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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Somerset seniors Tia Belter and Jake Wishard earned all-conference honors during the 2011 Middle Border Conference Cross Country Meet, held last Thursday in Amery. The Somerset boys placed sixth in the conference meet while the girls team finished eighth. The sixth place finish for the boys was a definite highlight, according to Somerset coach Diane Belter. "That's the best I've seen them race as a group in quite a while," Belter said. "They all ran this course like they liked it." Wishard led the Spartans, placing eighth to earn second team all-conference laurels.
After their standout performance in a recent win over Boyceville, the St. Croix Central volleyball team was hoping to string together two wins at the end of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference season. The Panthers couldn't find the magic they had against Boyceville when they played at Colfax last Thursday. The Panthers gave a spirited battle in the first game at Colfax, but lost 28-26. That loss seemed to take the edge off the Panthers' desire.
New Richmond volleyball coach Bob Fisher is an eternal optimist. And this season, that's been one of the few things that's saved his sanity. The inconsistent Tigers struggled through one of their most difficult Middle Border Conference matches of the season last Thursday. The Tigers lost their home finale to Baldwin-Woodville in three games. The Senior Night crowd saw the Tigers lose 25-14, 25-10, 25-21. A discussion later in the week found Fisher quite enthused. "We came back with our best practice of the season the next day," Fisher said.
The Somerset boys soccer team put up a good fight, but couldn't pull off an upset in the opening round of the WIAA Division 2 regional tournaments last Tuesday. The Spartans, seeded seventh in the regional bracket, lost at Ashland by a 4-1 score. The Oredockers were seeded second in the bracket. In Thursday's regional final, Ashland was upset by Osceola, 2-1, with the game decided in a shootout. That sets up an all-Middle Border Conference sectional tournament semifinal game. Osceola will play at Amery at 4 p.m.
Opening pairings of the WIAA state football playoffs have finally been completed. New Richmond will play at Menomonie at 7 p.m. on Friday in the opening round of Division 2 playoff action. Somerset and St. Croix Central will both get home games in the first round of Division 4 action. Somerset hosts Unity at 7 p.m. on Friday. St. Croix Central will be visited by Baldwin-Woodville at 3 p.m. on Saturday. New Richmond (4-3 in Middle Border Conference, 4-5 overall) faces a Menomonie team that tied for the Big Rivers Conference championship.
The St. Croix Central football team completed its first perfect regular season with a 20-7 win over Spring Valley on Thursday. The Panthers now await word on where they will be seeded in the WIAA football playoff pairings. The playoff brackets are expected to be announced just before midnight this Friday. The first round of playoffs will be played on Saturday, Oct. 22. The Panthers finish the regular season as undisputed Dunn-St. Croix Conference champions.
The Somerset football team pulled off one of the most historic wins in Middle Border Conference history last Friday. By beating Durand 22-15, the Spartans have earned a share of the 2011 MBC championship. This is the fifth straight year that the Spartans have won the MBC title and the eighth time they've won the title since joining the MBC 10 years ago. In the two years when the Spartans didn't win an MBC title, they finished in second place. In the nearly 80 year history of the Middle Border Conference, only one other team has won five straight football championships.
Injuries forced the New Richmond football coaching staff to improvise all during the week leading into Friday's game at Osceola. The Tigers were able to make the changes work, producing an 18-7 win over the Chieftains that locked up a spot in the 2011 WIAA playoffs for the Tigers. In the previous game against Amery, leading rusher Nate Jones suffered a concussion and the coaches didn't know whether he'd be available for Friday's game until late in the week.
A much smaller junior kindergarten class than in past years has caused a slight dip in enrollment for the Somerset School District for the 2011-12 school year. The enrollment for the school year, as figured on the third Friday count done on Sept. 16, has the school district enrollment at 1,619 students. This compares to 1,649 students at the time of the count last year. The biggest decline in enrollment is seen at the junior kindergarten level.
When Gov. Scott Walker put tighter fiscal limits on Wisconsin schools earlier this year, it was supposed to give state residents with some tax relief. As the Somerset School District works toward finalizing its 2011-12 budget, it looks like that tax relief will come through. At the 2011 school district annual meeting, held on Monday, Oct. 3, district residents voted to approve a preliminary budget which includes a tax levy that is 8.41 percent lower than last year. The final levy will be decided at the school board's October meeting, which will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct.