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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There isn't a person in New Richmond more appropriately named than John Ball. For 30 years, Ball has led the New Richmond varsity baseball program. In that time the Tigers won 520 games. Ball's leadership made New Richmond one of the most successful baseball programs in the state during his tenure. For the past 17 years, Ball has served as athletic director at New Richmond High School. He announced last week that this will be his final year as athletic director.
The New Richmond boys hockey team has been the Middle Border Conference championship in every year that the conference has been in existence. To keep that streak alive, the Tigers will need to win at Baldwin-Woodville on Thursday in the final round of MBC play for the 2007-08 season. The Tigers kept their chances of winning this year's title alive by scoring one of their most decisive wins of the season. They went to Amery on Monday and pounded the Warriors by a 7-1 score.
The race for the Middle Border Conference girls basketball title should be a thriller, with Somerset, Durand and Amery all locked in a battle for this year's championship. Currently, the three MBC leaders are all tied for the top spot in the conference, with two losses each. Somerset suffered its second loss of the MBC last Tuesday, when Durand came to Somerset and earned a 67-57 win. The Spartans returned to the win column on Friday when they won at Prescott 63-48. This Thursday the Spartans will be playing at home, when New Richmond comes to visit.
The vote by the Somerset Board of Education on whether to propose a building referendum boiled into a discussion on whether the Board should be considering the short-term or long-term needs of the School District. After a considerable amount of wrangling on the discussion, the Board decided, on a 4-2 vote, to send a $35.4 million referendum to the voters of Somerset for the April 1 election. The referendum will ask voters for approval to build a new high school in the School District.
The Durand boys basketball team put on an incredible outside shooting show in last Friday's game in New Richmond. It still wasn't enough to deliver the first loss of the season to the Tiger boys basketball team. New Richmond's boys are now 13-0 this season after withstanding their biggest challenge in the Middle Border Conference so far this season. The Tigers rallied from a 65-61 deficit in the final three minutes of the game to beat Durand, 69-65. The Tigers had a great start to the game, jumping out to a 25-13 lead in the first quarter.
The showdown for the Middle Border Conference wrestling lead might have gone Ellsworth's way, but the New Richmond wrestlers definitely got Ellsworth's attention. The meet started in the upper weights, which was a perfect fit for the Tigers. New Richmond got out to a 19-0 lead before the match turned to the lighter weights. That's Ellsworth's strength and the Panthers were able to finish with a 43-22 win. Ellsworth is known for stringing together wins and riding waves of momentum.
With a little help from the New Richmond girls, the Somerset girls basketball team is back at the top of the Middle Border Conference standings. Last Thursday Somerset's girls put together a powerful effort in winning at Baldwin-Woodville, 67-42. The following night, New Richmond's girls upset Amery. Somerset and Amery had been tied at the top of the MBC standings until New Richmond knocked off the Warriors. Somerset went to Baldwin last Thursday and took care of business.
The New Richmond girls hockey team is on its best success streak in several years. The Tigers are now 5-1 in their last six games after a 6-5 win at Menomonie last Thursday. The success streak has lifted the Tigers above the .500 mark, with the team's record now at 8-7. Leading the Tigers to the win was junior Rachel Mullendore, who had a hat trick at Menomonie. Since the Tiger coaches shifted Mullendore to defense, she's been been finding the back of the net on a regular basis. The coaches moved Mullendore to forward to pair her with freshman Megan Cox.
If you attend one of the New Richmond boys basketball team's non-conference games, you are almost guaranteed to see a wild game that isn't decided until the final seconds. And so far, the Tigers have been able to win every one of them. The Tigers ran their season record to 11-0 with another furious finish, beating Menomonie 59-54 on Saturday. The five-point win over Menomonie was a comparative cakewalk to the Tigers' other non-conference games this season. Their other non-conference games have all been one-point decisions, over Hudson, Spooner and Eau Claire North.
There's no telling if the Somerset hockey team collectively clicked their heels together and said "there's no place like home." But after starting their season with 11 road games, the Spartans were more than ready to play on their home ice for the first time in the 2007-08 season on Saturday. The Spartans controlled the pace of the game and allowed Tomah very few scoring chances as the Spartans earned a 4-1 win. This raises Somerset's record for the season to 3-8-1. Tomah now stands at 5-7. The breaks have seemed to go against the Spartans in most of their losses this season.