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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Demographic studies done several years ago anticipated large increases in the enrollment in the Somerset School District. After several years with little to no growth, it appeared that enrollment numbers had leveled out in Somerset. That changed this summer. Somerset school enrollment is up 69 kids from enrollment in May. The May enrollment was at 1,580 students. The enrollment supplied for the Somerset Board of Education at its Sept. 20 meeting had the student population at 1,649. Enrollment is up in all three buildings.
The New Richmond football program will be staying in the Middle Border Conference for the 2011 season. What happens to all the New Richmond sports programs after that is up for discussion. The New Richmond football program was targeted for a move to the Big Rivers Conference in 2011 by the WIAA after a request by Rice Lake for relief out of the BRC. The issue was discussed at the WIAA regional meeting in Rice Lake on Monday. After the general meeting, a discussion was held by administrators and athletic directors from the two conferences.
Two touchdowns in the first seven minutes and another early in the second quarter put the New Richmond football team in a position to put away Durand on Friday. The 21 points stood up for the win, but only after the Tiger defense turned away several threatening drives in a 21-6 win over the Panthers. With the win the Tigers stand at 1-1 in Middle Border Conference play, heading into this Friday's game at Prescott. In the first 15 minutes of Friday's game the Tiger offense had Durand completely at its mercy.
Prescott's football team might have grabbed the curiosity of area football fans with its 45-0 win over Amery in the first round of Middle Border Conference play. That win wasn't enough to throw the Somerset football team off its game. The Spartans went to Prescott in the second round of MBC play last Friday and shot down the high-flying Cardinals 33-7. The Spartans built a 26-0 lead by halftime and the coaches rested the starters for much of the second half of the game. The difference in Friday's game was the ground attack. Somerset was able to gain 346 yards on the ground.
The new 10-court format for tennis at New Richmond High School proved to be a hit in the first multi-team event hosted by the Tigers. On Saturday the Tigers hosted a quad meet, with River Falls, Altoona and Rice Lake visiting. The extra courts made a big difference.
The inaugural varsity event in the new New Richmond High School gym was held last Thursday, when the Tigers hosted Durand in a Middle Border Conference volleyball match. The match didn't go quite as the Tigers had hoped. They lost the first game 25-20. The Tigers began to click in the second game, winning 25-22. The third game was pivotal. The Tigers were in contention most of the way, but several missed serves late in the game crushed their chances.
The New Richmond girls golf team carries a substantial lead in the conference rankings into next Monday's Middle Border Conference Girls Golf Tournament. The tournament will be played at Pheasant Hills Golf Club, outside of Hammond. The Tigers took charge of the conference race by winning a pair of meets last week. They won a meet at Clifton Highlands on Tuesday and followed that with a win at Bristol Ridge Golf Club last Thursday. In Thursday's match most of the teams played much better on the front nine and the Tigers were no exception.
Wins in their final two matches in Saturday's volleyball tournament in Osceola may be exactly what the St. Croix Central volleyball team needed. Those two wins may be the foothold the Panthers need to get some momentum building. With three seniors and an assortment of younger girls, the players had very little court time together entering the season. Now that they are getting comfortable with each other, success is starting to follow. The Panthers opened the tournament by facing a formidable Osceola team. Osceola won both games, but Central put up a good fight against Osceola's big hitters.
The New Richmond and Osceola boys soccer teams have something to settle if they can meet up in the Middle Border Conference soccer tournament. The Tigers and Chieftains have played twice this season and both games have ended in ties. The second of those ties came on Monday, when the teams tied 1-1 at the NRHS soccer field. The two teams are hoping they can meet in the MBC tournament, which is scheduled to begin at the end of next week. Monday's game was scoreless after the first half.
Experience breeds confidence. The Somerset volleyball team had plenty of both in winning the first match in its Middle Border Conference schedule last Thursday. The Spartans went to Prescott and rolled past the Cardinals 25-16, 25-16, 25-22. In the first two games Somerset jumped out to the lead and was never challenged. In the third game the Spartans got their challenge. Prescott stepped up its play in the third game and the Spartans answered.