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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Kat Keller completed one of the most successful girls track careers in New Richmond High School history by winning three medals in Division 1 sprint races at the 2012 WIAA State Track Championships at La Crosse on Saturday. Keller started the day by taking second in the 100 meter dash. She finished second to Elexis Fuller-Stewart of Milwaukee Bradley Tech, who won three individual championships on Saturday. Next up for Keller was the 400 meter dash.
The Somerset track teams went to the 2012 WIAA State Track and Field Championships intent on getting noticed. By earning medals in five state events, the Spartans achieved that goal at the 2012 meet held Friday and Saturday at UW-La Crosse. Somerset's girls earned medals in the 400 meter relay, the high jump and the 200 meter dash. The Spartan boys reached the awards podium in the 110 high hurdles and the 400 meter relay. Somerset's girls did so well at state that they earned 15 points, which placed them 16th among the 67 Division 2 schools with athletes competing at state.
The New Richmond baseball team pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the WIAA Division 1 playoffs last Tuesday when the Tigers upended Wisconsin Rapids. The Tigers put up a hearty effort in last Thursday's regional finals, but they weren't able to get a second upset. They lost to Chippewa Falls 5-1, ending New Richmond's 2012 season. The Tigers finished with a 9-12 record. The Tigers, seeded 12th, went to Wisconsin Rapids last Tuesday and shocked the fifth-seeded Red Raiders in 10 innings, 4-3.
The Somerset baseball team will be playing in the WIAA Division 2 sectional tournament for the third time in four years after winning the regional championship on Wednesday. The Spartans rallied from a 5-4 deficit in the sixth inning to defeat Osceola 8-5 in Wednesday's regional title game at Larry Forrest Park in Somerset. The previous day the Spartans fought off a persistent Amery team to win 2-1. Somerset was scheduled face Spooner in a rematch of last year's sectional championship game in the opening round of Tuesday's Division 2 sectional tournament.
The athletes and fans of the St. Croix Central track team held their breath for several seconds at the end of the Division 2 100 meter dash championship at the WIAA State Track Meet in La Crosse on Saturday. The runners in the 100 crossed the finish line in such a pack that nobody could tell from the stands where St. Croix Central senior Korey Jacobson finished.
Honor isn't necessarily earned in handling winning, but in growth from defeat. After losing their first 17 games, the Somerset Spartans can hold up their heads with honor about how they finished the season. The Spartans won two of their final five games and they finished the season with a respectable effort in the WIAA playoffs. The Spartans finished the regular season with a homefield 3-2 win over Osceola last Tuesday.
The Somerset baseball game finished one game short of the WIAA state tournament for the second straight year, losing to Ellsworth 5-1 in Tuesday's Division 2 sectional championship game in Barron. Ellsworth is one of two Middle Border Conference baseball teams that will be playing in the state tournament. Prescott advanced to state by winning the Division 3 sectional championship in Cumberland. Last year Somerset lost to Spooner in the sectional title game. The Spartans avenged that loss by beating Spooner 6-2 in Tuesday's morning's sectional semifinal game.
Performing in front of thousands of fans will be a fitting sendoff for the New Richmond track seniors who qualified for the 2012 WIAA State Track and Field Championships. The state track meet will be held Friday and Saturday at Memorial Stadium on the UW-La Crosse campus. New Richmond has six individual events and one relay competing in this week's state meet. Five of the six individual events will be run by seniors and one senior will be part of the girls 3200 meter relay team that competes in La Crosse. Leading the New Richmond contingent to state is senior sprinter Kat Keller.
The season-long success of the Somerset track teams carried through the WIAA Medford Division 2 Sectional Meet. Both Spartan teams will be well represented at the 2012 WIAA State Track Meet in La Crosse this Friday and Saturday. The Somerset boys are sending three individual and three relay events and the Spartan girls will be taking seven individual events and one relay team to this year's state meet. The success of the Spartan teams was reflected in the final scoring totals from Medford.
The seniors on the St. Croix Central track team have performed quite well this season. Now several of them will get to perform at the WIAA State Track and Field Championships this Friday and Saturday at UW-La Crosse. Senior boys Steve Brunshidle, D.J. Haas, Korey Jacobson and Lauden Wood and senior girls Jenna Ganther and Alyssa Melby will compete in individual events at the state meet. Central also advanced its boys 400 and 1600 meter relay teams to the state meet. The Panthers advanced to state through last Thursday's Division 2 sectional tournament at Medford.