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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Rain shortened a highly promising meet for the St. Croix Central track teams at Colfax last Thursday. The Panthers put together their top lineup for the meet and it was clearly showing. The Panthers were leading in both halves of the meet when rain and wet conditions caused meet officials to call the meet after the running of the 400 meter dash. Central's boys were dominating. They had already piled up 120 points, considerably more than Glenwood City, which was in second place with 57 points.
There has been definite improvement in the play of the Somerset girls soccer team this season. But to become consistent winners, the Spartans need to bring their A-game every game. That wasn't the case when the Spartans played at Barron last Tuesday. Without a top effort, the Spartans ended up suffering a 2-1 loss to the Bears. Somerset coach Erin Wilson was hoping this would be the day the Spartans earned their first Middle Border Conference win. Instead, their record dropped to 0-5-1.
The 0-2 start for the St. Croix Central baseball team in Dunn-St. Croix Conference play is long-forgotten. The Panthers earned their third straight D-SC win on Monday, pulling out a thriller with two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Mondovi 8-7. The three wins move the Panthers up to third place in the D-SC large school division. Central got a break to start the bottom of the seventh inning when Anthony Phillips reached on an error. He moved up on a wild pitch and scored the tying run on a single by Alex Adkins.
Playing a challenging pre-season schedule paid early dividends for the New Richmond boys tennis team. The Tigers won their opening Middle Border Conference match, rolling past a short-handed Ellsworth program 6-1 at the NRHS courts. Last Thursday's Tiger home match against Amery was rained out and will be played this Friday. That comes a day after the Tigers host Durand in a conference match.
A three-game losing streak knocked the St. Croix Central softball team off course, but the Panthers appear to have found their way again. The Panthers suffered their third straight loss last Tuesday against Pepin, which appears to be one of the top teams in this part of the state. In last Thursday's rainstorm, the Panthers played host to Glenwood City. The rain made for a sloppy game, but the Panthers showed some willpower, pulling out a 9-8 win. The Panthers got to play under much better conditions on Monday and their play shined as brightly as the sun.
With some major meets looming on the horizon, the Somerset track teams used last Tuesday's quad meet in Osceola to fine tune some of the aspects of their lineup. The Spartans finished second in both halves of the meet, behind Osceola in each case. For the Spartan boys, sharpening the team's performances in the relay events was a main objective in this meet. Spartan coach Mike Holmquist said the team's relay lineups are set. What legs the runners will get is still to be determined. At Osceola, the relays were looking to sharpen their handoffs to reduce their times.
The 17-5 win by the New Richmond baseball team over Durand last week is a start. But it is just the first step in the improvement the Tigers are looking to make this season. The win was followed up by losses to Menomonie and Prescott, leaving the Tigers with a 1-4 record after the first two full weeks of the regular season. The win over Durand was proof for the Tigers that they can put together some big innings. They opened the game with two runs in the first inning. The rest of the scoring came in two major bursts.
With a win and two ties in their last three games, the New Richmond girls soccer team appears to be overcoming the lack of offense that led to an 0-4 start this season. The Tigers earned their first win of the season last Tuesday, knocking off one of the Middle Border Conference leaders. Superior was unbeaten in the MBC until the Tigers dealt the Spartans a 2-1 defeat. On Thursday the Tigers followed up their win with a hard-fought 1-1 tie at Somerset. New Richmond got the early advantage on Superior and kept it throughout the game. The Tigers scored in the first five minutes of the game.
Anticipation ran high through the Somerset track teams as they prepared for the Hudson True Team Invitational last Friday. This is a meet that measures depth on the team and the Spartans, especially the boys team, was almost giddy at the chance to prove what it could do against much larger schools from western Wisconsin and the Twin Cities. The Spartans proved they can compete evenly with some of the best programs in the area. The boys team placed third in the meet, behind Hudson and River Falls, while beating vaunted programs like Hill-Murray and Park of Cottage Grove.
A triangular meet at UW-Stout last Thursday became the perfect opportunity for the New Richmond track coaches to become prospectors. The coaches worked a number of younger athletes into their lineup for this meet, hoping to strike gold in the form of identifying athletes who can help them in the pursuit of the Middle Border Conference championships. Both Tiger coaching staffs found several prospects who showed they have the potential to help the team in the long run.