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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Drew Baillargeon is tuned in to history. Whether it's his family tradition or whether it's his deep curiosity of the American Civil War, the 2006 Somerset High School valedictorian knows his subject. That has led to his future plans of attending the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, with plans of becoming a history teacher. Being valedictorian is becoming a family tradition. Drew is the second of his siblings to earn this honor. His sister, Bethany, was also an SHS valedictorian.
In terms of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference baseball standings, it robbed Amery of a chance of the outright conference championships. In terms of the St. Croix Central baseball program, last Tuesday's 10-8 win over Amery was a huge step in the maturation process of the Panthers. Central has been able to beat most of the teams that reside lower in the standings than the Panthers.
Sophomore Kyle Mitchell won the Middle Border Conference championship at four singles and two other Tiger entries took second place in the 2006 MBC tournament, played last Tuesday in Durand. Juniors Blake Berger and Jake Kleiner took second place for the Tigers at one doubles. Seniors Tom Skoglund and Brent Nordquist took second place at three doubles. Freshman Trevor Anderson took second place for the Tigers at three singles. Mitchell was seeded second at four singles and received an opening round bye. That meant he didn't play his opening match until mid-afternoon.
The New Richmond girls softball team gave every indication it was playoff ready during its final regular season game, a 2-0 win over Glenwood City last Tuesday. With this non-conference win, the Tigers finish the regular season with a 17-3 record. All three losses came in non-conference games. Glenwood City was one of the top teams in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference this season and they gave the Tigers a good battle. The Hilltopper hitters were no match for New Richmond pitcher Nikki Singerhouse. Glenwood City was able to get two baserunners in the game.
After going most of the season without a win, the Somerset girls soccer team has turned things around quite completely. The Spartans have three wins, one loss and one tie in their last five games. Last week the Spartans tied New Richmond 3-3 and they defeated Osceola 4-2. The tie with New Richmond could be viewed as quite an achievement for the Spartans, considering that New Richmond beat them 9-1 when they met the first time this season. Somerset jumped to a 3-1 lead in the first half against New Richmond last Tuesday.
The New Richmond girls and the Osceola boys are the 2006 Middle Border Conference track champions. The 2006 MBC Track Meet was run Tuesday at New Richmond High School. New Richmond's girls won their title in a close battle with Somerset and Ellsworth. New Richmond finished strong to roll up 129 points. Somerset, the surprise leader for much of the meet, finished second with 110 points. Ellsworth took third place with 109 points. Osceola led the boys race through the entire meet, though the Chieftains withstood a late charge from New Richmond.
The leadership of the Somerset Board of Education has been realigned. Allison Klis, who had served as the clerk of the board last year, was elected as the new chairperson of the board of education. She switches places with Sharon Germain, who now becomes clerk. Germain has served as the chair of the board for the past three years. Klis has served for two years on the board. She said she doesn't bring any agenda to the position and tries to see things objectively. "I'm for what's good for kids," she said.
After locking up the Middle Border Conference championship with three games left to play, the New Richmond girls softball team set its focus on another goal, finishing the MBC season with a perfect record. The Tigers achieved that goal too. Wins over Durand and Osceola last week propelled the Tigers to a 14-0 final record in the MBC for the 2006 season. Last Tuesday the Tigers won at Durand, 3-0.
After waiting all season for its first win, the Somerset girls soccer team scored its first two varsity wins ever last week. In consecutive games the Spartans got their first wins. Last Tuesday at Barron the Spartans scored twice in the first half, then made those goals stand up for a 2-1 victory. To show that win was not a fluke, the Spartans scored their first Middle Border Conference win on Thursday. Facing Amery, the Spartans fell behind 2-0 in the first half. The Spartans then scored twice in the second half to force the game into overtime.
The yo-yo like play of the Somerset softball team continued last week. Last Tuesday the Spartans looked like world beaters with a 13-2 homefield win over Baldwin-Woodville. The Spartans then went in the opposite direction last Thursday, falling at Amery 7-3. On Monday the Spartans completed their Middle Border Conference schedule, earning a 7-5 win at Durand. Spartan coach Jennifer Nickowski is still searching for reasons for the team's lack of consistency. She points to the team's defense as one of the main determining factors.