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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St. Croix Central coach Bill Emery was worried that a week of hard workouts leading into last Thursday's New Richmond Invitational would leave the Panthers with little energy for the race. The Panthers may not have been at their most crisp, but there was enough energy left for the Panther boys to earn the meet championship. They narrowly edged out Ellsworth and Amery.
The best news in a difficult week for the Somerset cross country teams was the third place finish by the Spartan girls at last Thursday's New Richmond Invitational. The Spartan girls finished behind New Richmond and Rice Lake. They did manage to finish just ahead of Osceola, Amery, Prescott and Ellsworth. Those are some of the main Middle Border Conference opponents the Spartans are measuring themselves against every meet. Somerset coach Diane Belter said illness and other factors led to a "tough week" for both Spartan teams.
Bit by bit, the New Richmond girls golf team continues to extend its lead in the Middle Border Conference standings. The Tigers moved another step ahead of second place Osceola last Tuesday with a win at The Links in New Richmond. The Tigers finished the round with a score of 180, 19 strokes ahead of Osceola. Amery was third with a score of 212. The 180 score was made without a spectacular round from the Tigers. The beacons for the Tigers in this match were junior Hannah Wheeler and sophomore Leah Bauer. Wheeler led the Tigers by shooting a 43.
The New Richmond boys soccer team found out how good soccer around the Twin Cities area is on Monday. The Tigers played at Hastings on Monday, the first time the two teams had met. Hastings hadn't won a game this season, but the competition level Hastings faces is nothing like the Tigers see. Hastings was able to score a 2-1 win over the Tigers in Monday's game. Hastings plays in the Suburban East Conference against Twin Cities schools like Stillwater, Woodbury, Cretin-Derham Hall, Edina and Wayzata.
The final pre-season match brought the first win of the season for the New Richmond volleyball team. The Tigers are hoping they can use that win as a springboard for their Middle Border Conference schedule, which begins this Thursday. The Tigers will play at home on Thursday against Durand. This will be the first varsity sports event to be played in the new New Richmond High School gym. The first win of the season for the Tigers came against St. Paul Harding, with the Tigers winning 25-20, 25-14. Earlier in the tournament at Coon Rapids, Minn.
The control of the Middle Border Conference tennis crown rests firmly within the grasp of the New Richmond girls team. The Tigers swept three MBC matches over the past week, leaving them alone with the only unbeaten record in conference dual matches. On Monday the Tigers won a 7-0 match at Mondovi, making up a previous rainout. Last Thursday the Tigers withstood a good challenge on the doubles side to beat Osceola 7-0. Last Tuesday the Tigers rolled past Ellsworth 7-0. The biggest challenges of the week came in Thursday's match against Osceola.
They might be considered a young team in terms of varsity experience, but by getting out to an 8-1 start this season, Somerset's volleyball girls are showing plenty of potential. The only loss thus far for the Spartans came on Saturday when they lost to Hudson in the championship match in Hudson's eight-team invitational meet. This year's Spartan schedule was back-loaded with matches so the team could concentrate on practices early in the season. That time has been used well.
Five turnovers and the inability to stop the Rice Lake quarterback on the option squashed any hopes the New Richmond football team had of a 2-0 start to the 2010 season. Rice Lake quarterback Kody Kovinska scored with 4:07 left in the game to give the Warriors a 28-21 win over the Tigers. With the two teams caught in a subplot caused by Rice Lake's request to get out of the Big Rivers Conference for the 2011-12 season, this game seemed to have an extra edginess to it. The Tigers moved the ball successfully early in the game, but the team's offensive production dropped with each quarter.
One of the best soccer games in the area this season was played in Osceola last Thursday, when the New Richmond boys took on the defending Middle Border Conference champion Chieftains. The game was packed with action and intense to the end, which came in overtime. Unfortunately, lightning moved in, causing the game to be called as a 3-3 tie in the overtime. Three times during the game the Tigers had to come back after Osceola scored a goal. Osceola scored first, with Robert Seiberlich scoring on a penalty kick. Seiberlich is one of the leading scorers in the state this season.
Success at the start of the season is nice, but what matters to the St. Croix Central cross country team is where the Panthers are at the end of the season. Central's boys were champions in their home invitational last Thursday and the Panther girls placed fifth among the seven teams in the meet. The Panther boys put a stranglehold on the team title by having the first three finishers in the meet. Senior Brett Johnson and junior Stephen Brunshidle continued to be the top two Panther runners.