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 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.
Darren Kern has been hired as the new Director of Pupil Services for the Somerset School District. This is a newly created position for the Somerset School District. Peg Bavin is retiring this year as the director of special education for the School District. Her position was a part-time position that the District hired through CESA 11. After Bavin's announcement, the Somerset Board of Education decided to expand the position and make it a staff position. The new position will continue to direct special education.
The New Richmond boys track team has come close to winning the Middle Border Conference Track Meet several times in recent years. This year, the Tigers were able to move to the top of the MBC ranks. They did so convincingly, winning their first boys MBC championship since the 1990 season. The Tigers convincingly won the meet, with a 26-point margin over second place Osceola. The winning combination for the Tigers was getting top individual performances, along with outstanding depth.
Make it a clean sweep for the New Richmond boys tennis team. The Tigers matched their Middle Border Conference dual meet championship with an MBC team tournament championship. The Tigers were the winners in the team tournament at the New Richmond High School courts last Tuesday. Three of the seven flight championships in the team tournament were taken by Tigers. The Tigers were second in three more of the flights, with one third place finish. All seven flights in the tournament produced positive results for the Tigers.