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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Get the buses ready, all three local track teams are taking large groups of athletes to the WIAA track sectional meets on Thursday. New Richmond will be competing in the Division 1 sectional meet in Rice Lake on Thursday, while Somerset and St. Croix Central make the trek to the center of the state to take part in the Division 2 sectional meet in Medford. New Richmond The Tigers performed quite well in front of their home crowd as the New Richmond track program hosted its first WIAA tournament at the new high school facility on Monday.
Facing opponents from the Big Rivers Conference is still a major measuring stick for New Richmond teams, so the 11-1 win by the Tiger softball team over River Falls last Thursday was a proud day. The Tigers flashed some impressive hitting against the Wildcats, slashing out 15 hits in the five-inning game. Leading the attack was senior Kelsey Gilkison, who produced three hits, including a triple. Senior Paige Charland reached base four times, on two hits and two walks.
A walk-off homer for the first time in more than a decade was part of a wild, improbable sweep of St. Croix Valley League games by the New Richmond Millers this weekend. On Saturday night the Millers were down to the final strike of the ninth inning when Dan Leavens launched a walk-off two-run homer to give the Millers a 2-0 win over the Bay City Bombers at Citizens Field. The Millers' magic act continued on Sunday when they rallied from a 4-1 deficit to stun the Prescott Pirates, 5-4. These wins raise the Millers' SCVL record to 3-0.
An upturn in offensive production has the New Richmond girls soccer team moving up the Middle Border Conference standings. The Tigers reached the .500 level (6-6-2) in the MBC with wins over Somerset and Amery last week. The Tigers are 4-2 in MBC games since May 1. Making offensive progress has been an on-going goal for the Tigers and their work is beginning to bear results. According to Coach Steve Tesar, the goals are coming out of structured plays, as the girls learn to move the ball more quickly.
If you heard a huge sigh of relief floating on the winds from the north last Friday, it could have been the collective sigh from the Somerset softball team. The Spartans enjoyed their first win in a month on Friday when they earned a 7-3 victory at St. Croix Falls. The win came after the Spartans had not tasted victory in their previous 11 games. Friday's game was the beginning of the Spartans' drive toward the WIAA Division 2 playoffs, which begin this Thursday. The Spartans, now 4-12 after Friday's victory, earned the seventh seed in the regional tournament bracket.
A dramatic finish in front of a Parents' Day crowd helped make the first victory of the season even more special for the Somerset girls soccer team. The Spartans charged back from a 2-0 halftime deficit to defeat Barron 3-2 on Thursday. The Spartans honored their seniors and their parents before the game. Barron plays a style that relies on long boots of the ball in attempts to get breakaways. With the strong wind at their backs, the Bears were able to score twice in the first half. Once the Spartans got the wind at their backs, the game changed.
Getting their team leader back was the best possible thing for the St. Croix Central baseball team as the Panthers head into WIAA Division 2 playoff action this Friday. Senior Mike Nelson was given clearance on Monday to resume playing, a month after breaking his collarbone. Nelson made his return on Monday in the Panthers' 11-4 loss at Baldwin-Woodville. The Panthers haven't been the same since Nelson's injury. They hovered around the .500 mark through the first half of the season.
After its 0-4 start in Middle Border Conference baseball action this season, the Somerset baseball team was left for dead by many fans in the area. Once the Spartans got healthy, they went from sickly to sizzling. Since the 0-4 start, the Spartans went 8-2 in MBC games to climb all the way to third place in the 2012 final conference standings. The 8-6 record is the same as the Spartans had in 2011, when they advanced to the WIAA Division 2 sectional championship game. The Spartans finished their conference schedule last Thursday with a 10-0 win against Durand.
When the bats of the St. Croix Central softball team catch fire, there aren't many teams that can match the Panthers' production. Include Mondovi's softball team in that group. Mondovi pushed the Panthers for all they were worth on Monday and the Panthers answered, winning 12-11 in eight innings. Panther senior Shelby Thomley scored the game-winner. She led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a double to leftfield. Amanda Ruvelson laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Thomley to third base.
The visits from the Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches have become an annual event of mythic proportions for first-graders at the Somerset Elementary School. For one of the first grade sections, the visit led to guests that will be remembered even more fondly than the cockroaches, tarantulas and hermit crabs that are brought to the school each spring by the Bell Museum. First grade teacher Stacey Helders-Pevan contacted Kim Insley at KARE-11 TV in the Twin Cities a year ago to see if the Bell Museum visit would be worthy of coverage in the "What's Cool In Your School?" segment of the KARE-11 Sun