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 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.
Any doubts of whether the spread offense would work for the St.
After a difficult start to the season, the Somerset boys soccer squad started to rebuild its team from the defense out. The changes showed great promise. In the first game with the restructured lineup, the Spartans played their best game of the season, losing to Barron 2-0 last Thursday. Barron scored both its goals in the first 10 minutes of the game. After that the Spartans played progressively better. "We pretty much dominated the whole second half," said Somerset coach Todd Sauers. Injuries pretty much started the changes. The Spartans were without Jordan Greene for last week's game.
Opponents are starting to go into a defensive cocoon around their own nets to try stopping the high-scoring New Richmond boys soccer team. Last Thursday Amery was able to use its defensive shield to shut down the Tigers. Amery delivered the Tigers' first loss of the 2010 season, 2-0. The Tigers did bounce back on Saturday, scoring a 2-0 win over Superior. Tiger coach Pete Melloy said the Amery loss was a matter of which team took advantage of their scoring chances. "We had a ton of scoring opportunities, but didn't capitalize.
Success in nine-hole matches has helped the New Richmond girls golf team take an early lead in the 2010 Middle Border Conference standings. MBC teams have played three nine-hole matches and the Tigers have won all three. The most recent of those matches were played last Tuesday at Pheasant Hills Golf Club and last Thursday at Krooked Kreek Golf Club in Osceola. The match last Tuesday was huge for the Tigers because they shook off some recent struggles to notch their best score of the season.
The quality of the early season competition should make the St. Croix Central volleyball team better through the rest of the season. The Panthers played in a pair of triangular meets last week to start their season and they didn't back away from scheduling tough competition. In their season opener last Tuesday, the Panthers faced two of the top teams from the Lakeland Conference. They played at Cameron, facing the Comets and Grantsburg.
What can the New Richmond volleyball team do for an encore after winning the Middle Border Conference in 2009? The first thing would be to develop its own identity. With only three players returning from the conference championship team, this is a completely new team. It is also a vastly inexperienced team. How quickly the team can come together will define its level of success for the season. Returning to the team will be seniors Shelby Basel, Shayla Goss and Megan Peterson.
Bad news for the other cross country teams in the Middle Border Conference. The defending MBC girls champions from New Richmond return even stronger in 2010. The Tigers bring back all seven runners who were part of winning the conference championship in 2009, plus several other runners who were threats to make the varsity last season.
Competitiveness is perhaps the most valued asset that coaches like to see in their athletes. The Somerset girls cross country team is packed with runners who carry an intense competitive fire. Spartan coach Diane Belter is hoping that spirit can carry the team to big things this season. The Spartans already return two of the top six runners in the conference. Junior Tia Belter is the defending Middle Border Conference champion and senior Monica Emerson ranked sixth in the conference championship race last season.