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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With the WIAA shifting to four divisions for boys soccer this year, a whole new window of opportunity has opened up for the New Richmond boys soccer team.
One of the quickest goals to start a game in Somerset soccer history started the Spartans on their way to a 7-0 homefield win over Osceola on Monday. Somerset seniors Gavin Meader and Jon Bucklew, one of the top scoring tandems in the state, produced the Spartans' first goal 22 seconds into Monday's game. That was just the start of their offensive fireworks, Meader and Bucklew each scored three goals in the game. Bucklew also assisted on the four goals he didn't score.
With the considerable amount of inexperience on the Somerset cross country teams, there is plenty to be learned by the Spartan runners. With the large majority of the team being in their first or second season of high school running, the Spartans are still finding their way in terms of their running skills. Second year Spartan coach Julie Mocadlo said she is seeing progress from the team, such as the effort they showed in last Thursday's New Richmond Invitational. The Spartan boys ranked sixth among the 13 teams in Thursday's meet, while the Spartan girls ranked 13th.
They may be learning on the job, but the Somerset volleyball players are also beginning to see success. The Spartans won a dual match at St. Croix Central on Thursday. They followed that by winning one of four matches in the Hudson Invitiatonal on Saturday. The dual meet at Central was a taut battle. The Spartans won all three games but all three went right down to the wire, with the Spartans winning 25-21, 25-21, 25-23.
The St. Croix Central volleyball team has shown glimpses of being the team it wants to be. According to the Panther coaches, the next step is putting together strong showing in all aspects of the game and then doing it on a consistent basis. Last week the Panthers lost to two Middle Border Conference opponents. The difference in the Panthers' performances between the two matches shows the team's need for consistency.
Since the beginning of the Middle Border Conference season, it's been apparent that the New Richmond and Baldwin-Woodville girls tennis teams were on a collision course. That collision will take place this Thursday at the New Richmond High School tennis courts, with the victor taking control of the MBC leadership. Neither team has lost an MBC match thus far in 2013. The Tigers won their only match last week, a 7-0 sweep at Osceola.
Nearly 30 years after his death, Jack Raleigh's numerous contributions to the sport of boxing will be remembered with a supreme honor. Raleigh has been selected as part of the 2013 class of inductees into the Minnesota Boxing Hall of Fame.The induction banquet will be held on Friday, Sept. 27, at Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake, Minn. Raleigh was one of the most successful boxing promoters in Minnesota in the 1950s and 1960s, helping make St. Paul a national hub of boxing activity.
The Somerset football team improved to 4-0 for the 2013 season by winning on their homefield against Prescott, 30-0, on Friday night. This sets up an early showdown for the Middle Border Conference lead. Somerset will play at Ellsworth next Friday, with both teams undefeated this season. Prescott was effective in taking away Somerset's inside running game, but the Spartans were able to use several big plays to break the game open. A 69-yard dash by halfback Dallas Johnson was the Spartans' first score.
The fresh start the New Richmond football team was looking for was produced with a fierce finish on Friday. The Tigers rallied from a 12-0 halftime deficit to shock Baldwin-Woodville 22-18. This was the Middle Border Conference opener for both teams and it was the first win for the Tigers under new varsity coach Keith Badger. In the second half, the Tigers had to fight back to take the lead twice. Senior Connor O'Loughlin led the comebacks, producing several big plays that carried the Tigers.
Somerset football coach Bruce Larson scoffed at the notion that Friday's game between the Spartans and the Osceola Chieftains was for the Middle Border Conference title. The Spartans won the MBC opener 30-14 on Friday. The game was played at St. Croix Falls' historic field because construction of Osceola's new artificial turf field has not been completed.