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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It was a banner season for the New Richmond volleyball team, capturing the program's first conference championship in more than a decade. The outstanding performance by the Tigers was recognized in the all-conference voting, with five Tigers named to the 2009 All-Middle Border Conference team. The Tigers had one of the best senior classes in the team's history and five of the team's seniors were chosen for the All-MBC team.
Somerset football coach Bruce Larson is fond of saying that a handful of plays decide each football game. Three long runs by Northwestern and two turnovers by Somerset were the deciding plays in Saturday's WIAA Division 4 Level 3 playoff game. Northwestern was able to use those pivotal plays to defeat Somerset 21-14. The loss ends Somerset's season, while Northwestern moves on to this Saturday's state semifinal game against Kewaunee. The winner of Saturday's game will face the winner of the semifinal game between Big Foot and Lodi.
Luke Fritsche has a passion for basketball. Last year he coached the St. Croix Central girls C team. This year Fritsche is moving up to serve as the Panthers' varsity girls coach. Fritsche takes over the varsity position from Shannon Donnelly. Donnelly resigned following last season to devote her time to her two young children. Fritsche takes over a team that has a number of assets, particularly quickness and experience. Among the returning players from last season are Sarah Hawkins, Nikki Brooks, Lindsay Chinander, Ashley Adkins and Miranda Holzer.
Her name appears so often as "Brie Crichton, accompanist" in Somerset High School events, it wouldn't be surprising if some people thought Brie Crichton's last name was accompanist. Crichton is a gifted pianist who has graced many Somerset school activities with her musical skills during her high school years. When the Somerset High School performance of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" takes the stage this week, Crichton will be playing piano in the orchestra pit.
The Somerset football team advanced to level 3 of the WIAA Division 4 state playoffs with a rousing 47-8 win over Bloomer last Saturday. The Spartans (10-1) will play at Northwestern (11-0) in the third round of tournament play. Saturday's game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Northwestern High School is located in the community of Maple, which is located just east of Superior near the Lake Superior shore. Somerset missed a couple early chances in the first half of Saturday's 47-8 win over Bloomer (9-2).
Ayla Mitchell won the individual title for the second time in three years as the UW-Oshkosh women's cross country team finished third at the WIAC Championship held Saturday in Whitewater. Mitchell, a senior from New Richmond, ran away from this year's group of participants. She coasted to the finish line with a 6,000-meter time of 22:00. She also finished first at the meet in 2007 and second in 2008. With her latest victory, Mitchell becomes the fifth UW-Oshkosh runner to claim multiple WIAC titles.
Somerset's Ontario "Tia" Belter had the same problem at the 2009 WIAA State Cross Country Championships on Saturday that her teammate, Monica Emerson, had last year. They didn't have each other to run with at the state meet. Belter and Emerson are nearly inseperable as runners. They run together in the cross country and track seasons and they do nearly all of their off-season distance work together. The proof they're inseperable even shows in their state results. Belter finished 64th in the 2009 girls Division 2 state meet, with a time of 16:27.
Between college and juniors, there are a dozen or more local players who are continuing their involvement in hockey. Here's a rundown: Kyle Ensign, University of Nebraska-Omaha Ensign is a sophomore defenseman for the Mavericks. He saw action in 20 games last season and looks to be among the team's top six defensemen to start this season. UNO is a national power, ranked 12th in NCAA Division 1 last week. The Mavericks are coached by Dean Blais, who coached the University of North Dakota to national championships in 1997 and 2000. UNO has had great success recruiting in Wisconsin.
The return to the WIAA playoffs after a seven-year absence wasn't a smashing success for the New Richmond football team. Last Tuesday the Tigers travelled to Black River Falls. Five turnovers by the New Richmond boys led to a 48-6 thumping at the hands of Black River Falls in the opening round of Division 3 playoff action. New Richmond ends the season with a 4-6 record. They reached the playoffs based on their 4-3 record within the Middle Border Conference. Black River Falls was not a good personnel matchup for the Tigers.