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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It seems the WIAA playoffs bring out the best in the Somerset football team. The Spartans played their sharpest, most mistake-free game of the season in their WIAA Division 4 playoff opener on Friday, muzzling Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau 27-0. The top-seeded Spartans will play at home again this Friday. The Spartans will host Bloomer, the fourth seed, at 7 p.m. The last game Bloomer played at Somerset produced one of the more memorable clashes on the Spartans' turf in many years.
One of the top passing attacks in the state was pitted against one of Wisconsin's top high school running backs on Friday when St. Croix Central made the long trek to Northland Pines. But instead of being a one-dimensional team that could only pass the ball, St. Croix Central played a well-rounded game to knock undefeated Northland Pines out of the playoffs. Central pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the state with its 34-20 victory. Central is the seventh seed in the Division 4 playoff bracket, while Northland Pines was a number two seed.
Every team hopes for the one night when they show how good they can be. That night came last Tuesday for the New Richmond volleyball team. The Tigers, seeded sixth in the Division 2 regional tournament bracket, went to Baldwin-Woodville and upset the third-seeded Blackhawks. The Tigers won the match in a five-game thrill ride. The Tigers used a powerful net attack to build a sizeable lead immediately in the first game, winning 25-14.
Not every team or runner can advance to state, but the St. Croix Central and Somerset runners can look back fondly at the end of their 2012 cross country seasons. Nearly every Panther and Spartan runner achieved the best times of their season during the Barron Division 2 Sectional Cross Country Meet last Friday. The St. Croix Central boys were the top finisher among the local teams in the sectional meet, taking fourth place.
Over the past three school years, a number of senior members of the Somerset High School teaching staff retired. Several of those teachers taught advanced placement (AP) classes. The school administrative team has been busy rebuilding the AP offerings, adding AP classes last year and this year. The latest addition to the advanced offerings is AP history, taught by Dennis Potter. Last year, AP composition and literature was added. It is taught by Cory Lindenberg.
The Somerset and St. Croix Central football teams will both be playing at home this weekend in the second round of the WIAA state playoffs. Somerset defeated Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau on Friday 27-0 to advance. The Spartans will be playing at home at 7 p.m. this Friday, with Bloomer as their opponent. This will be the seventh time in four years that Somerset and Bloomer have faced each other. The St. Croix Central football team pulled off one of the bigger upsets in the state in the opening round of the playoffs.
The New Richmond and Somerset volleyball teams will be playing in the second round of WIAA Division 2 regional tournament action Thursday night. Both teams will be playing on the road Thursday. Somerset, the fourth seed in the region, will be playing at top-seeded Altoona at 7 p.m. New Richmond, the sixth seed, will be playing at second seed Osceola at 7 p.m.
The top athletes and coaches in New Richmond High School history will now stand together as the inaugural class of the New Richmond High School Athletic Hall of Fame. The inaugural Hall of Fame class was inducted during a luncheon and program at the high school on Saturday. Inducted as athletes into the Hall of Fame are former standouts Mike Hebert, Robert Meath, Karen Musch-Kennedy, John Otteson, Holly Spoo, Jim Tjader, Tom Tjader and Jason Zahradka. Inducted as coaches were John Ball, Stan Barr and Betty Komula.
New Richmond's Kaycie Anderson and Mattie Kidder have played at an extremely high tennis level all season. When it mattered most, they continued to play that way. Anderson and Kidder qualified for the WIAA Division 1 State Individual Championships by earning third place in the one doubles flight in the Wausau East Division 1 sectional tournament last Wednesday. Anderson and Kidder are scheduled to play their opening round at the state tournament at 6 p.m. on Thursday. The Tiger tandem carries a 10-1 record into the state tournament.
The showdown for the Middle Border Conference football lead was as exciting and action packed as anticipated. The game wasn't decided until the final two minutes, when Durand scored on a 24-yard double pass play to shock Somerset, 16-13. Somerset was gunning for its sixth straight Middle Border Conference championship. Durand now has sole leadership of the MBC with a 6-0 record. Somerset falls to 5-1 and the Spartans face another difficult challenge this Friday when they host Osceola. The Chieftains are also 5-1 in the MBC.