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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The Somerset volleyball team has opened the 2007 season on a roll. Last Tuesday the Spartans won their season opener at St. Croix Central in three games. The Panthers then went to the Spring Valley Invitational on Saturday and captured the championship by winning all five of their matches. In the tournament the Spartans scored wins over Boyceville, Clear Lake, Spring Valley, Hudson and Colfax. They lost the opening game to Spring Valley, a top quality defensive team that was digging up a high percentage of Somerset's hits.
There's having high hopes. Then there's backing up those high hopes. The New Richmond boys soccer team is setting its goals quite high for the 2007 season. In the first two games of the season, the Tigers have every reason to believe they'll follow through on those high hopes. The Tigers outscored their opponents 12-0 in winning the first two games of their season. Last Tuesday the Tigers went to Rice Lake and rolled past the Warriors, 5-0.
Legend is a word that's thrown around too freely in sports. But there are people who fully deserve the title of "Legend." Former UCLA men's basketball coach John Wooden is thought of in those terms. He was named as the "Coach of the 20th Century" by ESPN. And at age 97, Wooden is still a highly respected speaker. He speaks about basketball, but probably more important to those attending his speeches, he talks about his exceptional ability to lead and motivate people. Somerset boys basketball coach Eric Olson is a disciple of Wooden's Pyramid of Success.
Taking a road trip to Ashland proved to be beneficial for the New Richmond girls tennis team. The Tigers headed north on Friday and played three dual matches at Ashland on Saturday. In addition to this being an excellent team-building exercise, it was validated that the Tigers are bringing back a pretty powerful lineup for 2007. The Tigers won all three of their matches in the tournament on Saturday. The opening match for the Tigers was Ashland. The Tigers started the season in style, sweeping the Oredockers 7-0.
The New Richmond Golf Club opened its new, state of the art driving range to the public with a ceremony last Tuesday. The range will be called "The Joe Swanda Learning Center." It is named after the former NRGC PGA teaching professional who passed away in 2002. Swanda excelled at teaching younger golfers the basics of the game, so it is fitting that this outstanding teaching tool be named in his honor. The driving range is like nothing you'll find at any golf course in the Twin Cities area. It has five target greens, ranging in distance from 40 yards to 275 yards away.
The local girls golf scene opened with tournaments late last week. This is already showing promise of being a highly competitive and entertaining season for girls golf in the area. The New Richmond girls golf team went to Eau Claire last Friday and won the Big Rivers Conference Scramble. The Tigers won the nine-hole scramble format tournament by shooting a score of 33 on the challenging Wild Ridge Course in Eau Claire. Last Thursday the Tiger JV team went to the Barron Scramble, taking fifth place in the tournament.
Members of the Somerset Board of Education aren't ready to talk referendum. That's because they know a large percentage of the community isn't ready to hear talk on that topic. The Board of Education held a special meeting on Aug. 6 to discuss the space crunch that is facing the district, especially at the elementary school.
It was fitting that New Richmond's final game as a WIAA summer baseball team was played in the state tournament. The Tigers were playing in the WIAA State Summer Baseball Championships for their ninth time in 30 years as a summer program. In last Wednesday's state tournament quarterfinal, the Tigers were beaten by the defending state champion, Marquette University School, by a 9-3 score. New Richmond has been a prolific success as a summer program. The Tigers first became a summer program in 1982. All those years were spent under one coach, John Ball.
Jeff Johnston is seeing the USA, one step at a time. Johnston has set a mind-boggling goal of trying to run a marathon in every state. He is well on his way. He has completed 44 of the states and plans on finishing the 50-state goal by the end of 2008. Johnston came up with the idea of running a marathon in every state in November 2002. At that point, he'd already run marathons in four states. He eliminated 11 states in 2003 and has been whittling away at the list each year since then.
One of the finest driving ranges at any golf course in the state will soon be opening at the New Richmond Golf Club. The grand opening for the new 10-acre driving range is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 7. The driving range will be a golfer's dream. It has five target greens, ranging in distance from 40 yards to 275 yards away. This will offer opportunities for golfers of all skill levels. There is also an 8,000-square-foot putting green and a 4,000-square-foot chipping green. "A person can work on every aspect of their game," said NRGC General Manager Ross Johnson.