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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Somerset volleyball coach Sara Eichten hardly had any voice left after watching the Spartans play in Saturday's Osceola Invitational. She wasn't hoarse from yelling. She was hoarse from cheering. The Spartans won all five of their matches in the tournament, including delivering Osceola's first loss of the season, to take the championship in the tournament. Somerset's Mallory Rorabeck and Megan Plourde were named to the all-tournament team. In four of the five matches the Spartans played, they lost one game.
Nothing has been more difficult for the St. Croix Central football team in Dunn-St. Croix Conference play than beating Elk Mound. For the first time in 10 years the Panthers were able to knock off the Mounders, winning at Central last Friday by a 20-6 score. For several of those 10 years the two teams didn't meet because Elk Mound was in the small school division of the conference and Central was in the large school division, but their rivalry didn't lessen in the years they were apart. Central and Spring Valley now share the lead in the D-SC football standings with 2-0 records.
This is the kind of game the New Richmond football team would have lost in recent seasons. Instead, every time it appeared that Prescott was going to come up with the go-ahead score, the Tiger defense found a way to stop the Cardinals. That resulted in New Richmond winning 10-6 at Prescott last Friday in the opening game of the Middle Border Conference season for both teams. The pivotal statistic that weighed in the Tigers' favor was interceptions.
The wins are starting to pile up for the New Richmond boys soccer team. The Tiger boys rang up three wins last week, beating Hayward, Cumberland and the Hudson JV team. The week started with a 5-0 win over Hayward last Tuesday. The Tigers then beat Cumberland 3-1 on Thursday before finishing the week with a 1-0 win at Hudson on Saturday. The win over Hayward is a good measuring stick of how far the Tigers have come in one season. Last year the Tigers played evenly with Hayward.
In the first two games of the season, the Somerset football team's offense consisted mainly of blasting fullback Jake Asp into the middle of the line. In Friday's 52-21 win at Baldwin-Woodville, the Spartans proved that they have many more facets to their offense. The running of halfbacks Evan Kowalski and Alex Sullivan and quarterback Justin Trautmiller proved to be significant weapons as the Spartans rolled up 385 yards on the ground in this game. Kowalski and Sullivan rushed for 222 yards on 11 carries, averaging over 20 yards per carry between them.
The New Richmond Invitational was the first meeting this season between all eight Middle Border Conference cross country teams and it proved to be an enlightening meet for all teams involved. For the New Richmond teams, the news was largely quite good. The Tiger boys ranked second overall and were first among the eight MBC teams. New Richmond's Zach Johnson was the individual champion, the first race victory of his career. The Tiger girls were fifth overall and fourth among the MBC teams.
By picking up two more wins last week, the New Richmond girls tennis team is staying right in the hunt for the Middle Border Conference championship. The Tigers are now 4-1 in the MBC after beating Ellsworth and Amery last week. The Tigers are tied for second place with Unity, which beat the Tigers earlier in the season. Unity was beaten by Amery two days before the Tigers beat Amery. Osceola remains the leader in the MBC with a 5-0 record. Two major MBC tests remain for the Tigers. This Thursday they will play at home against Baldwin-Woodville.
The New Richmond girls tennis team returned to the ranks of the winners in a pair of Middle Border Conference matches last week. These wins were a nice return to form for the Tigers after they lost their first MBC match of the season to Unity. The Tigers scored a 5-2 win over Mondovi last Tuesday on the NRHS courts. The Tigers then played at Bloomer on Thursday, where they were 6-1 victors. Mondovi had lost to Unity by the identical 4-3 score that New Richmond had lost to the Eagles, so the Tigers knew they'd be tested in Tuesday's match.
Running on pavement, golf courses and dusty trails can get monotonous for high school cross country runners. The River Falls Extreme Meet will never be called monotonous. The New Richmond and Somerset cross country teams competed at River Falls last Thursday. This is a meet where runners cross through waist-deep streams, climb steep muddy embankments, climb over a large downed tree and run along a course that rarely has even footing. Because of the obstacles, loose records on times and places are kept in the meet.
The days of the New Richmond boys soccer team playing JV teams from more seasoned programs may be over. Last Tuesday the New Richmond boys faced the Eau Claire North JV team and muzzled the Huskies 8-0. Last year the Tigers faced the North JV team twice, winning once 2-1 and tying 1-1 in the other contest. Tiger coach Pete Melloy said this shows that New Richmond's team is significantly improved and is ready to face more challenging competition. "My expectations are a lot higher this year," Melloy said.