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 assignment was pretty clear for the Somerset football team. Show that you are playoff ready. The Spartans took care of that assignment, and did a whole lot more, in bludgeoning Osceola 60-7 in their regular season finale last Friday. With the win the Spartans are undisputed champions of the Middle Border Conference, their fifth straight MBC title. Friday's game at Osceola showed the offensive firepower the Spartans have been seeking.
The St. Croix Central boys ran with a great sense of purpose in trying to win the 2011 Dunn-St. Croix Conference Cross Country Meet, which the Panthers hosted last Thursday. The only problem was the Colfax boys ran just as intently to win the conference title. The Panther boys earned a hard-fought second place in this year's D-SC meet. The Panther girls also put together one of their best races of the season to finish fourth in the meet. Central coach Bill Emery said the boys were downhearted over not winning the title, but they understood that they ran well and Colfax met their challenge.
Last season, the New Richmond boys soccer team upset Chippewa Falls in the WIAA Division 1 playoffs. The Tigers put up another strong effort against Chippewa Falls when they met in the second round of this year's playoffs, but this time the Tigers couldn't pull off the upset. Chippewa Falls defeated the Tigers 2-1 in last Thursday's regional championship game. Chippewa Falls is scheduled to host Wausau West at 7 p.m.
Sophomore Alex Wheeler produced the best single round ever scored by a New Richmond girls golf player at the WIAA State Golf Championships when she shot a 79 in the second round of the state meet last week. Wheeler finished tied for 29th in the Division 1 state tournament, which was played last Monday and Tuesday at University Ridge Golf Course in Madison. She finished with a score of 171 for her two-day total. Seventy-eight girls played in the Division 1 state tournament. Wheeler started the tournament by shooting a 92 on the opening day of the tournament.
Somerset seniors Tia Belter and Jake Wishard earned all-conference honors during the 2011 Middle Border Conference Cross Country Meet, held last Thursday in Amery. The Somerset boys placed sixth in the conference meet while the girls team finished eighth. The sixth place finish for the boys was a definite highlight, according to Somerset coach Diane Belter. "That's the best I've seen them race as a group in quite a while," Belter said. "They all ran this course like they liked it." Wishard led the Spartans, placing eighth to earn second team all-conference laurels.
After their standout performance in a recent win over Boyceville, the St. Croix Central volleyball team was hoping to string together two wins at the end of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference season. The Panthers couldn't find the magic they had against Boyceville when they played at Colfax last Thursday. The Panthers gave a spirited battle in the first game at Colfax, but lost 28-26. That loss seemed to take the edge off the Panthers' desire.
New Richmond volleyball coach Bob Fisher is an eternal optimist. And this season, that's been one of the few things that's saved his sanity. The inconsistent Tigers struggled through one of their most difficult Middle Border Conference matches of the season last Thursday. The Tigers lost their home finale to Baldwin-Woodville in three games. The Senior Night crowd saw the Tigers lose 25-14, 25-10, 25-21. A discussion later in the week found Fisher quite enthused. "We came back with our best practice of the season the next day," Fisher said.
The Somerset boys soccer team put up a good fight, but couldn't pull off an upset in the opening round of the WIAA Division 2 regional tournaments last Tuesday. The Spartans, seeded seventh in the regional bracket, lost at Ashland by a 4-1 score. The Oredockers were seeded second in the bracket. In Thursday's regional final, Ashland was upset by Osceola, 2-1, with the game decided in a shootout. That sets up an all-Middle Border Conference sectional tournament semifinal game. Osceola will play at Amery at 4 p.m.
Opening pairings of the WIAA state football playoffs have finally been completed. New Richmond will play at Menomonie at 7 p.m. on Friday in the opening round of Division 2 playoff action. Somerset and St. Croix Central will both get home games in the first round of Division 4 action. Somerset hosts Unity at 7 p.m. on Friday. St. Croix Central will be visited by Baldwin-Woodville at 3 p.m. on Saturday. New Richmond (4-3 in Middle Border Conference, 4-5 overall) faces a Menomonie team that tied for the Big Rivers Conference championship.
The St. Croix Central football team completed its first perfect regular season with a 20-7 win over Spring Valley on Thursday. The Panthers now await word on where they will be seeded in the WIAA football playoff pairings. The playoff brackets are expected to be announced just before midnight this Friday. The first round of playoffs will be played on Saturday, Oct. 22. The Panthers finish the regular season as undisputed Dunn-St. Croix Conference champions.