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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If Grantsburg's softball team wins another Division 3 state championship this year, the Pirates will likely look back at last Thursday's 1-0 win over St. Croix Central as the game that tested them the most. Central put up an incredible effort against the Pirates in the regional championship game. The Pirates are the defending WIAA Division 3 state champions. This game was Grantsburg's 46th consecutive win and the Pirates are 63-1 over the past three seasons. Central ends the season with an 18-2 record, including winning its second straight Dunn-St.
In the last two weeks of the season the New Richmond baseball team defeated two of the most successful Division 1 baseball operations in northern Wisconsin with wins over Chippewa Falls and Marshfield. The Tigers nearly took down another of the Division 1 kingpins in the WIAA baseball regionals last Friday. Playing at Eau Claire's Carson Park, the Tigers led Eau Claire Memorial 3-1 heading into the sixth inning.
The St. Croix Central track teams didn't bring home any medals from the 2010 WIAA State Track and Field Championships, but they may have brought home something more valuable: validation. The Panthers proved that they can compete at the state level.
The New Richmond boys golf team missed out on advancing to the WIAA Division 1 State Golf Championships by 11 strokes. Fate dealt an especially unkind blow to Tiger senior Jake Bourassa. New Richmond coach Jim Saliny said he'd been told that golfers who'd shot rounds of 76 at the sectional tournament would be playing to break a tie for the positions of state qualifiers as an individual. Bourassa shot a 78 to lead the Tigers in the tournament. With that news, Saliny and the golfers decided to not wait around for the awards presentations.
It might take a psychology degree to figure out how the New Richmond Millers are going to play from game to game. The Millers continued their streaky play over the weekend, winning one of their three games. Their season record now stands at 3-8. On Saturday the Millers hosted the St. Paul Mudhens in a double-header at Citizens Field. The first game of the day showed how well the Millers can play when they are focused. The Millers whipped the Mudhens, winning in seven innings 8-0. Cody Torkelson threw the four-hit shutout for the Millers.
After reaching the sectional tournament in 2009 and returning eight starters, the Somerset baseball team was hoping to make another lengthy charge into the WIAA Division 2 playoffs. Instead, their stay in the 2010 playoffs lasted one game. The Spartans were knocked off by St. Croix Falls last Tuesday, 3-2. The Saints beat Prescott the following day 8-5 to claim a spot in this week's WIAA sectional tournament. Somerset coach Brandon Kadlec elected to have junior Sean Conrad start the game against St. Croix Falls, instead of team ace Jared Dettmann.
Sophomore Kat Keller and both New Richmond 800 meter relay teams have qualified for the 2010 WIAA State Track Championships this Friday and Saturday at UW-La Crosse. Keller qualified for state by winning the championships in the 100 and 200 meter dashes at the Wausau East Division 1 sectional meet last Thursday.
Last year the Somerset girls track team considered it a once in a lifetime accomplishment to sweep the conference, regional and sectional team championships. This year, the Spartans are experiencing that "once in a lifetime feeling" all over again. The Spartans completed their second straight title sweep by winning the team championship at the 2010 Colby Division 2 sectional track meet last Thursday.
The Somerset girls soccer team will open the WIAA Division 3 tournaments at home this Thursday after drawing the second seed in the regional tournament bracketing. The Spartans will play at home at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, facing Bayfield, which received the seventh seed. The winner of Thursday's game will play in the regional final on Saturday against the winner of Thursday's game between Barron and Three Lakes. Saturday's game will be played at 1 p.m. in Spooner. Somerset's schedule had to help in the seeding process.
Every year, the group St. Croix Central sends to the WIAA State Track Championships continues to grow. This year the Panthers have three individuals and one relay team that have qualified for the state track meet. Senior Isaac Lindahl earned a return trip to the state meet in the hurdle races. Junior distance runner Brett Johnson will have two races to run at the state meet. Sophomore Alyssa Melby was one of the big surprises of the sectional meet in earning a place at state in the triple jump. Another surprise was the Central boys 400 meter relay team.