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's hopes of winning a Dunn-St. Croix Conference baseball title were officially extinguished on Monday when the Panthers lost to D-SC leader Elk Mound, 2-1. The loss dropped Central to 3-4 in conference play while Elk Mound stands at 6-1 with three conference games remaining. The only team with a hope of catching Elk Mound is Boyceville, which is 3-3 in conference games. Central has had a large dose of close, low-scoring games recently. The Panthers have been getting quality pitching, but the hitting has been spotty.
The seniors on the St. Croix Central track team were pushing themselves hard to make a memorable showing in the final home meet of their careers last Thursday. For many of the Panther seniors, the meet went well, and the efforts led to a championship for the Panther girls. The Central boys took third place among the five teams in the meet. The girls championship was led by the team's seniors: Maddie Skaalrud, Anna Langer, Abby Delander and Martha Landry. Skaalrud and Langer scored individual wins, in the 100 and 3200 meters, respectively.
Since losing the opening game of the Middle Border Conference season, the New Richmond baseball team has completed a cycle of MBC opponents, beating them all. The Tigers ran their MBC winning streak to seven games on Monday night, defeating Osceola 11-4. The Tigers had lost at Osceola 2-0 in the opening game of the season. The Tigers remain in the MBC lead with a 7-1 record.
Somerset's trio of standout starting pitchers may have just added a fourth member. Junior Dakota Belter made the most of his first starting pitching opportunity of the season on Monday, throwing a six-inning no-hitter as the Spartans pummeled Durand 13-0. Belter wasn't scheduled to pitch Monday, but Nick Dvorak was sent home with strep throat. Belter, who has pitched in relief several times, stepped in and pitched flawlessly. The only threat of the hit came in the third inning, when Durand's leadoff hitter bounced a chopper up the middle.
The New Richmond girls soccer team got back at Spooner for handing them their only conference loss when the Tigers topped the Rails 2-1 last Thursday. All three goals were scored in the first half. Spooner scored a few minutes into the game, when a nice centering pass was quickly converted into a goal. The Tigers struggled early, but one breakaway turned their play around. Kaycie Anderson, Amanda Ramsey and Laura Troftgruben all broke out together. Anderson got the ball to Ramsey, who took the ball deep into the left corner of the field.
Any team is capable of beating another team in the Middle Border Conference softball race this season. That's largely because there are very few experienced pitchers in the conference. New Richmond is emblematic of that issue. When the young Tiger pitchers are able to hit their targets, the team does well, as they did in a 4-3 win at Amery last Tuesday. Amery followed up that loss by beating Prescott, the MBC leader.
A split in their Middle Border Conference matches last week knocked the New Richmond boys tennis team out of a share of the Middle Border Conference lead. The Tigers defeated Amery last Tuesday to run their conference record to 2-0. The first blemish on the Tigers' MBC record came last Thursday against Altoona, where the Tigers lost 6-1. Defeating Amery The Tigers improved to 2-0 in MBC matches last Tuesday when they defeated Amery 5-2. The Tigers swept the singles matches against Amery. Justice Harvieux led the way, winning the one singles match 6-2, 6-4.
The field of teams was cut in half, but the New Richmond boys track team was happy to win the championship in the Ellsworth Invitational on Monday. The meet had been postponed last Friday because of heavy rainstorms. The meet on Monday was still run in spotty rain showers. New Richmond's boys scored 113.5 points to win the meet, with Ellsworth placing second with 93 points. There were nine schools originally scheduled to compete in the meet on Friday. On Monday, there were five boys teams and four girls teams taking part. The Tiger girls took fourth place in the meet.
Monday's 6-2 win against Mondovi keeps the St. Croix Central baseball team one game out of first place in the large school division of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference. The Panthers had a chance to move into a tie for the D-SC lead when Elk Mound suffered its first loss of the season against Boyceville last Thursday.
Progress. That's what the St. Croix Central track coaches are looking for in the middle of the season. And the coaches believe they are seeing progress. The Panthers competed in the Baldwin-Woodville Invitational last Tuesday, with the Central boys taking third place and the girls taking fourth place among the six schools entered in their halves of the meet. The veteran athletes continue to be right on schedule. The coaches are gearing the season toward the May 18 Dunn-St. Croix Conference Track Meet. Distance runner Anna Langer is an example for the girls.