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 sizeable lead the New Richmond boys golf team built up in the first half of the Middle Border Conference golf season has dwindled down to the slimmest of margins. The Tigers went into this Tuesday's MBC tournament with a one-stroke lead. Osceola has been charging hard to catch the Tigers. The pressure will be on the Tigers at the conference meet, because Osceola will be playing on its home course, Krooked Kreek Golf Course. The Tigers didn't play badly in last Friday's MBC match at Amery, but their fourth place finish put them in a major bind. Osceola won the match by shooting 164.
The string of one-goal Middle Border Conference games ended for the New Richmond girls soccer team last week. The Tigers snapped the string with their biggest offensive night of the season, rolling past Baldwin-Woodville 5-0 on the Tigers' home field last Tuesday. Unfortunately, the Tigers suffered their first loss that wasn't a one-goal margin two days later. The Tigers suffered their first multi-goal MBC loss of the season on Thursday when they went to Superior and suffered a 3-1 defeat. Last week's games left the Tigers directly in the middle of the MBC standings.
New Richmond and Osceola are two programs that have risen from the bottom of the Middle Border Conference softball ranks to be upper tier teams this season. It was fitting that those teams clashed in the final round of MBC play Monday night. New Richmond had a big fourth inning, scoring six runs. But Osceola had the final word, scoring seven times in the sixth inning to beat the Tigers 8-7. New Richmond finishes the 2012 MBC season with a 9-5 record, a major advancement from last season when the Tigers finished seventh in the conference. The Tigers struck first in Monday's game.
If the Colfax Invitational is any indication, the Somerset track teams were due for an outstanding day at this Tuesday's Middle Border Conference track meet. Both Spartan teams put together outstanding performances in winning their halves of last Tuesday's meet in Colfax. Somerset got good competition from Menomonie in both halves of the meet. The Spartan girls scored 113 points, three more than the Mustangs. The Spartan boys piled up 152 points, with Menomonie second at 139.
With the WIAA baseball seeding meetings scheduled for this Wednesday, the Somerset baseball team tried to solidify its claim as the top team in the Division 2 regional bracket over the weekend. Somerset coach Brandon Kadlec and Unity coach Matt Humpal both said they would stake a claim for the top seed in the regional bracket if they won their game in Unity's tournament on Saturday. Kadlec can follow through on that claim after the Spartans scored an 11-6 win on Saturday. That game capped a busy week for the Spartans, who played five games in a five-day span.
Text messaging and distracted driving are becoming such a major issue that they have surpassed drunken driving as the top cause of car accidents involving teenage drivers. So when Operation Prom 2012 was planned at Somerset High School, organizers veered away from the traditional focus of drunk driving.
The New Richmond boys are the defending MBC track champions, but it looks like the Tiger girls are in the best position to make a run at a 2012 Middle Border Conference track title. The 2012 MBC meet will be held next Tuesday at Osceola High School, beginning at 4 p.m. New Richmond's girls established themselves as a favorite for the MBC title by winning their first New Richmond Relays title in several years last Friday. The Tigers earned 94 points to top the 13-team field.
New Richmond's girls soccer team knocked off one of its main rivals in the Middle Border Conference last week and the Tigers nearly knocked off the MBC leader. The Tigers scored a 1-0 win over long-time MBC rival Osceola on Tuesday. The Tigers carried the momentum from that win into the opening minutes of Thursday's game with MBC leader Hayward. The Tigers scored twice in the first 15 minutes of the game against the Hurricanes.
The goals for the Somerset track teams are slightly different, but both squads plan to be among the contenders for the 2012 Middle Border Conference championships. The 2012 MBC track meet will be held at Osceola next Tuesday. The Spartan boys have been aiming at the conference meet all season and their expectations have not changed. "If we take care of ourselves, we expect to contend," said Somerset boys coach Mike Holmquist.
The Middle Border Conference boys golf contenders have been upping the pressure, but the New Richmond boys have been matching the improvements made by the other MBC teams. The Tigers maintained a six-point lead in the MBC standings after taking second place in one match and second in another match played last week. In last Tuesday's MBC round played at Bristol Ridge Golf Club in Somerset, the Tigers were defeated for the first time in the conference season.