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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With 30 players in grades 10-12, the New Richmond football team knows every member of their squad is being counted upon to contribute in the 2012 season. The low number of players isn't lowering the Tigers' expectations. Tiger coach Jason Eckert said he believes the team can be a contender in the Middle Border Conference. "If we stay healthy, I still expect us to compete toward the top of our conference, to be a playoff team," Eckert said.
Mention football rankings around Somerset coach Bruce Larson at your own risk. The Spartans are the top-ranked Division 3 team in the state in the WSN pre-season football rankings. That is based largely upon Somerset's second place finish in the WIAA state championships last November, but for the Spartans it provides more of a warning than a reason for satisfaction. "Rankings don't mean anything," Larson said bluntly. "We don't even talk about it.
The rallying cry for the St. Croix Central football team this season could be "Remember 2007." The current Panther players may have been middle schoolers back then, but the Panther coaches don't want the 2012 team to fall into the same trap that befell the 2007 team. In 2006, the Central football team won its first conference championship since 1988. Many of the team's key players returned in 2007, but the success didn't.
Teachers in Somerset have spent their summer taking training to stay current with the rapidly changing scenario in education. School District Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Trish Sheridan said a large number of staff members have taken part in a wide array of professional development opportunities promoted by the school district. Because there had been so much change in technology in recent years, training in the technological areas like SMARTBoard usage have been a focus in those summers.
Area outdoorsmen have a nearby haven at the Willow River Rod and Gun Club. One of the long-standing activities at WRRGC reached a milestone when the Summer Archery League held its 30th season. The season was completed on Sunday with its annual league shoot-out on Sunday. One hundred twenty league members took part in the 30-target shoot. With four divisions, archers of all skill levels compete in the league. There is an impressive group of archers making up the A League. Eric Gibson finished the year as the top scorer with a 291.5 average.
With nearly 200 youngsters taking part, the youth golf programs at the New Richmond Golf Club continue to flourish. This year there were 164 kids taking part in the Tiger Youth Program, which is for kids ages 8-13. There were 20 more golfers in the Accelerated Junior Program for golfers with more advanced skills. The programs are led by Ross Johnson, NRGC general manager and PGA professional and Scott Cole, PGA professional at NRGC.
In the ultimate of pressure situations, the New Richmond Millers received one of their best pitching performances in decades. With the game dubbed "Win or Die" by the Millers, they left the battlefield victorious, triumphant in a 4-0 win over the Osceola Braves at Citizens Field last Friday. The mission was simple for the Millers. If they defeated the Braves, they would advance to the Wisconsin Baseball Association state playoffs for the first time since 2009.
In this age of sports specialization, the St. Croix Central volleyball program has taken a new step in the progression of its sport. The Panthers will have two head coaches this season. Julia Foley and Laura Lee will share the head coaching role for the Panthers this season. They served together in a similar role with the Panther C team last year. The coaches said at the conclusion of their WIAA-allotted summer contact days last week that they think their differing experience and expertise fit well in directing a team together.
The father-son duo of Brian and Austin Headlee proved to be precision marksmen again this year in the 2012 United States Rimfire Association IR 50-50 Wisconsin State Championships, held at the Willow River Rod and Gun Club near New Richmond on July 7. Rimfire shooting is conducted with highly modified .22 rifles. There are two areas of competition, shooting in distances measured in yards and meters. Eighteen competitors from four states took part in the July 7 event. There are three weight classes in which competitors can compete, based on the weight of their rifle.
Forty years ago, Title IX was adopted, providing for gender equity in all publicly-funded athletic opportunities. While the majority of the attention has been devoted to how hard women had to work to be treated equally in college and professional athletics, the battle was equally as difficult at the high school level. Here we will chronicle the rise of girls sports at New Richmond High School, largely through the views of two of the coaches who have been involved since the beginning of the fight.