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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"You score, you win. It's as simple as that." That's what Somerset football Coach Bruce Larson yelled to his offense with four minutes remaining in Friday's Middle Border Conference opener with Durand. The Spartans trailed 27-22 with 4:16 left in the game after Durand had just scored to take the lead. The Spartans clicked with high efficiency on their final drive, covering 56 yards in nine plays to get the go-ahead touchdown. Tony Martin's third touchdown of the game put Somerset in front 28-27 with 1:11 left on the clock. Durand then tried four passing plays.
Last Thursday was a banner day for the New Richmond cross country teams. The Tiger varsity teams swept the team championships in the 2007 New Richmond Cross Country Invitational. New Richmond's girls had a close battle with Amery for the team title. The Tigers won the meet with 60 points, with Amery garnering 66 points. New Richmond and Amery were also the top two teams in the boys race. New Richmond, with three of the top five runners, finished with 47 points. Amery took second place with 77 points. New Richmond senior Zach Johnson was the boys meet champion in a time of 17:46.
The Somerset volleyball team is starting to live with the fact that opponents are targeting them. In some ways, it's a measure of respect. Opponents expect the Spartans to be strong this year, so they want to play their best volleyball against the Somerset girls. The Spartans found that out when they played in a quad meet at Hudson last Tuesday. The Spartans faced three opponents, all of them fired up to knock off Somerset's girls. One team was able to do it too. Hudson, which the Spartans had beaten three days earlier, was able to beat Somerset this time around.
The Somerset football team starts the 2007 Middle Border Conference season looking to regain the MBC title that it lost in 2006. The Spartans had been MBC champs three years straight until last season. Getting that title back is clearly a focus for the Spartans. From the play in their two pre-season games, the Spartans showed they will be one of the contenders for this year's MBC title. After starting the season with a 22-6 win over Hudson, the Spartans went to Delano, Minn. on Friday and earned a 30-20 win. This Friday the Spartans begin their 2007 MBC schedule.
The New Richmond volleyball team gave an outstanding effort when it faced Somerset in the opening round of the quadrangular meet held at Hudson last Tuesday. The Tigers weren't able to maintain that level of play in the their final two matches of the tournament however. The match against Somerset was probably the Tigers' best showing so far this season. Somerset won the opening game 25-23. The Tigers came right back to take the second game 26-24. Somerset won the match by taking the third game 15-9. "All the elements were there," said Tiger Coach Becky Ahlbrecht.
Just because the New Richmond boys soccer team has started the season with three straight wins, doesn't mean the team can't get better. In an attempt to better utilize the team's veteran players, Tiger Coach Pete Melloy unveiled several lineup changes in last Tuesday's game at Hudson. The Tigers were able to score a 4-2 win in the game, their third win of the season. The Tigers were scheduled to play Hudson's JV team in this game.
The New Richmond girls golf team was hoping to creep closer to Amery in the Middle Border Conference golf race. Unfortunately, the stress of a frantic first month of the season seemed to show in the Tigers' play. The Tiger girls finished third in the meet, behind Amery and St. Croix Falls. After finishing two strokes behind Amery in their previous conference match, the Tigers were hoping this would be the time where they leapfrogged the Warriors. Instead, Amery finished 21 strokes ahead of the Tigers. St. Croix Falls was one stroke ahead of the Tigers.
Osceola may be the defending Middle Border Conference football champion. What happened last year won't matter when New Richmond and Osceola take the field this Friday to begin the 2007 Middle Border Conference season. New Richmond and Osceola have both gone 0-2 in their pre-season games and both teams have seen marginal success thus far. They are looking at Friday's game as the time to get their season rolling. "This is when you make your claim that you can contend," said New Richmond coach Joe Hutter.
A lifeguard isn't needed at most cross country meets. There wasn't a lifeguard at the River Falls Extreme Meet last Thursday, but you can bet a few runners wouldn't have minded seeing one on hand. In the Extreme Meet, runners cross through the Kinnickinnic River at six different points. The water at some of these points could be over a runner's head, especially when they had to duck under a downed tree or move around other obstacles along the course. New Richmond and Somerset took part in this year's meet.
Things went terribly wrong for the New Richmond football team in its 2007 season opener. There are no mulligans, no do-overs in football. So the Tigers must lick their wounds, correct their many mistakes, and hope this was a one-game aberration. Tiger coach Joe Hutter said the 41-14 homefield loss to River Falls last Friday was a result of the team's inexperience on both sides of the ball. "Fundamentally we did not play well, on both sides of the ball. That is something we will address daily," Hutter said. "We took a couple steps backward.