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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Improved passing and setting fueled the sharpest performance of the St. Croix Central volleyball team during a triangular tournament at Ellsworth last Thursday. The improvements helped the Panthers win both of their matches in the tournament, against Glenwood City and Ellsworth. The key behind the success on Thursday was the decision by coaches Julia Foley and Laura Lee to try a 6-2 attack, with Haylee Hawke and Marissa Hill both setting.
The first win for the New Richmond football team under head coach Keith Badger certainly was a memorable one. The Tigers rallied from behind twice in the second half to defeat Baldwin-Woodville 22-18 at the New Richmond football stadium on Friday. New Richmond from a 12-0 halftime deficit to overcome the Blackhawks. The Tigers had no offensive success in the first half, but that changed dramatically in the second half. The Tigers' first possession of the half resulted in a 74-yard drive, with Connor O'Loughlin scoring on a 4-yard run.
Scheduling difficult non-conference opponents is done in the hopes the competition level will raise the team’s skill level. That’s what the New Richmond football team is hoping after opening the season against Big Rivers Conference teams from River Falls and Rice Lake. The Tigers went to Rice Lake last Friday knowing they were facing a potential buzzsaw in a highly talented Warrior team. Their scouting reports proved correctly. Rice Lake matched the superlatives, rolling past the Tigers 41-0.
The opponents the Somerset football team faced in its two non-conference games have a tradition of success. That's why the Spartans put them on their schedule. The Spartans improved to 2-0 with a 20-6 win at Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau on Friday. The Spartans will begin their Middle Border Conference schedule this Friday by facing Osceola. Osceola's new artificial turf field is not ready for use, so the Chieftains have chosen to play Friday's game at St. Croix Falls.
The St. Croix Central football coaches came to the realization that they may have been overwhelming the young lineup the Panthers are using during the team's first two games of the season. So as the Panthers shift toward their Dunn-St. Croix Conference opener this Friday, expect to see a simpler, more direct game plan when they play at Colfax. The Panthers went 0-2 in the non-conference start to the season, including a 35-18 homefield loss to Barron last Friday.
Friday's game against Ashland was what the Somerset boys soccer team was pointing toward, with the hopes of proving that the Spartans were as good as any team in the Division 2 sectional tournament bracket. The Spartans found out they still have some work to do, after they were defeated by the Oredockers 3-0 at the Somerset High School soccer field. Ashland and Amery were the Division 2 sectional semifinalists from this area last year and Ashland has already defeated Amery 2-1 this season.
For the past few years, the New Richmond boys soccer team has faced St. Paul Academy. Each time, the Tigers have taken their lumps from the standout Minnesota program that reached the MSHSL state championship game last year. This year, the story was different. SPA graduated 13 players, while New Richmond fields an experienced, savvy team that has developed a keen knack for controlling the ball. The Tigers were able to dominate time of possession in defeating SPA 3-0 on Friday.
Every match for the New Richmond girls tennis team this season has been a battle. The Tigers finally got their first chance to relax on the court this season, scoring a 7-0 win over Mondovi in a Middle Border Conference match on the Tigers' home courts last Thursday. Mondovi and New Richmond were two of the MBC teams hit most severely by graduation last season. Mondovi graduated six players from its 2012 lineup while the Tigers returned just two starters from last season.
If there was any doubt about the strength of the New Richmond cross country teams, the Tigers answered them with a resounding "Roar" at the 2013 Eau Claire North Husky Invite on Saturday. New Richmond's girls took second place among seven full varsity teams while the Tiger boys ranked fourth among 10 teams in the meet. The Tiger girls finished second behind a dynamic Eau Claire Memorial team which had seven of the top 11 runners in the race. New Richmond was led by senior Maddie Kelly, who placed fourth overall. Her time of 20:18 was a personal record for the 5K distance.
When Tiger coach Beth Kelly had more than 50 runners out for the cross country team in 2012, she thought she'd never see interest like that again in the program. Imagine the surprise she got when 69 kids joined the team this year. With 37 boys and 32 girls, the Tiger cross country program is exploding like never before. "It's a good problem," Coach Kelly said. "I remember when I thought it would be good to keep five kids from every grade. Now we've run out of uniforms and warmups."