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 New Richmond softball team has been breaking down hitting to a science. On Monday, everything came together for the Tigers as they thrashed Somerset with one of the biggest hitting displays in years by a Tiger team. Both teams went into Monday's game with 2-0 records in the Middle Border Conference and for the first three innings it was a well-played game, with the Tigers leading 3-1.
Last year the St. Croix Central softball team started poorly, then surged ahead steadily through the rest of the season. After a rough start to the 2006 campaign, the Panthers are hoping for a repeat to that pattern. Last Thursday the Panthers scored their first Dunn-St. Croix Conference win of the season, a 10-0 blanking of Boyceville. The Panthers decided Thursday's game quickly, ringing up seven runs in the first inning. Another decisive moment of the first inning came after Boyceville's leadoff hitter singled.
The New Richmond girls soccer team scored its first varsity victory ever last Tuesday, scoring in the second half to beat Barron 1-0 at the St. Croix Press fields in New Richmond. Kelly Grandt gets the distinction of scoring the first goal in Tiger varsity history. Freshman Lea Lemire was in goal for the Tigers' first victory and she also gets credit for the Tigers' first shutout. Grandt's goal came late in the second half of the game, the result of two good passes. The first pass was by Steph Anderson, who got the ball wide to Brianna Richter.
After getting a typical first game out of the way on Saturday, the New Richmond softball team looked like the team that reached the 2005 WIAA sectional tournament. New Richmond hosted a four-team tournament on Saturday. In the opening round, the Tigers faced Elmwood, one of the best small school programs in the western part of the state. Elmwood had already played two games, while it showed this was the Tigers' first game. Elmwood was able to get away with a 2-0 win. In the second round of the tournament the Tigers faced Unity.
Ten requests for students to enter the Somerset School District via open enrollment were denied by the Somerset Board of Education. The action was taken at a special school board meeting last Wednesday, following the results of last Tuesday's referendum. In the referendum voting, Somerset voters approved the purchase of 69.5 acres from the DeCosse family, but the voters denied the request for funds to add classrooms to two of the Somerset school buildings. The Somerset School District received 30 open enrollment requests this year.
God and motorcycles. Christ Lutheran Church minister Dave Everett wanted desperately to find a way to relate to the 25 seventh and eighth grade students in his weekly confirmation class. After a suggestion from a friend, Everett turned to one of his favorite recreation activities as the answer. To get the attention of his parishioners, Everett has parked his 1976 Honda 550 motorcycle just inside the entrance of his church in Somerset. He was hoping the motorcycle might be a conversation starter.
The New Richmond track teams are moving into Division 1 in the WIAA tournaments. The performance by the Tigers at the Eau Claire Memorial Indoor Invitational last Tuesday shows that the Tigers aren't the least bit worried about moving up to Division 1. Facing opposition that was nearly all Division 1 teams from this sectional, New Richmond's track teams swept the team championships at the meet, which was held at the UW-Eau Claire indoor facility. New Richmond's boys easily outdistanced its opposition.
Administrative secretary Marilyn (Schuette) Averbeck has seen a great deal of change in her 25 years with the New Richmond school district. Averbeck has been the secretary to six district administrators since taking that position in 1992. Before that, she worked 11 years as the secretary at New Richmond Middle School. On Friday, Averbeck will retire from the school district. The changes Averbeck has seen in the district fall into two areas, personnel and technology.
The wet conditions that have beset all spring sports teams aren't holding back the New Richmond track teams. Both Tiger track teams took second place in a six-team meet at Knowles Center at UW-River Falls last Thursday in a meet where the Tigers faced stiff competition. In their second place finishes, both of the Tiger teams showed that depth is going to make them a formidable opponent all season. In the case of the Tiger boys team, there were nine events Thursday where the Tigers took more than one place.
The Somerset softball team found a dry place to play ball on Saturday. The Spartans opened their 2006 season on Saturday, splitting games against Clear Lake and Pine City, Minn. at the Stillwater Dome. In their opening game, the Spartans beat Clear Lake 6-1 as pitcher Kim Kazle threw a no-hitter. In the second game, Somerset fell to Pine City 10-0. Jen Nickowski returns for her second season as coach of the Spartans. Having a year's experience with the team is an immeasurable help to Nickowski.