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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Saturday's Osceola Cross Country Invitational brought out the best in the New Richmond runners. The Tiger girls enjoyed running the 4K distance of their race on Saturday, with many of them setting personal record times. The Tiger boys found that they can be competitive with most of the top teams in the area, even when their two lead runners are sidelined for the meet. New Richmond's girls placed third in the meet, behind Mahtomedi, Minn., and Rice Lake.
If you like drama-packed volleyball matches, the clash between Somerset and Ellsworth at the SHS gym was perfect for you. All four games were close and came down to dramatic finishes. Somerset was able to pull out three of the four wins to start 1-0 in the 2012 Middle Border Conference standings. The crowd got an early indication of the dramatic nature of the match in the first game. Ellsworth held a small lead for much of the game, but Somerset began making its charge when the scores hit 20. Somerset fans yelled "game point" time after time.
Oshkosh is known for having Wisconsin's greatest air show, the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. If St. Croix Central's football team keeps throwing the ball with the success it did on Friday, Oshkosh may soon get second billing. The Panthers threw the ball for 383 yards on Friday as they bombarded Mondovi 40-16. The win lifts Central into second place in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference standings with a 2-1 record. The Panthers will try to add to their win total this Friday when they host Boyceville at 7 p.m.
By winning decisively in their recent games, the Somerset boys soccer team is getting a chance to get more players involved in the team's offense. Last week the Spartans rolled to a pair of wins, beating Hayward 10-1 on Tuesday and winning at Baldwin-Woodville 7-2 on Thursday. While the team's leading scorers each had a showcase game last week, it was equally important to see how more players are getting into the scoring act. In the last two weeks, five different Spartans scored their first varsity goals. Josh Lee, Beau Harris, Thomas Bauer, J.T.
When the New Richmond girls cross country team went to the Rice Lake Invitiational, the Tigers were looking to re-establish themselves as one of the top teams in the area. The girls did just that, finishing in fifth place among the nearly 30 schools competing in last Tuesday's meet. New Richmond's boys were able to place ninth in the meet. This was the Tigers' first race since their own invitational, a meet where the Tiger girls weren't at their strongest.
It's been a long time since the New Richmond boys cross country team has had any hardware it could show off. Earning the second place trophy in the 2012 New Richmond Invitational was doubly sweet for the Tigers, winning the trophy in front of a home crowd on their new course on the New Richmond High School grounds. Both New Richmond junior varsity teams were champions in their races. New Richmond's boys placed second behind North St. Paul in the 14-team field at this year's NRI.
The Ellsworth Panthers were expected to be one Somerset's toughest competitors in the Middle Border Conference title chase this season. Ellsworth found it wasn't ready to run with the Spartans, with Somerset delivering a 32-0 setback for Ellsworth's first loss of the season. Somerset, now 3-0, has outscored opponents 100-31 in its first three games. The Spartans are 2-0 in the MBC and they will try to add a third conference win when they play at New Richmond at 7 p.m.
The importance of one stroke stood out quite clearly in the Middle Border Conference golf match played last Wednesday at Clifton Highlands Golf Club near Prescott. One stroke was all that stood between the New Richmond and Osceola girls teams for the match championship. And with the MBC season now in its final two weeks, team points are becoming precious. New Richmond won the match by shooting a score of 181. Osceola took second place with a 182.
Defensively, the New Richmond football team did everything required to win a game last Friday. But with the Tiger offense struggling badly, an energetic effort from the defense was wasted in a 10-0 loss at Prescott on Friday. The loss drops the Tigers to 0-3 for the season and 0-2 in the Middle Border Conference. The assignment gets much more severe this Friday, when the Tigers host defending MBC champion Somerset. Somerset has scored 100 points in its three games this season, while the Tigers have scored 14. Those points came in the second half of the season-opening loss at River Falls.
The loss to Elk Mound in the opening week of Dunn-St. Croix Conference action left the St. Croix Central football team at a crossroads. The Panthers found their way back to the successful style of football on Friday that made them D-SC champions last year. The Panthers tore into Colfax 40-6 to even Central's D-SC record to 1-1. This Friday the Panthers hope to continue playing at that high level when they travel to Mondovi to face the Buffaloes.