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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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.
If the New Richmond boys soccer team goes on an extensive run in the WIAA playoffs, a good deal of the credit should go to the difficult non-conference schedule set up for the Tigers this season. The Tigers carried a 16-7 record into the playoffs, which began on Tuesday, but five of their seven losses have come in non-conference games. Two of those losses were last week, to St. Paul Academy and Hastings, Minn. Last Tuesday the Tigers faced SPA, one of the top-ranked teams in Minnesota.
New Richmond, Somerset and St. Croix Central are all competing in the same WIAA Division 2 regional tournament bracket, but they won't see each other in the opening round of regional action next Tuesday. Somerset was the only local team to draw a home match in next Tuesday's round of action. The Spartans are the fourth seed and they will host fifth-seeded Ellsworth. Somerset defeated Ellsworth when they met during the season in Somerset. New Richmond received the sixth seed and will play at third seed Baldwin-Woodville.
The New Richmond girls golf team is the sectional champion. The Tigers put together another strong team performance in winning the Division 1 sectional tournament at Stevens Point on Monday, earning the team's fourth-ever appearance in the state tournament field. The Tigers won the sectional title by shooting a team score of 350 at the challenging Stevens Point Golf Club. Tomah earned the second spot in the state tournament from this sectional by shooting a 359. It's been a streak of tournament championships for the Tigers since they finished the regular season.
The Middle Border Conference football championship will be decided this Friday. Somerset and Durand, both undefeated this season, will meet at Durand, with the winner locking up a share of the 2012 MBC championship. Somerset is seeking its sixth straight conference title. Somerset is coming off a 41-0 win over Baldwin-Woodville last Friday, while Durand needed a late surge to overcome Prescott, 21-7. Somerset has won all five of its MBC contests by at least 21 points, so the Spartan coaches aren't sure how the team will react to the challenge of facing an undefeated opponent.
A two-game win streak has kept the hopes of a WIAA playoff berth alive for the New Richmond football team. The Tigers need to win their final two regular season games to qualify for the 2012 playoffs. The first of those challenges arrives this Friday when the Tigers host Osceola in New Richmond's 2012 Homecoming game. Osceola has already qualified for the WIAA playoffs following its 14-0 win over Ellsworth last Friday. Osceola has been the surprise of the conference this season.