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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Weather pushed the Ellsworth Invitational Track Meet back from Friday to Monday, but that didn't stop the New Richmond track teams from putting together impressive efforts. The Tiger boys were meet champions, edging Osceola by three points for the title. New Richmond's girls took second place in the meet, behind Ellsworth. Because of the rescheduling, only five of the original nine teams expected at the meet were able to compete.
The quest for a third straight undefeated Middle Border Conference championship has reached the halfway point for the New Richmond softball team. The Tigers climbed to 7-0 in the MBC in their stiffest test thus far in the 2008 season. The Tigers went to Baldwin-Woodville and scored a 6-4 win over the Blackhawks. This game featured two of the top pitchers in the MBC. New Richmond pitcher Nikki Singerhouse hasn't lost a game since her freshman season.
The New Richmond boys tennis team is out to a 2-0 start in the Middle Border Conference after wins over Amery and Ellsworth in the past week. The Tigers beat Amery on Monday after the match had been postponed last Thursday and Friday. Monday's conditions weren't optimal for tennis, but the Tigers were able to adjust to the weather in most cases to earn a 6-1 win. In Monday's match the Tigers swept the singles matches and earned wins at the two and three flights in doubles. Kyle Mitchell, Trevor Anderson and Eric Anderson won the top three singles flights without giving up a set.
The Somerset softball team is getting the pitching and hitting to win ball games. But defense and base running continue to draw down the Spartans. The Spartans lost to Osceola 14-12 last Tuesday. They faced the Chieftains again on Monday, losing by a 9-5 score. In Monday's game the Spartans outhit Osceola 11-5. But the Somerset defense put six runners on base with errors. The Spartans also had several other errors and passed balls that kept presenting Osceola with opportunities.
Want an indication of how much the St. Croix Central softball team has improved? When the Panthers faced Colfax in the opening game of the season, Colfax won 7-2. When the two teams met Monday to start the second half of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference season, Central clobbered Colfax 13-0. The win is the fourth straight for the Panthers who have raised their D-SC record to 5-3. Central freshman pitcher Nikki Brooks threw a one-hitter to earn the shutout in the five inning win. Brooks struck out seven Vikings and walked two batters.
The drive toward its third straight Middle Border Conference championship is well underway for the New Richmond girls softball team. The Tigers improved their record to 6-0 in the MBC on Monday with a 12-1 win over Amery. Amery scored once in the top of the first inning, but the rest of the game belonged to the Tigers. New Richmond answered back with four runs in the bottom of the first. From there on, the Tigers were in charge. One of the key factors for the Tigers thus far has been the strong hitting from every player in the lineup.
If there were any doubts that the New Richmond baseball team could successfully make the transfer from summer ball to playing in the spring, the doubts were answered on Monday. On Monday the Tigers knocked off Ellsworth, which had been ranked in the top 10 teams in the state in the pre-season. And it was a decisive win, with the Tigers prevailing 8-2. It looked like the Tigers might be in trouble when Ellsworth scored twice in the first inning and Tiger pitcher Cody Torkelson walked the first two batters of the second inning. Torkelson worked out of that jam, and then he caught fire.
Competing against Division 1 competition is no longer an ominous threat to the New Richmond track teams. When the Tigers first advanced to the WIAA Division 1 level in 2006, there were fears the Tigers would be overmatched. That has proven to not be the case. Case in point: last Tuesday's Eau Claire North Husky Invitational. The Tiger boys won the championship in this tournament, with the Tiger girls taking third place. Boys coach Roger Reuvers said he wasn't expecting to win the meet.
The Somerset girls got to compete in the initial meet at the new track facility at Park-Cottage Grove in the Twin Cities last Tuesday. The Spartans took second place among the five teams in the inaugural event at the Park track, which is expected to be one of the top high school venues in Minnesota. It was a strong performance for the Spartans, who took first place in five of the events.
The Somerset School District has been chosen as one of 12 districts in the nation to lead a national program on autism. The program is the National Professional Development in Autism Spectrum Disorders Project. In the program, 12 school districts around the nation will work with The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders. Three states, Wisconsin, New Mexico and Indiana, were chosen for the first year of the this program.