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 talent level on the St. Croix Central cross country teams might have come as a surprise to anyone attending the New Richmond Invitational last Thursday, but it's not a surprise any longer. The Panthers grabbed the attention of the local running community by winning the boys championship in the 2008 New Richmond Invitational.
The Somerset cross country teams started out the season thinking they were going to be one of the youngest teams in the Middle Border Conference. The Spartans found out during last Thursday's New Richmond Invitational that being young doesn't preclude them from being competitive in the conference this season. In Thursday's race the Spartans found that they have the ability to be a factor in the MBC this season. Both Somerset teams were eighth among the 14 teams competing in Thursday's meet. The Spartans found their top individuals can compete with the better MBC runners.
The player the New Richmond football team could least afford to lose was senior quarterback John Peper. The string of bad breaks that has followed the Tigers the past several seasons, or so it seems, struck again on Friday. Peper went down with a knee injury during the first quarter of the Tigers' home game with Osceola.
The New Richmond boys soccer team is winning the battle at both ends of the field in their first games of the season. Through three games, the Tigers have outscored their opponents 14-0. That includes a 2-0 win last Thursday over long-time nemesis Amery. Thursday's game was scoreless well into the second half. The Tigers scored 20 minutes into the second half on a goal by Jordan Anderson. Amery then put on heavy pressure, but the Tigers kept Amery off the scoreboard.
Two turnovers inside the Rice Lake 10-yard line tainted the hopes of the New Richmond football team in last Friday's game. By not capitalizing on those two scoring chances, the Tigers left the door open for Rice Lake to take over the game. That's just what the Warriors did, riding the strong running of fullback Tanner Cernick to a 28-6 win over the Tigers. New Richmond now moves on to its Middle Border Conference schedule. The Tigers will be at home for their first MBC game this Friday, against Osceola.
The New Richmond girls tennis team continued its pattern of overpowering Middle Border Conference opponents on weekdays and battling Division 1 competition on weekends. Last Thursday the Tigers raised their Middle Border Conference record to 3-0 by defeating Durand, 7-0. The Tigers then played in a tournament at Menomonie on Saturday. Because three teams dropped out of the tournament, the Tigers only got two dual matches in during Saturday's action.
The St. Croix Central football team knew it was in for a tough assignment in facing Baldwin-Woodville Friday night. But the Panthers didn't know how overmatched they'd be in facing the Blackhawks. Baldwin-Woodville took advantage of sloppy play by the Panthers to crush Central 34-0. Central finishes the non-conference portion of its season with a 1-1 mark. The Panthers begin their Dunn-St. Croix Conference schedule this Friday with a game at Colfax.
The Eau Claire North Invitational cross country meet has the unique name of the Dog Fight in the Wells. The New Richmond cross country teams showed they can compete in the Dog Fight. Both of the New Richmond varsity teams took sixth place among 14 top running programs in the meet that was held in Eau Claire on Saturday. The Tigers' performances in the two varsity races were quite similar. The Tigers had two top finishers in both races. In the girls race, Hannah Utzman placed second and McKenzie Kelly placed seventh.
With more than a week between Middle Border Conference golf matches, this offered a rare opportunity for golfers around the conference to sharpen their skills. Several teams improved their scores substantially when they returned to action in a nine-hole MBC match at the Ellsworth Golf Club on Monday. The shakeup starts at the top. Baldwin-Woodville, which had won each of the previous MBC meets this season, was overtaken by St. Croix Falls. St.
There may have only been three teams competing in the cross country meet at St. Croix Central last Thursday, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a productive meet for the Panther runners. The Panthers easily won the meets, nearly sweeping the top five places in both meets. In the boys race, Central sophomore Brett Johnson ran away from the pack, winning the meet by an 80-second margin.