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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Gaelin Elmore has earned an incredible reputation for his athletic prowess, starring in football and basketball at Somerset High School. What doesn’t always get recognized is Elmore’s success in the classroom. That changed this week, when Elmore received the state’s highest student-athlete honor, being named as one of 32 WIAA Scholar Athletes for the entire state.
The New Richmond baseball team was stinging after an absolutely brutal schedule for the opening week of the season. And in the compacted schedule for spring sports, there’s no time for the Tigers to lick their wounds. The Tigers played four non-conference games against top Big Rivers opponents last week. Their fifth game was against Ellsworth, the defending Middle Border Conference champion and the Division 2 state tournament entrant from this WIAA sectional each of the past two years. Somewhat predictably, the Tigers went 0-5 in those games.
Winning its first three games might not signal that it’s going to be a banner season for the Somerset baseball team, but it does indicate the Spartans could step up and be contenders. The Spartans opened their season last Tuesday, playing a pair of games at the Woodland baseball complex in Mauston. The Spartans won both of the games played on artificial turf, beating Unity 6-3 and Amery 6-0.
After winning one game last season, the New Richmond girls soccer team wanted to make sure it got out to a better start this season. The Tigers accomplished that by winning their season opener last Tuesday, on the artificial turf at Robert Vesperman Stadium in Osceola. The Tigers scored early in the game, before adding an insurance goal with nine minutes remaining to overcome the Chieftains 2-0. The Tigers followed that up with a strong performance in their home-field debut on Thursday.
The difference between the New Richmond and Baldwin-Woodville softball teams in Monday’s Middle Border Conference clash was the Blackhawks’ ability to connect for hits with runners in scoring position. Baldwin-Woodville was the WIAA Division 2 state runner-up in 2013 after winning the state title in 2012 and the Blackhawks still have one of the best pitchers in the state in senior flamethrower Abby Klopp. Klopp has already signed a National Letter of Intent to play college softball at Indiana State University.
New Richmond boys track coach Roger Reuvers was bordering on giddy with the results his team posted in the Osceola Indoor Invitational at the Knowles Center indoor facility at UW-River Falls last Thursday. The Tiger boys won the meet, scoring 134 points to edge Osceola, which scored 129 points in the eight team meet. Osceola won the girls side of the meet with 149 points, with New Richmond taking second with 111 points. New Richmond’s boys team is still in the growing process, and the growth shown in this meet was massive.
Two wins were the product of a promising start for the New Richmond boys tennis team in the Eau Claire Memorial Invitational on Friday and Saturday. As the competition got more challenging, the Tigers found themselves a bit overmatched, losing their final two matches to finish in fourth place in the event. The Tigers started the tournament by facing La Crosse Aquinas, with the Tigers recording a 5-2 victory. The Tigers swept their four singles matches against Aquinas, with Nick Bradish, Jack Hop, Casey Turnipseed and Russ Hop sweeping the singles bouts.
Improvement, not team success, has been the focus of the Somerset track teams in the early stages of the 2014 season. The Spartans got a little boost last Thursday when it was announced that their boys team had won the team championship in the nine-team St. Croix Central Invitational. Spartan coach Terry Otradovec said the win was a relished surprise, saying it was more proof of the progress the team is making. “It wasn’t just the top guys who contributed,” Otradovec said.
With just two starters returning from last season’s team, the Somerset softball team will be extremely young this season. But much like the Spartan girls basketball team, being young doesn’t preclude the Spartans from being successful. The Spartans started their season with a 9-2 homefield loss to Prescott last Thursday. Senior outfielder Megan Starry and junior pitcher Rachel Cloutier are the only returning starters for the Spartans this season. Starry will shift from leftfield to play in centerfield this season.
The best way to describe the St. Croix Central baseball team is to call the Panthers “a work in progress.” The Panthers opened their Dunn-St. Croix Conference season at home last Thursday against Spring Valley. The game was close early, but Spring Valley broke the game open with a nine-run fourth inning in beating the Panthers 15-2. The challenge for the Panthers is finding a combination of veteran and younger players who can form into a competitive starting lineup.