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 baseball team wasn't expected to be at the center of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference race. Now that the Panthers are among the contenders, they are doing everything within their powers to stay there. The Panthers increased their D-SC win total to four last Thursday, crushing Pepin 13-2. With their 4-1 record the Panthers are tied for second place in the conference, one game behind Elk Mound. The formula of sharp defense and smart pitching continues to carry the Panthers.
Breanna Simon and Megan Cox, both of New Richmond, were part of the U19 girls hockey team that won the national championship in the highest level of amateur hockey. Simon and Cox are members of the Shattuck St. Mary's team that won the U19 USA Hockey Tier 1 national championships on April 10. Shattuck defeated Little Ceasar's of Detroit 4-2 in the national title game.
Sam Lofquist's family holds Minnesota Wild season tickets. There is now a chance they will get to see him play for the Wild. Lofquist has signed a pro hockey contract with the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League. The Aeros are the primary farm club for the Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League. Lofquist's contract is a 25-game amateur tryout contract (ATO). Lofquist made his debut with the Aeros on April 10, notching one assist.
Confidence was running high when the New Richmond baseball team went to Prescott last Friday. Perhaps too high. The Tigers went into the game unbeaten, but they didn't come out of the game that way. Sloppy defense and inattentive baserunning stung the Tigers in a 10-5 loss to the Cardinals. The result of that game left both of those teams tied with 2-1 records in the Middle Border Conference.
The first chance to compete in an outdoor track event for the New Richmond track teams came last Thursday in a triangular meet in Menomonie. This meet has become a tradition for the Tigers and that's not likely to change. The coaches love the opportunity it presents, to get all their athletes the chance to compete in a full slate of events. It was quite a productive meet for the Tigers in that sense, but it was just as productive in the final results. The Tigers won both halves of the meet, over Menomonie and Sparta.
The Somerset baseball squad stands alone at the top of the Middle Border Conference, after a week where the Spartans blistered the ball against two of their biggest MBC rivals. The Spartans started the week with an 11-1 romp at Prescott where the Spartans bashed out 18 hits. The Spartans ended the week with a 16-4 mashing of Ellsworth. With those wins the Spartans stand at 3-0, the only unbeaten team this early in conference play. Spartan coach Brandon Kadlec was quick to squelch any possibility of overconfidence. "It's a marathon, not a sprint," he said of the conference race.
The New Richmond softball team has been one big hit away from winning its last two Middle Border Conference games. On Monday, the Tigers got that hit. Taylor Singleton hit a bases-loaded triple that was part of a five-run fifth inning that carried the Tigers past Somerset 6-4. This was the Tigers' first win of the 2011 season. In the Tigers' previous two MBC games, they weren't far from winning. They lost to Durand 3-2 and to Prescott 9-6. Monday's game with Somerset seemed different for the Tigers. Somerset scored first (in the third inning), but the Tigers stayed cool.
The New Richmond girls soccer team was able to win one of its three games over the past week. With three goals in those three games, the Tigers are looking to find ways to be more productive offensively. The Tigers were able to win at Osceola last Tuesday, 2-0. They then made the long trip to Superior last Thursday, where they lost 1-0. The Tigers were home on Monday, where they lost to Hayward 2-1. Hayward is currently the only Middle Border Conference team without a loss in MBC action. In the win at Osceola, the Tiger offense didn't get rolling until late in the game.
The Middle Border Conference boys golf race looks like another contest to see if any team can catch the Osceola Chieftains. Osceola won the 2010 MBC championship by one team point over New Richmond and Somerset last year in one of the closest MBC golf races ever. Osceola comes back this season stronger than ever, while New Richmond and Somerset are doing their best to keep pace with the Chieftains. Osceola is paced by defending WIAA Division 2 individual champion Charlie Danielson.
The New Richmond boys tennis team went into last Tuesday's dual match with River Falls in a bit of a scrambled situation. Three of the Tigers attended the state FBLA convention on Tuesday and literally stepped from their car and onto the tennis courts for the match. Several more Tigers were playing in new roles.