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 cross country team was hoping to get two girls into this Saturday's WIAA State Cross Country Championships. They were halfway successful. Sophomore Tia Belter earned her way into her first state cross country meet by placing third in last Friday's Division 2 sectional meet in Amery. The Spartans had hoped to get junior Monica Emerson back to state after reaching the meet as a sophomore. Emerson wasn't quite able to make it back.
Two touchdowns were called back. Three times the Tiger offense moved inside Osceola's 20-yard line and didn't produce points. New Richmond's 19-10 loss to Osceola last Thursday in the final round of Middle Border Conference action was a game of missed chances for the Tiger football team. A win would have given the Tigers second place in the final 2009 MBC football standings.
The La Crosse Logan Division 1 sectional meet was something of a fact-finding expedition for the New Richmond cross country team. The Tigers made the step up from Division 2 to Division 1 this year. The Tigers were a perennial threat to reach the State Cross Country Meet in Division 2. They went into Saturday's meet in La Crosse looking to see how far they are from being a state contender in Division 1. They found out that they aren't that far away.
The best regular season in New Richmond volleyball history could not be carried over into a lengthy run in the post-season. The Tigers were beaten in the second round of WIAA Division 2 regionals on their home court last Friday. It was Northwestern that advanced to the regional final, topping the Tigers by scores of 25-21, 17-25, 25-23, 25-23. Northwestern was then defeated in Saturday's regional final by top-seeded Hayward by scores of 23-25, 25-8, 25-8, 25-18. Hayward will face Medford in the WIAA sectional semifinals this Thursday at Baldwin-Woodville High School.
You get the impression that the St. Croix Central female athletes view facing Grantsburg as their own personal state championship game. Why wouldn't they? In volleyball and softball Grantsburg makes the state tournament nearly every year, representing this section. In many of those seasons, it is the St. Croix Central teams that give Grantsburg some of their most difficult competition on the way to the state tournament. So when Grantsburg is competing in the sectional semifinals this Thursday against Washburn, the Pirates know they will have already been tested.
Two of the Calleja brothers, Jake and Josh, could end up skating against each other this college hockey season. Josh is attending UW-River Falls this fall after taking a year off from college. He was one of the top players for UW-Stevens Point, leading the Pointers in scoring in the 2007-08 season. Jake is a freshman at Bethel University in the Twin Cities. Jake has jumped right into the sports scene in his first year of college.
The St. Croix Central football team played its finest ball of the season in the final two weeks of the regular season. That late-season surge was enough to carry the Panthers into the WIAA playoffs. Last Thursday the Panthers took the action to Mondovi, delivering a 28-6 defeat to the Buffaloes. That win raised the Panthers' record in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference to 3-3, making them playoff eligible.
It wasn't the usual Somerset volleyball team that played in the second round of WIAA regional tournament play at Medford last Friday. Hitting has been the strength of the Spartans this season and back row play has been the team's achilles heel. Those strengths and weaknesses were reversed when the Spartans lost at Medford in the Division 2 regional match. The Spartans lost the match 26-24, 25-21, 25-18. Medford then defeated Rice Lake in the regional championship on Saturday.
The Somerset football team will be playing at home in the opening round of the WIAA State Football Playoffs next Tuesday. New Richmond and St. Croix Central will be playing on the road in the opening round of WIAA tournament play next Tuesday. New Richmond New Richmond opens tournament play on Tuesday with a game at Black River Falls. Black River Falls has a 4-1 conference record and is 8-1 overall. BRF drew the second seed in this section of the Division 3 football bracket. New Richmond enters the tournament season with a 4-5 record.