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 boys are the defending MBC track champions, but it looks like the Tiger girls are in the best position to make a run at a 2012 Middle Border Conference track title. The 2012 MBC meet will be held next Tuesday at Osceola High School, beginning at 4 p.m. New Richmond's girls established themselves as a favorite for the MBC title by winning their first New Richmond Relays title in several years last Friday. The Tigers earned 94 points to top the 13-team field.
New Richmond's girls soccer team knocked off one of its main rivals in the Middle Border Conference last week and the Tigers nearly knocked off the MBC leader. The Tigers scored a 1-0 win over long-time MBC rival Osceola on Tuesday. The Tigers carried the momentum from that win into the opening minutes of Thursday's game with MBC leader Hayward. The Tigers scored twice in the first 15 minutes of the game against the Hurricanes.
The goals for the Somerset track teams are slightly different, but both squads plan to be among the contenders for the 2012 Middle Border Conference championships. The 2012 MBC track meet will be held at Osceola next Tuesday. The Spartan boys have been aiming at the conference meet all season and their expectations have not changed. "If we take care of ourselves, we expect to contend," said Somerset boys coach Mike Holmquist.
The Middle Border Conference boys golf contenders have been upping the pressure, but the New Richmond boys have been matching the improvements made by the other MBC teams. The Tigers maintained a six-point lead in the MBC standings after taking second place in one match and second in another match played last week. In last Tuesday's MBC round played at Bristol Ridge Golf Club in Somerset, the Tigers were defeated for the first time in the conference season.
The roll the New Richmond baseball team has been riding was brought to an end by one of the top-ranked teams in the state last Friday. The Tigers won four straight games before taking on Middle Border Conference leader Prescott last Friday. Prescott is ranked third in the state in Division 3 and Friday's 14-4 win raised the Cardinals overall record to 14-1. Prescott leads the MBC with a 10-0 record. Friday's loss leaves the Tigers in third place in the standings with a 6-4 record. It was a positive start for the Tigers at Prescott.
All three of the New Richmond boys tennis team's matches against the other top Middle Border Conference contenders have finished in 4-3 scores, but the Tigers came out on the losing end of all three. Last week the Tigers faced the two leaders in the MBC standings, Baldwin-Woodville and Eau Claire Regis. Both meets ended in 4-3 losses for the Tigers, just as the Tigers' match against Amery had ended the previous week. The match against Regis may have been the Tigers' best overall team performance thus far.
The red-hot New Richmond softball squad continues to rise up the Middle Border Conference standings. The Tigers are 7-1 in their past eight MBC games after conference wins over Prescott and Somerset last week. The win over Prescott was a rare slugging battle, with the Tigers pounding out a 14-9 win. Pitching and defense were the overriding factors against Somerset on Thursday, when the Tigers earned a 4-1 win. These wins move the Tigers into a tie for third place in the MBC standings with an 8-3 record.
Victories last week at the Amery Invitational and its own invitational have the St. Croix Central boys track team thinking they are in good position to repeat as Dunn-St. Croix Conference champions. The 2012 D-SC track meet will be run next Tuesday at Boyceville, beginning at 3:30 p.m. "The goal for the boys is to win it again," said Central co-coach Amanda Webb. "I think we have a really good shot at it." The prospects aren't quite so clear cut for the Panther girls. Webb said there are several teams who go into the D-SC meet quite evenly matched in the battle for the girls title.
The competitive fire hasn't gone out for the winless Somerset girls soccer team. The Spartans find ways to be competitive in nearly every game, but they haven't found a way to come out on the winning end yet. Last Tuesday's game against Middle Border Conference leader Hayward is a prime example. The Spartans put up an excellent fight for much of the game.
Having a well-drained home field was a huge benefit for the St. Croix Central baseball team this week. The Panthers got two extra home games when their opponents' home fields were unplayable due to the recent heavy rains. The Panthers were able to win both of those games. The first of those came last Friday when the Panthers held on for an 8-7 win over Colfax. The second was on Monday, when the Panthers won on the 10-run rule for the first time this season, in a 14-1 win over Glenwood City. The two wins helped the Panthers reach the .500 level in the Dunn-St.