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 girls won't go into Thursday's 2010 Middle Border Conference Cross Country Meet as favorites. But they will go into the meet as a team reaching peak form. On Saturday the Spartans ran in the Old Abe Invitational in Eau Claire, taking sixth among 16 teams. The Spartans were declared small schools champion in the meet. Saturday's meet was at a 5K distance for the girls, but that didn't seem to bother the Spartans in the least. Nearly every one of the Somerset girls set personal best times for that distance. The Spartans' trio of lead runners put in another forceful effort.
Being "King of the Hill" in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference is something in which the St. Croix Central boys cross country team takes great pride. So when the Panthers run in the 2010 D-SC meet at Boyceville this Thursday, pride will be a driving force. They have won each of the two past conference championships. "A three-peat is the conference goal," said Panther coach Bill Emery.
What the New Richmond volleyball team did in its final home match was forgettable. But their performance off the court last Thursday was a noble effort by the Tiger girls. New Richmond lost to Middle Border Conference co-leader Osceola last Tuesday in the Tigers' final home match of the season. Few things went right for the Tigers on the court as they lost the three games 25-7, 25-12, 25-17. There was a large crowd attending the match because it was Parents Night for the Tigers. It was also Dig Pink Night, a fundraiser in the battle of breast cancer.
The challenging Bristol Ridge Golf Course layout proved to be an excellent test for the golfers who competed in the WIAA Somerset Division 2 Sectional Golf Tournament last Tuesday. Somerset's girls found that the home course didn't do them any favors. The Spartans tied for sixth place in the tournament with a score of 434. The Spartans had the full range of success in the sectional meet. Some girls had better than average days while others struggled at times through the meet. Leading the Spartans were senior Jackie Briggs and junior Sammi Wolff. They both shot a 104 for the tournament.
The St. Croix Central football team rolled up some of the largest offensive totals in school history in the Panthers' 52-26 win over Colfax on Friday. The Panthers are also piling up injuries at a record pace. In Friday's game the Panthers rang up one of the largest offensive totals in school history, totaling 633 yards of offense. Steve Sanders, who has served as a coach and statistician for the Panthers the past 31 years, said he doesn't recall any game where the Panthers came near that total.
The chance to compete for the Middle Border Conference championship was fully on the minds of the Somerset volleyball team when it competed in a tournament at Altoona last Saturday. The Spartans were scheduled to clash with Osceola on Tuesday for the MBC title. Both teams took 6-0 conference records into that match. The Spartans got ready for Tuesday's showdown by taking fourth place in the Altoona Invitational on Saturday. Five matches against top quality competition was just what the Spartans were looking for. The day began with the Spartans beating River Falls 25-11, 21-25, 15-13.
It's a rut the St. Croix Central volleyball team is trying to escape from. The Panthers play exceptional ball against top opposition, but their play seems to be on a sliding scale that leaves them just short in each match. Last week the Panthers dropped two Dunn-St. Croix Conference matches, leaving them with a 1-7 record heading into Tuesday's final regular season match at Boyceville. The WIAA tournament seedings are scheduled to be announced on Thursday.
The New Richmond boys soccer team won its opening game in the Division 1 regional tournament on Tuesday. The Tigers scored a 2-0 win over Marshfield in Tuesday's regional opener. That win advances the Tigers into the second round of regional play this Thursday. The Tigers will be playing at Chippewa Falls, the second seed, in Thursday's regional game. That game will be played at 4 p.m. at Gus Dorais Field in Chippewa Falls. New Richmond is the seventh seed among the 16 teams in the sectional field. New Richmond scored once in each half to take down Marshfield on Tuesday.
The New Richmond and Somerset football teams both locked up spots in the 2010 WIAA state football playoffs with lopsided wins on Thursday. New Richmond went to Ellsworth and won in a romp, 49-0. The Tigers scored on their first drive of the night and were rarely stopped. They led by a 29-0 score at halftime. Somerset hosted Amery and rolled to a 56-8 victory. The Spartans had a tenuous start, at least partially due to several personnel changes on the offensive side of the ball. Amery led 8-6 until Somerset scored on the first play of the second quarter.
There was never any doubt about the talent on the New Richmond football team. The questions arose on whether the Tigers could parlay that talent into winning in pressure situations. The Tigers answered all those questions on Friday in front of one of their largest crowds in decades. The Tigers played a nearly flawless game, taking advantage of several Somerset mistakes to earn a 16-0 win in the Tigers' 2010 Homecoming game. New Richmond and Somerset are now tied for second place in the Middle Border Conference standings with 3-1 records.