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 St. Croix Central offense had been virtually unstoppable in leading the Panthers to wins in their first 11 games of the 2011 season. So it bordered on stunning to the Panthers when their offense was completely stymied by Somerset in Friday's WIAA Division 4 state quarterfinal game. Somerset shut out the Panthers 36-0. The Panthers end the season with an 11-1 record, but they fall short of their goal of a state championship, which would have been their first since the team's state title in 1988. Somerset took away Central's two main offensive weapons.
Cerebral Palsy can't slow down Carrie Kulibert. In fact, the Somerset High School sophomore isn't backing down one bit from the physical limitations that Cerebral Palsy presents. Cerebral Palsy is caused by injuries or abnormalities of the brain. Kulibert suffered a stroke hours after she was born. She spent the first six days of her life in neo-natal intensive care. At four months, she was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. The stroke left her with limited strength and muscle control on the right side of her body. Outwardly, Kulibert appears to be an average teenager.
Paige Charland of New Richmond and Hailey Rock of St. Croix Central are two of the top girls hockey players in the area. They have upped their skill levels by skating for the past two seasons on Team Wisconsin. This year they are both skating on the U-19 version of Team Wisconsin. They wrapped up their fall portion of Team Wisconsin play this weekend. The Team Wisconsin season will start again after the completion of the WIAA girls season. On Monday both girls began their high school winter seasons. Charland will be the only senior on the New Richmond girls varsity team this season.
The Middle Border Conference champion Somerset volleyball team had four girls play their way onto the 2011 All-MBC volleyball team. New Richmond had two girls who earned all-conference honors this season. Somerset's four honorees are all seniors. Ellie Vanasse and Bridget Kieckhoefer were selected for the All-MBC first team and Anna Marson and Laura Wells were placed on the All-MBC second team. Vanasse was also given a special honor.
Schools take great pride in the competitive factor in their athletics. So why not try to turn academics into a competition? Somerset High School's guidance counselors are trying to stir the competitive fires in the students. They have gone as far as holding a pep rally before the WKCE state tests to try to get the message across to the students about the importance of these tests. Guidance counselor Jeremy Kerg took the competition one step further. Test scores in every subject for every school district around the state are available through the Department of Public Instruction.
All season long, it seems that people have doubted whether the St. Croix Central football team is for real. Is 11-0 real enough for those second-guessers? The Panthers continued their undefeated 2011 season on Saturday, rolling past Durand, 30-22 in Level 2 of the WIAA Division 4 playoffs. The final score doesn't show how well Central played. Midway through the third quarter, Central held a 30-6 lead. Now the Panthers face their biggest test. They will face Middle Border Conference champion Somerset at 7 p.m.
If you think Spooner taking an 8-0 lead and possessing the ball most of the first quarter would unnerve the Somerset football coaching staff, you haven't watched the Spartans much over the past decade. Spooner might have controlled the action in the first few minutes, but Somerset dominated from there, rolling past the Rails 34-8 in Level 2 of the WIAA Division 4 playoffs at Spooner on Saturday. The win puts the Spartans back on their home turf for their Level 3 game this Friday against undefeated St. Croix Central. The game will be played at 7 p.m.
The bright futures for the New Richmond and Somerset boys soccer programs were reflected in the 2011 All-Middle Border Conference balloting. New Richmond, the MBC co-champion, had seven players earn all-conference honors. Only one of those seven players is a senior. Somerset had three players recognized as All-MBC quality. Two of those three all-conference choices are sophomores. New Richmond was represented by three players on the All-MBC first team.
The idea of beginning an athletic hall of fame at New Richmond High School has been percolating for years. Now something is being done to make that idea a reality. The first meeting of the New Richmond High School Athletic Hall of Fame committee was held last Wednesday.
Success is all in how you view things. St. Croix Central senior Stephen Brunshidle placed 87th in the 2011 WIAA Division 2 Boys Cross Country State Championships, held Saturday at The Ridges Golf Club in Wisconsin Rapids. St. Croix Central coach Bill Emery said Brunshidle wasn't happy with his performance at state. Brunshidle had hoped to crack the top 50 in his second chance at running in the WIAA state meet. He also ran at state as a freshman, when he placed 95th.