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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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.
The New Richmond girls soccer team couldn't have come up with a better springboard into the WIAA playoffs. The Tigers finished the regular season on Thursday with a 2-1 overtime win over Middle Border Conference champion Hayward. New Richmond stands alone in second place in the final MBC standings with a 12-3-1 record. Thursday's Tiger win was the only loss Hayward suffered in conference play this year. There weren't any goals scored in Thursday's game in New Richmond until the final eight minutes of regulation.
When you can count four scores of 80 or under, you know you've had a good team performance in a high school golf tournament. That's the type of performance the New Richmond boys golf team put together in last Tuesday's WIAA Division 1 regional in Superior. Then consider, with that well-balanced performance, the Tigers were still only able to take fourth place in the regional tournament. That did qualify the Tigers for this Tuesday's Division 1 sectional tournament in Marshfield.
The objective for the Somerset golf team was to advance through the WIAA regional tournament so they could play in this Tuesday's sectional tournament on their home course. That assignment got much more complicated when junior Jarod Bordynoski, one of the team's top three players severely burned three fingers on his right hand the day before the regional meet. Even without Bordynoski in the lineup, the Spartans managed to take second place in last Tuesday's WIAA Division 2 regional meet.
Sharp pitching and timely hitting were the key ingredients, but it was a quick thinking play on defense that was the turning point in St. Croix Central's 6-1 win over Ladysmith in the opening round of WIAA Division 3 regional baseball playoffs last Friday. With that win, the Panthers were scheduled to play at Boyceville on Tuesday.
For those baseball fans who were curious to see how Hayden Zimmerman's success in college would translate to city league ball, your questions were answered last Friday. Zimmerman pitched for the New Richmond Millers in a non-league game against the Stillwater Loggers, a top level Minnesota adult team. Zimmerman was outstanding. He allowed two runs in seven innings in a 3-1 Millers loss. Zimmerman showed impressive velocity. Many of the Stillwater batters had trouble catching up to his fastball. Just as important, Zimmerman was able to precisely locate his pitches.
The Somerset baseball team finished the regular season with a 15-6 record after beating Prescott 6-4 last Tuesday in the Spartans' regular season finale. The Spartans were scheduled to begin WIAA Division 2 tournament play on Tuesday against St. Croix Falls. Somerset drew an opening round bye in the tournament while St. Croix Falls topped Osceola 5-2 last Friday. The winner of Tuesday's game will be back in action again this Wednesday in the regional final game.
The message was clear. The St. Croix Central softball team means business in the WIAA Division 3 tournaments. The Panthers opened regional tournament play on Thursday, ripping Unity by a 17-2 score. The Panthers were scheduled to host Boyceville on Tuesday in the second round of Division 3 regionals. The winner of that game will play in the regional final on Thursday, facing the winner of Tuesday's game between Grantsburg and Cumberland. With scouts of possible future opponents at the game, the Panthers made sure to give them an eyeful.