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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Over the past two seasons, the St. Croix Central volleyball team was one of the youngest teams in the Middle Border Conference. But through those seasons, the Panthers were learning and growing. Most of the other teams were hit hard by graduation from last year's team, while Central brings back nearly its entire lineup. It's a roster filled with seniors and juniors and it's a group with high expectations. "Their goal is to win conference," said fourth year Central coach Mindy Widiker.
The first two games of the 2017 football season have taught us three things about the Somerset football team. First, the Spartans have a tremendous offense. Second, the Spartan defense needs work. Lots and lots and lots of work.
The team sponsored by Hometown Investments is the champion of the women's golf league for 2017 at the New Richmond Golf Club. Team members are Diana Johnston, Deb Schock, Cathy Bauer, Tawnya Unruh, Jeanne Clark, Paula Edson, Sheila Munson, Bev Beuning and Kali Kocmoud, Kris Thomas.
With non-conference wins over Durand and Elk Mound neatly put away, the St. Croix Central football team now turns its focus to the real business of its season.
The instructions were clear for the New Richmond girls golf team at last Thursday's Middle Border Conference match: play more aggressively. The Tigers did just that, led by Maggie Veenendall and Ashley Swiggum, in winning their second straight MBC match to start the season. The Tigers won the match by shooting a 186, finishing 15 strokes ahead of second place Ellsworth. Veenendall produced her best round of the season thus far, shooting a 36. Swiggum made a big jump, shooting a 42, the best round of her career by three strokes.
With two matches of the Middle Border Conference girls golf circuit completed, the Ellsworth squad has implanted itself firmly in second place in the MBC standings. This is familiar territory for the Panthers. Ellsworth finished second to New Richmond in the MBC standings in 2016 and the Panthers are hoping to put more pressure on New Richmond this season. "I'd like to take a few wins away from them this year. I think we can do that," Ellsworth coach Carson Huppert said.
The strong non-conference schedule played by the New Richmond girls tennis team is beginning to pay off. The Tigers had one of their best finishes ever in the annual Eau Claire Memorial tournament held over the weekend. The Tigers brought home medals earned with their third place performance in the tournament played Friday and Saturday, Aug. 25-26.
Runners of all ages are going to make an impact for the New Richmond cross country teams this fall. The New Richmond girls had five freshmen in the varsity lineup in the season-opening meet on Saturday, Aug. 26 in Eau Claire and that young group did extremely well. The Tiger boys had at least one runner from all four classes competing in the varsity lineup on Saturday and the Tiger boys also gave a solid performance.
The Somerset boys soccer team is learning on the fly with an extremely young team. The Spartans were able to win one of their four games in the opening week of the season, topping Arcadia 3-1 in the Somerset quad meet on Saturday, Aug. 26. Somerset's season opened last Tuesday with a 3-0 loss at Menomonie. That was followed by a non-conference 3-0 loss at Hayward on Thursday. Somerset got its win in the opening round of Saturday's quad, before losing 4-1 in the second round against Medford.
In recent seasons, low numbers have forced the Somerset cross country teams to concentrate on individual goals. But with their numbers up, and many of their top runners returning, this is a season the Somerset runners can focus as much on their team goals as their individual goals. The Spartans did find success individually last year, particularly Anya Swanson. Swanson is the reigning Middle Border Conference girls champion. She placed second in 2015 behind Amery's Alicia Monson, who went on to win the WIAA Division 2 state championship.