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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Volleyball teams might sell the St. Croix Central volleyball team short this season. That's what the Panthers are counting on. While the Panthers graduated a significant part of their team last year, the Panthers believe they can be a factor in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference again this season. The Panthers won't be the most experienced team in the D-SC.
Months after saying they were happy in the Big Rivers Conference, the Rice Lake school administration has changed its mind. New Richmond school officials were informed recently that Rice Lake wants to be moved into the Middle Border Conference, for football only. Rice Lake submitted this request to the WIAA in late May. But nobody at Rice Lake or the WIAA took the time to notify New Richmond of the request until recently. New Richmond Athletic Director Casey Eckardt has been in contact with the WIAA on the issue.
The New Richmond boys soccer team has been sizzling to start the 2010 season. The Tigers started their season last week with games against Somerset and Spooner. The Tigers ended up with a combined 16-0 final advantage over their two opponents. The Tigers opened the season last Tuesday, winning at Somerset 5-0. That was an appetizer for Thursday, when the Tigers feasted on Spooner, 11-0. The offensive outburst against Spooner showed how diverse the Tiger attack is going to be this season. Seven different Tigers scored during the victory.
The New Richmond girls tennis coaches wanted more Division 1 opponents on their schedule. In the first two weeks of the 2010 season, the Tigers have gotten a steady diet of Division 1 matches. And the Tigers have stood up to the Division 1 challenges quite nicely, too. Following tournaments at Eau Claire and Altoona last week, the Tigers were 5-3 against Division 1 opponents In the tournament at Altoona last Friday and Saturday, the Tigers won three of their four matches. The Tigers' only loss was against Altoona in an extremely close call.
Anyone who has spent any time golfing has learned how humbling the sport can be. The New Richmond girls golf team was reminded of that fact in a tournament in Eau Claire on Monday. The Tigers were playing in the Old Abe Invitational, hosted by Eau Claire Memorial, at the Hillcrest Country Club. Most of the Tigers have never played this difficult course and on the front nine, it clearly got the better of them. While the golf course might have gotten the better of the Tigers early in the round, they recovered.
The talent level of the seniors on the 2010 New Richmond football team may be the highest among any single class since the Tigers won their last Middle Border Conference championship in 1997. The Tigers are deep in athletic ability in the ball-handling positions and in the line.
Major inexperience up the middle is something the Somerset football team must overcome if the Spartans hope to repeat as Middle Border Conference champions. Graduation and a key injury have left the Spartans drastically inexperienced up the middle on both sides of the ball. This is an area where the Spartans traditionally have been ultra strong.
Expect anything from the 2010 St. Croix Central football team. Especially the unexpected. The 2010 Panthers will not be the old fashioned, pound the ball up the middle type of team. You are more likely to see an aerial circus, with balls flying through the air at an incredible frequency. Central's coaching staff decided to rid themselves of the final vestiges of the traditional football offense.
With everyone back from 2009, plus three key additions, the New Richmond boys soccer team is ready to erupt in 2010. The Tigers were a high energy, high scoring team a year ago and they showed they're ready to add to that reputation this season. In the Tigers' first two games of the 2010 season, they scored 16 goals. There are very few teams in this part of the state that can match the pure speed the Tigers possess. Seniors Charlie Gartner and Patrick Hailey are two of the fastest offensive attackers most teams will see this season.
Now in its second year as a varsity program, the Somerset boys soccer team wants to show that it has grown as a team. After winning two Middle Border Conference games in its inaugural season, the Spartans would like to improve upon that total this season. Second-year Spartan coach Todd Sauers is constructing his 2010 team around a trio of experienced senior players. Jordan Greene was the only Spartan to receive all-MBC honors last season, getting honorable mention status on defense.