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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It has been a season of firsts for the Somerset soccer team and the Spartans hope they can add more accomplishment to their outstanding season. The Somerset girls earned their first WIAA Division 3 regional championship on Saturday when they defeated Three Lakes 4-0 in the regional final at Washburn. The Spartans will return to Washburn this Thursday to play in the sectional semifinals against Washburn at 5 p.m. The winner of Thursday's game will advance to the sectional championship game, which will be played at 2 p.m. on Saturday in Stevens Point.
After going 16 years between conference championships, the New Richmond boys track team has now won consecutive Middle Border Conference championships. The Tigers earned the 2008 MBC crown last Tuesday, scoring 198 points to win the meet on a rainy day in Somerset. The 2007 MBC championship also went to New Richmond. This is the first time the Tigers have won consecutive conference titles since the 1981 and 1982 seasons. The team championship was led by victories in six individual events for the Tigers.
The anticipated four-team battle for the Middle Border Conference girls track championship was everything fans could have hoped for. The results were so close that the final decision on the meet championship wasn't completed until two days after the meet. Osceola ending up winning the 2008 girls championship, by two points over Ellsworth. New Richmond and Somerset also put up strong challenges in an attempt to win the 2008 title. Osceola won the meet with 142.9 points, while Ellsworth finished at 140.9 points.
For the first time in the lifetime of the St. Croix Central players, the Panthers are conference baseball champions. Central earned a share of the 2008 Dunn-St. Croix Conference baseball championship last Thursday, by winning at Mondovi 6-0. The Panthers were scheduled to play at Pepin this Tuesday in their final D-SC game of the season. If the Panthers were winners at Pepin, they will be sole champions in the D-SC this season. This championship is the first conference baseball title won by a Central team in 32 years. The last Central champion came in 1976.
42-0. By defeating Osceola 7-3 last Tuesday, the New Richmond softball team completed its quest to become the first Middle Border Conference softball team to complete three consecutive undefeated seasons in conference play. Three years of winning their 14 conference games gives the Tigers an unbeaten run of 42 games. This is the longest winning streak in conference history. Jim McCullum has been the Tigers' coach throughout this run and has led the team for the past 19 seasons. The Tigers have won the conference title for four of the past five seasons, amassing a 66-4 record in that time.
Two losses in their final regular season games couldn't knock the Somerset girls soccer team out of second place in the final Middle Border Conference standings. The Spartans finished the MBC season with a 10-4 record and they now carry a 12-5 record into the post-season. The Spartans will play at home at 5 p.m. on Thursday in their WIAA Division 3 regional tournament opener, against Bayfield. The winner of Thursday's game will play again on Saturday.
Pitching depth is a luxury the New Richmond Millers have rarely known in the past decade. That appears to be changing this year. The Millers swept their first games of the season over the weekend. On Saturday, in a rainy night at Citizens Field, the Millers rallied to defeat UW-Barron County. They followed that up with a 6-3 win at Exeland on Sunday. These games were both non-conference affairs. The Millers begin St. Croix Valley League action this Friday, when the Ellsworth Hubbers visit Citizens Field at 7:30 p.m. On Sunday the Millers play another non-league game, facing the St.
The New Richmond girls softball program is now the ranking dynasty in the Middle Border Conference. The Tigers locked up their third straight Middle Border Conference championship last week. With Monday's 3-2 win at Amery, the Tigers have now won 41 straight in the Middle Border Conference. The seniors on the Tiger team have seen unprecedented success. New Richmond is the first team in Middle Border Conference history to win three straight conference softball titles.
The drama leading into this Tuesday's Middle Border Conference Track Meet was heightened with a controversial finish to last Friday's New Richmond Relays. It was first announced that Osceola's boys team had won the championship in The Relays. But the Chieftains had been disqualified in the final event of the night, the 1600 meter relay. So after Osceola was awarded the championship trophy, the scoring error was found and it was announced that New Richmond was the actual meet champion. There was no questioning the champion in the girls meet.
The New Richmond and Baldwin-Woodville baseball team played almost identical games on Monday. It was fitting that two teams that lead the Middle Border Conference would play such a close game. But when each team got a baserunner in scoring position in the seventh inning, it was the Blackhawks that got the run home, while the Tigers couldn't. That run was the difference, as B-W edged the Tigers 3-2. This was the Tigers' second loss in conference play. B-W and Prescott remain tied for the MBC lead with one loss each. Both pitchers had strong nights.