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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Two injuries on the same play in practice on Monday have forced major changes for the St. Croix Central volleyball team. Senior Catherine Cottrell and junior Khloe Martinez were injured on the same play during practice on Monday. Panther coach Mindy Widiker said Tuesday that she hoped Cottrell could begin playing in a week after spraining her knee. Martinez sprained an ankle and it appears she will be sidelined longer. The Panthers are already without senior middle hitter Claire Frankiewicz, who is sidelined for the season due to a knee injury.
The Somerset cross country team was able to bask in a joy last Thursday that the program hasn't seen in a decade or more. The Spartans earned the first team meet championship in many years when the Somerset girls raced to victory in front of their home fans at the Spartan Invitational last Thursday. The Spartans also won both individual championships in the meet, with senior Ben Schmitt taking the boys championship and freshman Erin Huerta winning the girls championship.
The St. Croix Central and Somerset football teams flexed their collective muscles on Friday, at the expense of the New Richmond and Prescott squads. Central and Somerset both improved to 2-0 in the Middle Border Conference with impressive road wins on Friday. Central went to New Richmond and rode an overpowering offensive showing to a 39-0 win over the Tigers. Somerset went to Prescott and scored a 42-21 victory.
The team sponsored by First National Community Bank won the championship in the ladies league at the New Richmond Golf Club this summer. The league was played on Wednesdays over 17 weeks of the summer. The championship is based on accumulated points over the course of the season. A variety of games were part of the league action each week.
Sitting at 0-3 and facing a team that has reached the WIAA state championships each of the past two seasons puts the New Richmond football team in a difficult position for this Friday’s game against St. Croix Central. The Tigers are coming off a 9-7 loss at Baldwin-Woodville where they didn’t look sharp on either side of the ball.
The St. Croix Central football team has outscored its opponents 132-21 in the first three games of the 2018 season. One of the biggest jobs now for Central coach Tony DiSalvo and his staff is guarding against overconfidence. The Panthers will play their first road game of the season this Friday when they travel to winless New Richmond. So far, the Panthers have beaten Durand (41-14), Elk Mound (49-7) and, last Friday, Ellsworth (42-0).
There was a great deal of satisfaction for the Somerset football team in being the opponent that snapped Osceola’s 21-game unbeaten streak in the Middle Border Conference last Friday.
Somerset runners Ben Schmitt and Erin Huerta swept the championships as the Spartans hosted their home cross country meet on Thursday. Schmitt battled Ellsworth’s Addison Peters for the lead in the boys race for much of the way, with Peters holding a slight lead the last time they past the final large group of spectators. But in the final stretch of the race, Schmitt was able to take charge, with the Spartan senior winning in 18:40. Peters took second place in 18:51.
Sam Altena made an impressive debut for the UW-River Falls football team on Saturday. Altena, a 2017 New Richmond High School graduate, rushed for 152 yards and three touchdowns in leading the Falcons to a 41-0 victory over Minnesota-Morris on Saturday. Altena transferred to UW-River Falls over the summer after spending his first year of college at Northern State University in South Dakota.
The coaches have the pieces in place. Now the St. Croix Central volleyball team will begin to put the pieces together in hopes of building another hugely successful season. Panther coach Mindy Widiker said the coaches decided upon a lineup they liked during the latter rounds of the recent UW-Stout Sprawl. Last week, the Panthers moved forward with that lineup, winning all four matches they played.