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 football clash between Somerset and New Richmond last Friday became a test of each team's physical strength. On the wet, muddy turf at Seibel Field, the footing forced the teams to concentrate on straight-ahead power football. And that played into Somerset's strength, literally. The Spartans were able to pound the ball up the middle, rushing for more than 500 yards in a 44-0 win over the Tigers. The Spartans have not lost a Homecoming game since 1994. This was the Spartans' final home game of the regular season.
The New Richmond girls volleyball team will open the WIAA tournament series with a home match next Tuesday. The Tigers earned the fourth seed in the WIAA Division 2 regional tournament bracket. By getting the fourth seed, they will play at home at 7 p.m. next Tuesday. The opponent in next Tuesday's match will be Amery, which drew the fifth seed in the regional grouping. Tiger coach Becky Ahlbrecht said she was expecting to receive a fifth or sixth seed in the seeding meeting.
Somerset's volleyball team has earned the second seed in the WIAA regional tournament bracket. That means the Spartans will play at home next Tuesday in the opening round of the regional tournament. The opponent in the 7 p.m. match will be Baldwin-Woodville, which received the seventh seed in the regional bracket. The Spartans finished their dual meet schedule on Tuesday, when they faced Baldwin-Woodville. The Spartans will be returning to Baldwin this Saturday, to play in the first Middle Border Conference Volleyball Tournament. The tournament will begin at 10 a.m.
It was the last thing the New Richmond girls golf team expected. After exceeding expectations all season, the Tiger girls saw their hopes of qualifying for the WIAA Division 1 state tournament dashed in the rainy New Richmond Division 1 Sectional Tournament last Tuesday. The weather conditions started poorly and got worse throughout the day of the sectional meet. The players who started early were able to get much of the front nine in before the heavy rains came.
The perfect record of the New Richmond boys soccer team was ended this week as the Tigers hit the toughest stretch of their 2007 schedule. It was a busy week for the Tigers. They suffered their first loss of the season last Tuesday at Amery by a 4-1 score. They then played one of their least inspired efforts of the season, ending in a 1-1 tie at Barron last Thursday. The Tigers bounced back from those games to beat Menomonie 2-0 on Saturday. On Monday the Tigers faced their toughest assignment thus far when they played at Hudson.
St. Croix Central senior Wendy Johnson played one of the best rounds of her life in the WIAA Division 2 Somerset Sectional Girls Golf Tournament last Wednesday at Bristol Ridge Golf Club. Johnson tied for the best score among the girls who qualified for the sectional tournament as individuals by shooting a 52 on the front nine at Bristol Ridge. The tournament was stopped because of the heavy rains on Wednesday. In fact, Johnson was the only girl to complete all 18 holes of the tournament. The siren was sounded as she was coming up the 18th fairway.
During the 2006-07 school year, enrollment in the Somerset schools stabilized, with little growth. That now appears to have been a one-year lull. Over the summer, many new students moved into the Somerset School District. The official count of students is taken on the third Friday in September each year. The 2006-07 enrollment count in Somerset was 1,498 students. This year's third Friday count found that there are now 1,589 students enrolled in the Somerset schools. The growth within the District was seen most in the already crowded Somerset Elementary School.
The Somerset football team never let Ellsworth have a chance in the showdown for the Middle Border Conference lead last Friday. Somerset's physical defense completely disrupted Ellsworth's passing game. Somerset's offense moved like a tank through Ellsworth's defense, as the Spartans marched to a 44-6 victory at Ellsworth. With the win the Spartans have assured themselves a spot in the 2007 WIAA State Football Playoffs.
The New Richmond football team was the better offensive team and the better defensive team in Friday's game with Prescott. That resulted in the Tigers earning their first win of the 2007 season, a 20-7 decision over Prescott. That win keeps the Tigers' slim hopes of reaching the WIAA playoffs alive. To reach the playoffs the Tigers would have to win the rest of their games. That's a big assignment. This Friday the Tigers will be playing at Somerset in the Spartans' Homecoming game.
Golf is a sport where the ability to handle pressure can make or break you. That ability made the New Richmond girls golf team regional champions last Wednesday. Playing in the WIAA Division 1 Hayward Regional meet, New Richmond and Hayward tied for first place. WIAA rules call for tournament titles to be settled in a playoff, with all five players involved in the playoff.