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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Plenty of pack running, especially by the boys teams, was done by New Richmond and Somerset runners during the 2003 Hudson Cross Country Invitational last Tuesday. The position of those packs is what the coaches are looking at. The Tiger boys' pack was in good position, leaving the Tigers in fourth among 10 teams in the meet. The Spartan pack never really moved up in the crowd of runners, leaving Somerset in eighth among the boys teams. New Richmond had their second through fifth runners cross the finish line in a 12-second cluster.
Somerset and Prescott are old rivals, as the two teams that moved into the Middle Border Conference together a year ago. In girls sports this has been a rather spirited rivalry, with Prescott having the upper hand in volleyball the past few years. When the two teams met last Thursday, the Spartan girls decided they were tired of seeing the rivalry go in Prescott's favor. Somerset pulled out two extremely close games at the start and ended up winning the match three games to one. With the win the Spartans climb to 2-1 in the MBC.
New Richmond's girls golfers overtook Amery in the final week of the season to win their second straight Middle Border Conference championship. The Tigers clinched the 2003 championship by winning the MBC tournament, played last Wednesday at the Hammond Golf Club. Despite wildly windy conditions, the Tigers were able to shoot a 387. Amery was well behind the Tigers, finishing second with a 412. St.
The Roy Griak Invitational is one of the most prestigious cross country meets in the midwest. It's also one of the largest meets. New Richmond's cross country teams competed in the Griak Invitational on Saturday, a meet hosted by the University of Minnesota. The Tiger runners found themselves sometimes swallowed up in the large crowd of runners. There were 439 runners in the boys high school meet and 399 runners in the girls high school race. "I think our boys got a little lost in the numbers.
One of the biggest passing days in the past quarter century fueled a huge comeback that carried the St. Croix Central football team to a 31-24 win at Glenwood City last Friday. With the win the Panthers are now 2-1 in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference, needing two more wins to qualify for the state football playoffs. The Panthers will try for their third straight win this Friday, when they play at home.
The first reward for the work of the young St. Croix Central football team came on Friday. The Panthers gave their home fans reason to celebrate by playing well in all aspects of the game during their 27-6 win over Unity. Offense, defense and special teams all had a big role in Central's win. It was special teams that struck the first big blow of the game. Late in the first quarter Central linebacker Cameron Sarnstrom broke through Unity's line to block a punt at the Unity 11. Two plays later, sophomore Craig Myer scored on a 9-yard run.
The New Richmond girls tennis team has locked up a share of the Middle Border Conference for 2003. But their business isn't complete. The Tigers played their final MBC match on Tuesday afternoon against Unity. The Tigers sewed up a share of the MBC title on Monday at Durand, completing a match that had been started last Thursday. Rain halted that match with the one and two doubles matches still being contested. At that point the Tigers held a 3-2 lead. Those doubles teams travelled to Durand on Monday to finish the match.
All is Wells for the New Richmond football team. Junior Danny Wells zig-zagged through Durand's kickoff coverage unit for an 80-yard touchdown to give the Tigers a 27-20 lead in last Friday's game. Then with Durand trying to match for a touchdown in the final minutes, senior linebacker Tommy Wells, Danny's older brother, intercepted a Durand pass to snuff out the Panthers' final hope in the game. The win raises the Tigers to 1-1 in the Middle Border Conference.
Those booming sounds you were hearing last Thursday weren't just thunder. The volleyball match between New Richmond and Baldwin-Woodville featured some of the hardest hitting ball seen in the area in recent years. This was like two boxers standing toe-to-toe, pounding their opponent with their best shots. There were dozens of absolutely wicked spikes in the game. Just as impressive was the way that both teams were able to dig up some of those big hits. New Richmond was able to beat the Blackhawks by having more accurate hitters and a more varied attack.
One of the brightest indications of the turnaround in the Somerset volleyball program came last week. The Spartans played three matches last week and won all three. The week was completed with a sweep of a match at Ellsworth, moving the Spartans' record in the Middle Border Conference to 1-1 for the season. The win at Ellsworth showed how the Spartans are improving at their basic skills. They only had two serve receiving errors in the 15-10, 15-10, 15-8 win.