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 and Osceola boys cross country teams are expected to be two of the teams that will battle for state tournament berths in Division 2 this season. That idea was verified last Thursday, when the Central boys needed strong finishes from each of their top five runners to edge Osceola for the team title in the 2009 St. Croix Central Invitational. Central's boys won the meet with 27 points. Osceola was second with 30 points.
The New Richmond girls team was due, probably overdue, for a breakout round of golf. That round came last Thursday when the Tigers hosted a Middle Border Conference match at The Links. Led by senior Jessica Williams, who shot a school record nine-hole round of 39, the Tigers put together a team score of 188. That put them one shot behind Baldwin-Woodville for the team victory. The second place finish also keeps the Tigers in contention for the MBC season team title. The Tigers are fourth in the MBC with 31 team points.
The Baldwin-Woodville football team played like last Friday's game with St. Croix Central was a key rivalry game. Central's football team didn't. Baldwin-Woodville played with a fiery intensity in last Friday's game, jumping on Central early and never letting up. B-W scored a 34-9 win over Central in the second non-conference game of the season for both teams. Central now turns its attention to its Dunn-St. Croix Conference schedule. Central's first D-SC assignment comes this Friday, when the Panthers play at Boyceville.
Did you ever have someone play keepaway from you when you were a kid? Remember how frustrated you felt? Now you know how the New Richmond football team felt when it played at Rice Lake last Friday. The Tigers couldn't find a way to stop Rice Lake's option offense and the Warriors methodically churned out 20 first downs and four scoring drives. The Tiger offense couldn't find any of the consistency that Rice Lake showed. Rice Lake was able to pound out a 25-0 win over the Tigers. Rice Lake was opening its new athletic facility with Friday's game and the Warriors played inspired ball.
At this point in its development, the New Richmond boys soccer team is in the middle ground of the Middle Border Conference. The Tigers suffered their second loss of the MBC season last Tuesday, to undefeated Amery, 1-0. Two days later, the Tigers scorched one of the newbies in the MBC, sprinting through an inexperienced Baldwin-Woodville team to win 8-0. Clearly, the Tigers are closer to the top teams in the MBC. They lost early in the season to Osceola by a 5-1 score.
The hills overlooking the St. Croix River are an ideal location for growing wine grapes. Martell Vineyards of Somerset was one of the first vineyards in the area to grasp the concept of growing cold hardy wine grapes. Now, a decade later, Tom Martell has been the president of the Minnesota Grape Growers Association for five years. The grape harvest at Martell Vineyards is an annual event that attracts hundreds of volunteers.
There were the flaws you'll find in any team's first game, but the St. Croix Central football team presented several threats in last Friday's season opener that should bode well for the Panthers throughout the season. The Panthers were able to put the ball into the end zone three times, and missed out on several other scoring chances in a 21-6 victory over Ellsworth in last Friday's 2009 opening game at Hammond. Central's main problem in Friday's game was penalties. The Panthers made it rain yellow flags by committing nine penalties.
From coach Bruce Larson's reaction, you would have thought the Somerset football team had been on the losing side of the 46-14 Spartan win in last Friday's season opener at Ladysmith. That is how expectations of the Spartans are going to be this season. Larson said he is expecting a drastically tougher game this Friday when the Spartans face Hudson. He said if the Spartans don't improve, they could end up on the losing end of score like the one they stamped on Ladysmith. There were areas that Coach Larson pointed to as "must improve" areas for the team's long-term success.
One loss was what it took for the New Richmond boys soccer team to come around to coach Pete Melloy's way of thinking. After strolling through three fairly unchallenging games to start the season, the Tiger boys were in for a shock when they were manhandled by Osceola last Thursday, 5-1. What the coaches hadn't been able to convince the players of, one loss did. When the Tigers played at Superior on Saturday, they looked like a completely different team.
A slow start offensively, magnified by River Falls' success playing power football, dealt the New Richmond football team a 24-8 loss in its first game of the 2009 season on Friday night. This wasn't a case where River Falls was drastically better than the Tigers. The Wildcats led 10-8 at halftime. The Wildcats' depth, especially in the line, helped them pound out two scoring drives in the second half. The Tigers had drives that had the possibility of scoring in the second half, but none came to fruition. Several of the best performances for the Tigers came from new starters.