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 is quickly figuring out its identity. The Panthers played their first game of the 2012 season on Monday, losing on their home field against Eau Claire Immanuel, 9-1. This game was tight until Immanuel broke free with six runs in the sixth inning. New Central coach Jason Koele is finding out what he has to build around and how he has to mold the team to fit its strengths. One of the strengths for the team is having two veteran pitchers to build around.
Somerset High School has been approved as a host site for ACT testing. Somerset's first official ACT testing will be held on June 9. There will be 160 spots available in Somerset for students wanting to take the ACT test. Trish Sheridan, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment for the school district, said there were several reasons why Somerset sought the opportunity to be an ACT test location. Improving student achievement was one of the key initiatives in the school district's new strategic plan, which includes improvement in the ACT scores.
Project Lead The Way continues to grow in the Somerset schools. Next year a fourth PLTW class will be offered at Somerset High School. The course, biotechnical engineering, will be the most advanced of the PLTW offerings, with recommended prerequisite classes of algebra 2, biology and chemistry. Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Trish Sheridan said there has been strong interest in the PLTW classes among high school students.
The football world is abuzz because the Wisconsin Badgers were able to reel in quarterback Danny O'Brien, who is currently at the University of Maryland. If you want to know about O'Brien, there isn't a better source than 1990 St. Croix Central graduate Todd Willert. Willert was O'Brien's coach at East Forsyth High School in Kernersville, N.C. Willert has been the head coach at East Forsyth since 2004. Willert helped O'Brien to make the decision to join the Badgers.
The local track season started with meets Thursday and Saturday and the New Richmond and Somerset teams quickly showed they have plenty of promise. The New Richmond girls already have a prized victory in their possession. The Tigers topped 10 other teams to win the large school division of the Northern Badger Invitational at UW-Stout on Saturday. Here are rundowns on each of the local teams for their first week of competition. Tiger girls Tiger coach Judy Weiss did not put together a lineup aiming to win Saturday's meet.
Jason Koele has produced excellent results in his first year as the St. Croix Central High School band instructor. He is hoping to deliver the same type of success as Central's new varsity baseball coach. Koele (pronounced coo-lee) was hired after Mike Fern announced his retirement from the position due to health concerns. Fern had coached the Panthers the past 13 seasons. Koele, 24, is a Prescott native. He was an all-Middle Border Conference baseball player at Prescott. He attended Augsburg University.
Wow, what a winter. Conference champions were plentiful, in team and individual sports. There were so many noteworthy performances, with the senior class stepping up to put in a memorable season. To honor some of the top performances of the winter, we present the season's Inhuman Awards. Boys Hockey Most Valuable Offense: Nate Jones, New Richmond. Honorable Mention: Austin Zywiec, New Richmond; Zach Dybedahl, Somerset, Robbie Flom, Somerset. Jones wore a 9 on the back of his Tiger sweater, but it just as easily could have been a target in the center of his back.
A spectacular performance in the sectional semifinals last Thursday carried the Somerset boys basketball team within one game of the WIAA Division 3 state tournament. In Saturday's sectional championship game, the Spartans ran up against an opponent with a suffocating zone defense, Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau. The Spartans were never able to find ways to penetrate the GET defense, losing 52-29 in the sectional title game at River Falls. GET will battle Marshall at 10:45 a.m.
The uplifting New Richmond girls basketball season came to a rocky end on Tuesday. The Tigers were upended in the opening round of the WIAA Division 2 regional playoffs, losing in overtime to Menomonie 48-45. New Richmond had a double-digit lead twice in the game, but the Tiger offense stalled late in the game. Menomonie outscored the Tigers 10-3 in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime. St. Croix Central's girls also saw their season come to an end on Tuesday.
The New Richmond boys have become the first Middle Border Conference team to win conference boys basketball championships in five straight seasons. The Tigers completed that feat on Thursday with a 50-29 win over Osceola. New Richmond finishes tied with Baldwin-Woodville for the 2011-12 MBC championship. Both teams finish with 11-3 records. B-W locked up its share of the title with a 46-36 win over Ellsworth on Thursday. New Richmond went relatively unchallenged by the young Osceola team on Thursday.