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 three relay teams and six individuals qualifying for the 2006 WIAA State and Track and Field Championships, the Somerset track teams should be a force in the Division 2 meet this Friday and Saturday in La Crosse. Somerset will be represented by a total of 10 girls after only having one girl compete at state last year. That was Megan Plourde, who ended up winning the Division 2 state high jump championship.
Neither the Somerset nor St. Croix Central boys golf teams were able to advance any golfers to the sectional level in 2006. Somerset and Central played in the Osceola Division 2 Regional Tournament last Tuesday at Krooked Kreek Golf Club. Somerset finished seventh among the 10 teams in the regional, with St. Croix Central placing eighth. Somerset freshman David Moulton did make a major push to be an individual qualifier to the sectional tournament.
The New Richmond girls soccer team earned its first-ever WIAA tournament win last Thursday, then was defeated in the WIAA regional championships on Saturday morning. The Tigers opened the Division 2 regionals last Thursday with a 4-3 overtime win at Spooner, a team that had beaten the Tigers the previous week. That win moved the Tigers into the regional championship game against top seed Hayward. The Tigers kept the game close through the first half, trailing 1-0 at halftime.
The difference between having 20 games in for Eau Claire Memorial's spring team, compared to one full practice in for New Richmond's summer team, showed last Tuesday when these two teams met in New Richmond's season opener. Memorial pounded out six runs in the top of the first inning. The Tigers gradually settled in, but Memorial was able to put away a 10-0 win in five innings. The Old Abes came into the game with a reputation as an excellent hitting team and they lived up to their reputation. The first two batters of the game crushed triples to the right-centerfield alley.
Drew Baillargeon is tuned in to history. Whether it's his family tradition or whether it's his deep curiosity of the American Civil War, the 2006 Somerset High School valedictorian knows his subject. That has led to his future plans of attending the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, with plans of becoming a history teacher. Being valedictorian is becoming a family tradition. Drew is the second of his siblings to earn this honor. His sister, Bethany, was also an SHS valedictorian.
In terms of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference baseball standings, it robbed Amery of a chance of the outright conference championships. In terms of the St. Croix Central baseball program, last Tuesday's 10-8 win over Amery was a huge step in the maturation process of the Panthers. Central has been able to beat most of the teams that reside lower in the standings than the Panthers.
Sophomore Kyle Mitchell won the Middle Border Conference championship at four singles and two other Tiger entries took second place in the 2006 MBC tournament, played last Tuesday in Durand. Juniors Blake Berger and Jake Kleiner took second place for the Tigers at one doubles. Seniors Tom Skoglund and Brent Nordquist took second place at three doubles. Freshman Trevor Anderson took second place for the Tigers at three singles. Mitchell was seeded second at four singles and received an opening round bye. That meant he didn't play his opening match until mid-afternoon.
The New Richmond girls softball team gave every indication it was playoff ready during its final regular season game, a 2-0 win over Glenwood City last Tuesday. With this non-conference win, the Tigers finish the regular season with a 17-3 record. All three losses came in non-conference games. Glenwood City was one of the top teams in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference this season and they gave the Tigers a good battle. The Hilltopper hitters were no match for New Richmond pitcher Nikki Singerhouse. Glenwood City was able to get two baserunners in the game.
After going most of the season without a win, the Somerset girls soccer team has turned things around quite completely. The Spartans have three wins, one loss and one tie in their last five games. Last week the Spartans tied New Richmond 3-3 and they defeated Osceola 4-2. The tie with New Richmond could be viewed as quite an achievement for the Spartans, considering that New Richmond beat them 9-1 when they met the first time this season. Somerset jumped to a 3-1 lead in the first half against New Richmond last Tuesday.
The New Richmond girls and the Osceola boys are the 2006 Middle Border Conference track champions. The 2006 MBC Track Meet was run Tuesday at New Richmond High School. New Richmond's girls won their title in a close battle with Somerset and Ellsworth. New Richmond finished strong to roll up 129 points. Somerset, the surprise leader for much of the meet, finished second with 110 points. Ellsworth took third place with 109 points. Osceola led the boys race through the entire meet, though the Chieftains withstood a late charge from New Richmond.