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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In terms of quantity of runners, cross country races don't get much bigger than the Rice Lake Invitational. The New Richmond girls cross country team took third place in their race, finishing 11 points behind meet champion Superior. St. Croix Central senior Brett Johnson also has quite an accomplishment to show off. Johnson was the meet champion at Rice Lake, placing first among 225 boys who finished the meet. Girls meet New Richmond's girls locked into a close battle with Superior, Hudson and Colfax for the meet championship at Rice Lake. Superior earned the team title with 155 points.
Unless you are in high school or are knowledgeable about current music trends, you may have never heard of beatboxing. Around the Twin Cities area, beatbox music is catching on through the performances of Somerset's Nick Wishard. Wishard took a big step in getting his music noticed when he won the open amateur talent competition at the 2010 Minnesota State Fair. Beatboxing is a form of musical percussion. It is all sound effects that Wishard makes into the microphone. Beatboxing began in the 1980s.
The New Richmond girls cross country team earned the championship in their home invitational meet last Thursday. Competition among teammates has been the main driving force for the Tigers this season. This meet also reminded the Tigers that there will be plenty of competition from Middle Border Conference opponents this season. The Tiger girls won the meet with 52 points. Somerset, Osceola and Amery were the third through fifth place teams and all three showed that catching the Tigers is a focus that is inspiring them. The outstanding depth on the Tiger team carried them to the victory.
The Osceola football team used everything in its bag of tricks, but couldn't find enough magic to beat Somerset on Friday. Somerset withstood Osceola's onside kicks, fake punt and kickoff return touchdown to defeat the Chieftains 47-26 at Seibel Field on Friday. This was the Middle Border Conference opener for both teams. The Spartans won with the combination that has been timeless for the program: A well-balanced offense and a productive defense. The offense was led by senior fullback Eric Walczak and the rapidly improving play of quarterback Sean Conrad.
The New Richmond football team had everything going its way in the early-season showdown with Baldwin-Woodville. Unfortunately, the Tigers couldn't complete the task. After leading 21-7 at halftime in Baldwin, the Tiger offense went silent in the second half. B-W rallied, scoring twice in the final minutes to beat the Tigers 27-21. B-W's Jake Keefer caught the winning touchdown with 1:17 left in the game. The Tigers got the ball down inside the B-W 30 in the final seconds.
When the St. Croix Central football coaches installed the spread offense, the intent was to create big plays. The Panthers did that and more on Friday, rolling up 60 points in a 60-28 non-conference win over Cameron at Hammond. The point total is the largest for the Panthers since Tony DiSalvo took over as head coach for the Panthers in 1999. The Panthers were able to strike from anywhere on the field when they had the ball on Friday night. Senior halfback Joe Poulin was lethal, scoring on runs of 70 and 64 yards.
St. Croix Central coach Bill Emery was worried that a week of hard workouts leading into last Thursday's New Richmond Invitational would leave the Panthers with little energy for the race. The Panthers may not have been at their most crisp, but there was enough energy left for the Panther boys to earn the meet championship. They narrowly edged out Ellsworth and Amery.
The best news in a difficult week for the Somerset cross country teams was the third place finish by the Spartan girls at last Thursday's New Richmond Invitational. The Spartan girls finished behind New Richmond and Rice Lake. They did manage to finish just ahead of Osceola, Amery, Prescott and Ellsworth. Those are some of the main Middle Border Conference opponents the Spartans are measuring themselves against every meet. Somerset coach Diane Belter said illness and other factors led to a "tough week" for both Spartan teams.
Bit by bit, the New Richmond girls golf team continues to extend its lead in the Middle Border Conference standings. The Tigers moved another step ahead of second place Osceola last Tuesday with a win at The Links in New Richmond. The Tigers finished the round with a score of 180, 19 strokes ahead of Osceola. Amery was third with a score of 212. The 180 score was made without a spectacular round from the Tigers. The beacons for the Tigers in this match were junior Hannah Wheeler and sophomore Leah Bauer. Wheeler led the Tigers by shooting a 43.
The New Richmond boys soccer team found out how good soccer around the Twin Cities area is on Monday. The Tigers played at Hastings on Monday, the first time the two teams had met. Hastings hadn't won a game this season, but the competition level Hastings faces is nothing like the Tigers see. Hastings was able to score a 2-1 win over the Tigers in Monday's game. Hastings plays in the Suburban East Conference against Twin Cities schools like Stillwater, Woodbury, Cretin-Derham Hall, Edina and Wayzata.