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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Somerset's Megan Plourde was involved in one of the memorable individual battles of the 2007 WIAA Division 2 State Track Meet on Friday at UW-La Crosse. Plourde was the state champion in the high jump in 2005. She ended up battling Becca Buchholtz of East Troy, the 2006 state champion, in one of the showdowns that set the stage for a great weekend of individual performances at the state meet. Buchholtz was able to top Plourde and win the state championship, but she needed to set a new state record to get the win. Somerset was represented in 10 events at the 2007 state meet.
New Richmond seniors Blake Berger and Jake Kleiner became the fourth Tiger doubles team in eight years to place at the WIAA Division 2 State Tennis Individual Championships. Kleiner and Berger received their sixth place state medals at the conclusion of the Division 2 tournament at Nielsen Stadium in Madison last Saturday. Kleiner and Berger complete their season with a 23-4 record. The Tiger tandem won three of their five matches at the state tournament.
Many of the eight New Richmond entries at the 2007 WIAA State Track and Field Championships ran times that matched or exceeded the times they ran to get them to the state track meet. The Tigers again found out that competing at the Division 1 level in track is a huge step up from Division 2. The best finish for the Tigers at the state meet was the ninth place performance by junior Brian Figueroa in the boys 200 meter dash. The Tiger boys were also represented at state by Jake Miller in the 100 meters and Trey Brotzler in the 800 meters.
The St. Croix Central baseball team has advanced to the sectional level in WIAA tournaments for the first time in school history. The Panthers earned their first-ever regional championship last Wednesday when they blazed their way past Spring Valley 11-1 in the regional final. That win moved Central into the Osseo-Fairchild Division 3 sectional tournament. Central was scheduled to face Eau Claire Regis in the first sectional semifinal at Osseo on Tuesday. Cameron and Ladysmith were set to play in the second sectional semifinal.
Pitching was expected to be the backbone of the 2007 New Richmond High School baseball season. After two games, the hitting looks like it will be much better than expected for the Tigers this season. The Tigers opened their season last Tuesday at Baldwin-Woodville. This game was suspended due to darkness in the top of the seventh inning, with the Tigers leading 9-5. The game will be completed on June 21, before the start of the Tigers' home game with the Blackhawks. Last Thursday the Tigers played at Siren as part of New Richmond's one-year membership in the Lakeland Conference.
Somerset will be well represented at the 2007 WIAA State Track Meet in La Crosse this Friday and Saturday. The Spartans will be competing in 10 events at the state meet. The Spartan girls team was able to qualify six events for the state meet and the Spartan boys were able to get four events to the state meet. Advancing to state as individuals for the Spartan girls are senior Brianna Johnson in the 100 hurdles, junior Cambrya Belter in the 1600, junior Megan Plourde in the high jump and sophomore Gina Hanzlik in the long jump.
With eight events advancing, including three girls relays and five individual events, the New Richmond track teams had a nearly perfect day at the 2007 Eau Claire North Division 1 Track Sectional Meet last Thursday. The Tiger girls are sending their 400, 800 and 1600 meter relay teams. The girls will also be represented in two open races at state by sophomore McKenzie Kelly. New Richmond's boys have three individuals who have qualified for state.
The decision has been made. The New Richmond High School baseball program will become a spring program, beginning in 2008. Ultimately, there was no decison to be made. Last week the Baldwin-Woodville Board of Education voted to move its baseball program from summer to spring. That left New Richmond as the lone summer program, making the move inevitable. New Richmond moved to summer ball when the WIAA first offered the option in 1981. New Richmond athletic director John Ball, who has coached the baseball team through its entire summer existence, said the move benefitted every spring sport.
New Richmond seniors Blake Berger and Jake Kleiner have earned a return trip to the WIAA Division 2 Individual State Boys Tennis Tournament. But there's a big difference from last year. Last year they were juniors who were just beginning to mature as a tandem. This year they head to state as sectional champions. Last Thursday they swept their three matches in the sectional tournament, including beating undefeated La Crosse Aquinas in the championship match. This earned them the sectional championship at one doubles in the New Richmond Division 2 Sectional Tournament.
The title "Middle Border Conference champions" that the New Richmond boys golf team carried into the Division 1 regional tournament didn't cause the Tigers' opponents to wilt with fear. The Tigers were playing with the big boys now. Playing primarily against the teams from the Big Rivers Conference, the Tigers finished last in the nine-team field at last Wednesday's Hudson Division 1 Regional Tournament. In the regional tournament the Tigers struggled from the start. The Tigers finished with a score of 365.