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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The New Richmond football team needed several big defensive stands in the second half to pull out a 14-13 win over Rice Lake in the second round of the WIAA Division 3 football state playoffs on Saturday. The Tigers will now play Appleton Xavier, which was a 7-0 winner over Waupaca on Saturday. The third round game will be played at 2 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 6 at Chippewa Falls. For updated playoff information, check the WIAA website at www.wiaawi.org . New Richmond put together an outstanding start to Saturday's game in Rice Lake.
The chance to win a conference title has been a long time coming and the New Richmond football Tigers weren't going to let it get away from them. The Tigers completely throttled Osceola last Thursday, winning 34-0 to give New Richmond its first Middle Border Conference championship since 1997. The Tigers scored on their first play from scrimmage against Osceola and never let up. They took a 20-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter and built the margin to 34-0 at halftime.
Winning a conference championship is a tremendous feat. Winning four straight conference titles, as the Somerset football team has done, puts the Spartans among the rarest of football teams in Middle Border Conference history. When the Spartans locked up their fourth straight MBC championship with a 28-8 win at Durand last Thursday, it put the Spartans in a distinctive place in conference history. They become the third football team in MBC history to win four conference titles in a row. The first time this was accomplished was when River Falls won titles from 1945 to 1948.
Bittersweet. There was no joy in Tia Belter's face when it was announced officially on Friday that the Somerset junior was one of the five individual qualifiers from the Amery Division 2 sectional to qualify for the 2010 WIAA State Cross Country Meet. That's because Belter was hoping to have company from the Spartans competing in the state meet. Somerset senior Monica Emerson missed by four seconds in her hopes of qualifying for the state meet for the second straight year. The Spartans also had hopes of earning their ticket into the state meet as a team.
St. Croix ended the regular season with a strong performance and at the same time, the Panthers ended Boyceville's hopes of making the WIAA state football playoffs. Central put on another big offensive show in its home finale by beating Boyceville 34-6 last Thursday. The Panthers were scheduled to play at Somerset on Tuesday in the opening round of WIAA Division 4 playoff action.
The regional finals were the final stop for the Somerset volleyball team in the WIAA Division 2 tournament. After wins over Barron and Durand in the opening two rounds of the playoffs, the Spartans faced Rice Lake in the Division 2 regional final on Saturday. The Spartans put up another excellent battle, but couldn't upend the top seed, losing to Rice Lake in four games. "It was by far the best playing I've seen from the girls all year long," Somerset coach Sarah Praschak said of Saturday's performance.
The New Richmond volleyball girls could walk off the courts with their heads held high as their season ended last Tuesday. The Tigers gave one of their best efforts of the season against Middle Border Conference champion Osceola in the opening round of WIAA Division 2 regional tournament action. Osceola had to fight to earn the win, by scores of 25-9, 25-18 and 25-12. As the Tigers look back on the final month of the season, they will want to remember the second game at Osceola.
The Somerset football team didn't want to see its two most precious streaks end. The streak of three Middle Border Conference championships, and the streak of never losing a home conference game are both still alive after the Spartans pulled out a 33-31 thriller over Baldwin-Woodville last Friday. B-W came into the game with a perfect 7-0 record. The Spartans' win throws the MBC lead into a three-way tie involving Somerset, Baldwin-Woodville and New Richmond. The Spartans need to win Thursday to make sure they maintain their share of the MBC title. They don't have an easy task either.
The New Richmond girls cross country runners will say they didn't have their best day at the 2010 Middle Border Conference meet last Thursday. The rest of the runners in the conference are likely to argue that point. The Tiger girls earned their fourth straight MBC championship, edging Somerset by 10 points to win the 2010 title. New Richmond's girls were able to win the championship despite not having a runner in the top eight finishers in the race.
The defense of the New Richmond football team is starting to get recognized around the state for its stinginess. The Tiger defense posted its fourth shutout in a row last Friday, as the Tigers rolled to a 41-0 win at Amery. With Somerset's victory over Baldwin-Woodville, the Tigers are in a three-way tie with those two teams for the lead of the Middle Border Conference. The Tigers need a win this Thursday to lock up a share of the 2010 MBC championship.