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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St. Croix Central senior Brett Johnson was aiming for the top when he ran in the WIAA Division 2 State Cross Country Championship in Wisconsin Rapids on Saturday. Johnson didn't achieve his goal of being a state champion, but he did accomplish the best finish ever for a Panther at the state cross country meet. Johnson was the eighth place finisher in the Division 2 championship race. Johnson had the previous top finish for a Panther in a state meet when he finished 11th in the Division 2 race last year.
The Somerset football team couldn't get its vaunted running game any room to work in Saturday's WIAA Division 4 playoff game. With little ground game, the Spartans were out of the running by early in the second half in a 28-14 loss to Baldwin-Woodville. Somerset finishes the season with an 8-3 record. The Spartans had beaten B-W two weeks earlier. This time around the Blackhawks used a dominating defensive effort to shut down the Spartans. Somerset coach Bruce Larson said the Spartans couldn't control the B-W noseguard and they couldn't block all-state linebacker Jake Keefer.
Appleton Xavier had only 101 yards of offense in its 7-0 win over Waupaca in the Division 3 playoffs last Saturday. Yet the Hawks were comfortable with their performance in the playoff victory. Xavier will be New Richmond's opponent in this Saturday's Level 3 playoff game in Chippewa Falls on Saturday. The undefeated Xavier team makes no bones about it. The Hawks have allowed 61 points in their 11 wins this season and they have no fears about relying heavily on their defense to win each game.
The passing offense of the St. Croix Central football team and the tornado-like winds that whipped through the area were not a good combination in the opening round of the WIAA State Football Playoffs last Tuesday. The Panthers lost at Somerset in the opening round of the Division 4 playoffs last Tuesday, 38-14. The Panthers end the 2010 season with a 6-4 record. The only Dunn-St.
It was not exactly how Somerset junior Tia Belter wanted her experience at the 2010 WIAA State Cross Country Meet to go. Belter, who placed seventh in the Amery Division 2 sectional meet, struggled at the state meet on Saturday, finishing 93rd in 16 minutes, 44 seconds. Last year Belter placed 64th at state in 16 minutes, 27 seconds. Somerset coach Diane Belter said she wasn't sure why her daughter dropped back in the pack during the state race.
The New Richmond football team needed several big defensive stands in the second half to pull out a 14-13 win over Rice Lake in the second round of the WIAA Division 3 football state playoffs on Saturday. The Tigers will now play Appleton Xavier, which was a 7-0 winner over Waupaca on Saturday. The third round game will be played at 2 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 6 at Chippewa Falls. For updated playoff information, check the WIAA website at www.wiaawi.org . New Richmond put together an outstanding start to Saturday's game in Rice Lake.
The chance to win a conference title has been a long time coming and the New Richmond football Tigers weren't going to let it get away from them. The Tigers completely throttled Osceola last Thursday, winning 34-0 to give New Richmond its first Middle Border Conference championship since 1997. The Tigers scored on their first play from scrimmage against Osceola and never let up. They took a 20-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter and built the margin to 34-0 at halftime.
Winning a conference championship is a tremendous feat. Winning four straight conference titles, as the Somerset football team has done, puts the Spartans among the rarest of football teams in Middle Border Conference history. When the Spartans locked up their fourth straight MBC championship with a 28-8 win at Durand last Thursday, it put the Spartans in a distinctive place in conference history. They become the third football team in MBC history to win four conference titles in a row. The first time this was accomplished was when River Falls won titles from 1945 to 1948.
Bittersweet. There was no joy in Tia Belter's face when it was announced officially on Friday that the Somerset junior was one of the five individual qualifiers from the Amery Division 2 sectional to qualify for the 2010 WIAA State Cross Country Meet. That's because Belter was hoping to have company from the Spartans competing in the state meet. Somerset senior Monica Emerson missed by four seconds in her hopes of qualifying for the state meet for the second straight year. The Spartans also had hopes of earning their ticket into the state meet as a team.
St. Croix ended the regular season with a strong performance and at the same time, the Panthers ended Boyceville's hopes of making the WIAA state football playoffs. Central put on another big offensive show in its home finale by beating Boyceville 34-6 last Thursday. The Panthers were scheduled to play at Somerset on Tuesday in the opening round of WIAA Division 4 playoff action.