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 three-year reign of the Somerset football team as Middle Border Conference champions officially ended last Thursday night in Amery. The Spartans suffered their second conference loss of the season, losing 26-0 at Amery. With Osceola winning at Baldwin-Woodville on Thursday, it eliminated Somerset from the MBC race. Somerset had hoped this season to become the first MBC football team to win four straight undisputed conference championships. Somerset still has a chance to have a huge impact on which teams can be the 2006 MBC champion.
A win this Thursday against Glenwood City would lock up the first Dunn-St. Croix Conference football championship for the St. Croix Central football team since the Panthers' state championship season of 1988. This Thursday's game should be a barn burner. Central needs the win to get at least a share of the conference championship. A win would also greatly improve the Panthers' chances of getting a home game in the first round of the WIAA state football playoffs, which begin next Tuesday. Glenwood City also has a great deal riding on Thursday's game.
The New Richmond boys cross country team earned its third straight Middle Border Conference championship, winning the 2006 MBC race, held last Tuesday at Pheasant Hills Golf Club near Hammond. This is the fourth time in five years that the Tiger boys earned the MBC title. New Richmond's girls placed fourth at this year's MBC meet. The boys all-conference photo was a sea of black and orange as all five of the Tigers' lead runners earned all-MBC honors. New Richmond was led by junior Zach Johnson, who took second behind Osceola's Dale Dybvig.
For more than 40 years, Stan Barr has been one of the leaders in the sport of track in western Wisconsin, including serving 26 years as the head boys track coach at New Richmond High School. Next February, Barr will be honored for his efforts, as he will be enshrined into the Wisconsin Track Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Barr can claim many highlights in his track coaching career. He coached two state championship teams, at Mineral Point in 1961 and the New Richmond boys' state championship in 1982.
The New Richmond volleyball team finished the regular season with a hard-fought victory over Amery. The win moves the Tigers into a tie for fifth place in the final Middle Border Conference standings, with a 3-4 record. They finished in a tie with Prescott for fifth place in the conference. The season finale was one of the most exciting matches of the season for the Tigers. They won at Amery in four games, but there was no more than a three-point margin in any of those four games. The Tigers won the opening game 25-22, but Amery came back with a 25-23 win in the second game.
The Somerset football team hasn't had much experience bouncing back from losses, but the Spartans showed they don't take losing well. Somerset bounced back from its first Middle Border Conference loss in three years by ransacking Prescott, 48-0, last Friday. This win locks up Somerset's place in the WIAA state football playoffs, the fifth straight year the Spartans will appear in the football post-season. Somerset's defense bullied Prescott's offense with no mercy on Friday. The Spartans forced Prescott into nine turnovers, the most since Bruce Larson has been coach in Somerset.
The St. Croix Central football team locked up a place in the 2006 WIAA state football playoffs by soundly beating Spring Valley 43-0 last Friday in Central's 2006 Homecoming game. This is the first time this season the Panthers have strung together two top quality efforts. In their previous game the Panthers dominated Mondovi. In Friday's win the Panthers put together a strong all-around effort, spiced up with a few big plays. The plays didn't get any bigger than the interception by Michael Tilton in the final 15 seconds of the first half.
The Amery Invitational was the final cross country outing before this week's conference meets. It provided all three local teams with plenty of reasons to be optimistic that they can be successful in their conference races. The New Richmond boys were champions of the Amery Invitational and the Tiger girls team also had a strong showing. St. Croix Central continued its recent rapid progress by finishing in the upper half of both races.
The New Richmond volleyball team found out last Thursday that they would be facing Somerset in the first round of WIAA Division 2 regionals, which will be played next Tuesday. This gave the Tigers the perfect opportunity to send a message with their play. In last Thursday's match, the Tigers were facing Prescott, a team that had knocked off Somerset two nights earlier. The Tigers got their message across, beating Prescott in four games for the Tigers' second win in Middle Border Conference play this season. The Tigers wrapped up their regular season on Tuesday.
Tiger coach Pete Melloy said last Tuesday's 3-0 loss to Amery was a turning point for the New Richmond boys soccer varsity team. The Tigers apparently turned in the right direction, because they responded by beating Barron 4-1 last Thursday. Currently the Tigers have a season record of 10-5-1 and they hold a 6-4 conference record. The loss to Amery last Tuesday was one of the most difficult games for the Tigers this season.