigers lost all three of their dual matches in a quadrangular meet at Hudson last Tuesday. The 13 matches the Tigers played weren't a success in terms of wins and losses. But with the team lacking varsity experience so badly, the heavy dose of early matches helped get the Tigers up to speed for play at the varsity level. In the Hudson quad the Tigers lost to the host team, Durand and the Hudson junior varsity team.
After getting a taste of winning, the Somerset girls cross country team wants to get a steady diet of success. In their first standard meet of the season, Somerset's girls topped six other teams to win the championship in the St. Croix Central Invitational last Thursday. The Spartan boys also showed significant improvement in their sixth place finish. Somerset's girls put three runners in the top seven finishers in Thursday's meet. Senior Monica Emerson placed third and junior Tia Belter was fourth.
Young teams will have ups and downs, especially in a sport like volleyball where momentum ebbs and flows rapidly. The St. Croix Central volleyball team played two matches in a meet at Ellsworth last week. The impact of momentum showed clearly in the Panthers' play in the tournament. The Panthers opened the tournament by facing Clayton. The Panthers played listlessly in the 25-9, 25-17 loss to the Bears. Central coach Kerrie Been was not happy with the number of mistakes in the loss.
A complete game may be a baseball term, but it certainly fits the performance put in by the New Richmond football team in the Tigers' 2010 season opener last Friday. Especially for a first game of the season, the Tigers were sharp in all aspects of their game as they rolled to a 26-7 win at River Falls. Offensively the Tigers built up 399 yards between their success on the ground and through the air. The Tiger defense stuffed the Wildcat running game and River Falls had little success when it tried to pass. New Richmond's offense couldn't have gotten out to a better start.
For football fans who love offense, Friday's game in Somerset was a football smorgasbord. With more than 1,000 yards of offense amassed between the Spartans and Shoreland Lutheran, the offenses were clearly far ahead of the defenses in the opening game of the 2010 season. Somerset's offense was the more productive of the two in Friday's game, with the Spartans scoring a 46-26 victory. The Spartan offense had its way with the Pacers, a team from the Kenosha area, in the first half.
The New Richmond cross country team is jumping into the deep end of the pool in terms of competition to start the 2010 season. The Tigers started the season by running in the River Falls Extreme Meet last Thursday. That was more of a fun meet for the Tigers. The competition got much more serious when they took part in the Husky Invitational at Eau Claire North on Saturday. The Extreme Meet gets its name from the terrain covered in the meet. The runners must traverse through streams several times in the race and run over treacherous footing.
Somerset's girls jumped right in, which can be a wet and cold experience in the River Falls Extreme Cross Country Meet. The Spartan girls placed eighth among the 12 teams. The Spartan boys placed last among 15 teams in the meet. Somerset's girls had a large number of first-time entrants in a cross country meet. To have their first meet be the Extreme Meet, which includes several river crossings, can be a bit intimidating. "I was excited for the kids who've never raced before," said Somerset coach Diane Belter. "I'm glad to see they liked it.