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 field of teams was cut in half, but the New Richmond boys track team was happy to win the championship in the Ellsworth Invitational on Monday. The meet had been postponed last Friday because of heavy rainstorms. The meet on Monday was still run in spotty rain showers. New Richmond's boys scored 113.5 points to win the meet, with Ellsworth placing second with 93 points. There were nine schools originally scheduled to compete in the meet on Friday. On Monday, there were five boys teams and four girls teams taking part. The Tiger girls took fourth place in the meet.
Monday's 6-2 win against Mondovi keeps the St. Croix Central baseball team one game out of first place in the large school division of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference. The Panthers had a chance to move into a tie for the D-SC lead when Elk Mound suffered its first loss of the season against Boyceville last Thursday.
Progress. That's what the St. Croix Central track coaches are looking for in the middle of the season. And the coaches believe they are seeing progress. The Panthers competed in the Baldwin-Woodville Invitational last Tuesday, with the Central boys taking third place and the girls taking fourth place among the six schools entered in their halves of the meet. The veteran athletes continue to be right on schedule. The coaches are gearing the season toward the May 18 Dunn-St. Croix Conference Track Meet. Distance runner Anna Langer is an example for the girls.
While the St. Croix Central softball team continues to tear through Dunn-St. Croix Conference teams like a weed whacker, the Panthers haven't been as successful in non-conference games. The Panthers hosted their home tournament on Saturday and Central's opening effort was not one of its finest moments. The Panthers were outhit and they struggled defensively. That this happened against their neighbors from the east, Baldwin-Woodville, only made matters worse. The Panthers lost the game 7-3. Central did manage to come back in the second round of the tournament to beat Somerset 6-4.
Somerset's softball team continues to show glimmers of becoming a winning team, but wins continue to be elusive for the Spartans. Somerset fell to Osceola 22-11 at Larry Forrest Park in Somerset on Monday. The Spartans are one of three teams tied for fifth place in the Middle Border Conference standings with 3-6 records. Defense was the main issue for the Spartans in Monday's game. The Spartans led at the end of the first two innings, but defensive breakdowns in the outfield led to several big innings for the Chieftains. Somerset led 3-1 after one inning and 5-4 after two innings.
The Middle Border Conference boys golf race remains knotted at the top with Osceola, Somerset and New Richmond all packed tightly among the leaders. New Richmond led the conference standings until Monday, when Osceola took over first place. Osceola took that step by winning a quad meet at the Amery Golf Club, where Somerset took second place and New Richmond finished third. Osceola won Monday's match on the par-37 Amery course by shooting a 158. Somerset finished at 163, followed by New Richmond at 169 and Amery at 178.
With their 4-0 win at Baldwin-Woodville on Monday, the Somerset girls soccer team has moved into a pack of teams in the lower half of the Middle Border Conference standings. If the Spartans can carry Monday's strong play into their next few games, they are in a position to hurdle past several teams in the MBC standings. Monday's win was a textbook example of the style coach Erin Wilson has been developing with the Spartans. She has been working with the team to possess the ball, make smart passes and limit the amount of time the opponent has the ball in the Spartans' end of the field.
The New Richmond baseball team took on three of the top contenders in the Middle Border Conference over the past week and beat them all, moving into a tie for the MBC leadership. On Monday Ellsworth, which was undefeated in MBC action, met the Tigers at Citizens Field. The Tigers were sharper in all aspects of the game, leading to an 11-4 win over the Panthers. New Richmond and Ellsworth are now tied at the top of the MBC standings with 5-1 records. Somerset is third at 4-2. Hitting was clearly in the Tigers' favor in this game.
Being a fan of the New Richmond softball team is not for the weak hearted. The Tigers played dramatic games against Somerset and Ellsworth in recent days, with each game ending in an 8-7 score. Last Thursday the Tigers built up an 8-2 lead then held on desperately to hold off Somerset's comeback as the Tigers won 8-7. On Monday it was the Tigers who tried to come back, but they fell one run short in their bid, losing at Hatfield Park to Ellsworth 8-7. The Tigers have a couple veteran players and are working in several young players.
The New Richmond track teams showed what they could do when they were at full strength on Friday. The Tigers won both halves of their home invitational meet against four other teams. New Richmond's boys won by a 57-point margin over second place Rice Lake.