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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When the number of athletes out for cross country matches the number out for the football program, you know running has become a popular sport. That's the case at New Richmond High School. There are 56 athletes out for the NRHS cross country program this fall: 31 boys and 25 girls. What's the key to attracting so many kids into running? Tiger coach Beth Kelly said it involves taking the focus off the running. "Running isn't fun, but that's what we do," Kelly said. "So we try to make it fun. We do a lot of team building and leadership training.
Last season, the Somerset volleyball team produced its first championship since moving into the Middle Border Conference a decade ago. The Spartans graduated a large group of seniors from that team, including four all-conference players. Even with those losses, the Spartans do return several players who saw considerable varsity playing time last season. The roster begins with six athletic seniors who have a wide array of volleyball skills. In Sarah Northey, Natalie Broome and Sarah Krig, the Spartans put up one of the strongest front walls of blockers that will be seen in the conference.
There's a new look to the Somerset cross country program this fall. The Spartans have a new coach and there are a number of new members of the team, especially on the boys roster. There are 16 runners on the Somerset boys team this fall and only one-quarter of that group has run with the team in the past. The Spartan girls have nine members on their team. The new coach is Julie Mocadlo, who is in her second year as a physical education instructor in the school district. Mocadlo has an impressive running background.
Having to redo team goals two weeks into the season is not a bad problem to have. That's what happened for the St. Croix Central volleyball team. By the end of their second week, the Panthers had already achieved one of their main goals. The goal was to win more matches than they had in 2011. Last year the Panthers only won three matches. They already have won four matches and have been competitive with some strong programs from around the area. The Panthers have a new look in several respects this season. They are a young squad with one of the tallest lineups the team has ever had.
It seems like every year the St. Croix Central boys suffer major losses through graduation. And every year, the Panthers come back just as strong, if not stronger, than the year before. Central coach Bill Emery put the responsibility on the team leaders to get the work done over the summer so the team would be ready for the season. Seniors Andrew Skala, Brett Briggs and Nathan Bringgold took the duties to heart and the Panthers are again looking like a formidable team. Skala is the captain of the boys team and Emery said he has handled all the administrative duties for the team.
Anyone who thought St. Croix Central's two football wins over Baldwin-Woodville last season were flukes was proven wrong on Friday. The Panthers won their annual clash for bragging rights in the center of St. Croix County, beating the Blackhawks 30-12 in Hammond to start the 2012 season. By halftime on Friday the Panthers had built a 24-0 lead. The lead was 30-0 after three quarters, with the Blackhawks scoring twice in the fourth quarter. Central begins its Dunn-St. Croix Conference schedule this Friday, drawing one of their toughest D-SC opponents in the first round.
The first week of the season showed definite promise for the St. Croix Central volleyball team. The Panthers played in two quad meets, at Cumberland last Tuesday and in their home quad last Thursday, and the Panthers were able to win three of the six matches they played. At Cumberland, the Panthers defeated the host team 15-25, 25-15, 15-9 and Chetek-Weyerhaeuser 25-19, 25-19. They suffered their only loss of the night against Osceola, 25-16, 25-20. In their home quad, the Panthers began the night facing a powerful Hudson team. The Panthers put up a good fight but lost 25-21, 25-11.
The Middle Border Conference soccer race has a new contender. The Somerset boys climbed to 3-0 in the 2012 MBC standings by defeating Baldwin-Woodville and Cumberland last week. The Spartans topped Hayward the previous week. The win against Baldwin-Woodville came on the Spartans field last Tuesday, by a 6-0 score. The shutout was the second straight for the Spartans, the first two shutouts in team history. Sophomore Logan Wiederin scored the first goal of Tuesday's game.
One of the most prized treasures of the New Richmond girls tennis team is no longer in the Tigers' possession. After five straight years of winning the Middle Border Conference team tennis tournament trophy, the Tigers watched as Durand took home their prized trophy last fall. The Tigers are focused on returning that showpiece to the NRHS trophy case.
Look anywhere on the soccer field and the 2012 New Richmond boys soccer team returns a well-seasoned player. If the Tigers can find an answer to their need for a new goalkeeper, they could be in line to accomplish some big things this season. The Tigers were MBC co-champions last season, when goalie Jake Miller was the only senior in the starting lineup. This year's Tigers have an intriguing mix of seniors, juniors and sophomores making up their varsity roster. The Tigers play with the poise of an experienced team.