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 first five games for the Somerset girls soccer team might have looked like a train wreck, but the Spartans were searching for a rotation that would lead to sustained over the rest of the season. The Spartans think things fell into place in last Thursday's 1-1 tie against New Richmond. The Spartans were outscored 31-3 in the first five games, but the young team had run up against some substantial opponents. The team's defense showed some flaws in the first games, so Coach Erin Wilson decided to completely retool the team's defense for last week's games.
The first Middle Border Conference boys golf match of the 2012 season showed that New Richmond and Somerset will be contenders for this season's conference championship. New Richmond won the team title in last Thursday's MBC opener, held at Krooked Kreek Golf Club in Osceola. Osceola placed second in the match, with Somerset finishing third among the eight MBC teams. Seniors from New Richmond and Somerset shared the medalist honors in the opening round. New Richmond's Kyle Montgomery and Somerset's Jake Green shared the top honors, each shooting a 39.
The health situation for the Somerset baseball team is so bad, the Spartans brought up a junior varsity player so they'd have one substitute available for last Tuesday's game against Prescott. And as the Spartans' luck has gone this season, the JV player sprained his ankle, leaving the Spartans to play with nine players against Prescott. The Spartans kept the game competitive, but lost to the undefeated Cardinals 7-1. Somerset was able to earn a non-conference win on Thursday, traveling to Barron to tackle the Bears, 4-2.
A little confidence has gone a long way for the St. Croix Central baseball team. The Panthers started the season with a new coach and a shortage of varsity experience, so nobody was sure how long it would take them to get up to speed. It took four games. After the four opening losses, the Panthers have now reeled off three straight wins. That streak started last Thursday when the Panthers defeated Osceola 5-3. On Friday the Panthers and Spring Valley waged an offensive showdown, but the Panthers prevailed 12-11.
How many athletes get the chance to compete in the Olympics? Alpine skier Meghan Erickson is working toward that dream. Erickson is hoping to be part of the United States team that skis in the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia. The Paralympics are held at the site of the Olympics, two weeks after the completion of the Olympics. Erickson, a sophomore at Somerset High School, has been competing nationally in alpine skiing since she was 10 years old. Now 16, Erickson just completed her 2011-12 season by skiing in the U.S. Adaptive Alpine Speed Nationals as a member of the U.S.
When the New Richmond baseball team graduated its entire starting lineup at the end of last season, it was taken for granted that there'd be some growing pains for the 2012 Tigers. There's only a smattering of varsity experience among this season's team and it showed as the Tigers were limited to three hits and one run in their first two games. In the Tigers' season opener last Thursday, they were limited to one hit in a 4-1 loss to Baldwin-Woodville.
If playing competitively for much of the game against the defending WIAA state runner-up is a positive sign, the 2012 season opener for the New Richmond girls softball team was a step in the right direction. After three innings, the Tigers trailed Baldwin-Woodville 2-0. The Blackhawks scored three runs in the fourth inning and five more in the fifth inning to beat the Tigers 10-0 on the 10-run rule. The Tigers fielded a young team in the opener, with two seniors and one junior in the starting lineup.
The golfers should have known it was coming. After one of the mildest springs on record, the first golf meet of the 2012 spring brought horrific conditions that challenged the heartiest souls at the Hudson Invitational on Monday. New Richmond, Somerset and St. Croix Central played in the traditional season opener at Troy Burne Golf Club. This was the first year that the invitational was divided into two divisions. New Richmond placed eighth among the 12 teams in the large school division. This is one of the least experienced varsity lineups New Richmond has fielded in many years.
The timing of spring break in New Richmond was not helpful for the Tiger girls soccer team. With several of their leading scorers out of town for spring break, the Tigers have struggled in the offensive half of the field. After being shutout in their first four games of the season, the Tigers got their first goal last Thursday in a 1-1 tie against Baldwin-Woodville. The tie leaves the Tigers with a 0-2-1 record in Middle Border Conference games. Two days before the tie, the Tigers put up a spirited battle against defending MBC champion Hayward, but lost 1-0.
The lack of varsity experience on the 2012 New Richmond boys tennis team showed immediately and quite clearly in the Tigers' opening weekend of matches. The Tigers opened their season with a home match against Menomonie last Thursday. The Tigers won the top three flights of singles, where they had experienced players returning, but couldn't win any other flights in a 4-3 loss to the Mustangs. On Saturday the Tigers played in a tournament at Eau Claire Memorial. In most years the competition in this tournament is pretty steep for the Tigers.