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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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.
Look beyond the 9-1 final score and you will see that the New Richmond Millers showed a good deal of promise in their 2006 city league baseball opener. The Millers lost their season opener to East Bethel 9-1 last Wednesday. The Millers showed some first-game rust, while East Bethel looked like a team that had the advantage of having already played three games. After the first six innings of the game the Millers trailed 2-1.
The New Richmond boys scored a non-conference win last Tuesday when they played at Pine City, Minn. New Richmond won the match 4-2, with the one doubles match stopped in the third set due to rain. The doubles teams had a good night for the Tigers, particularly Logan Frye and Matt Tschudy at two doubles. "The NR pair played perhaps their best tennis of the season," said Tiger coach Mike Montello of the 6-4, 6-3 win. The Tigers also got a win at three doubles from Tom Skoglund and Brent Nordquist.
Last month the Somerset Board of Education adopted a new wellness policy for the school district. Really, this is just putting on paper what has already been in progress in the school district for several years. Through food service offerings and foods available in vending machines, substantial changes have been made in the variety of foods for students. Last week national news was made when soda companies said they are not going to be selling sugared sodas in schools.
The New Richmond Tigers are the 2006 Middle Border Conference softball champions. The Tigers locked up the 2006 MBC title last Thursday, when they scored a 6-0 win at Ellsworth. They moved to 12-0 on Monday with a 14-4 win over Amery. The Tigers knocked the ball all over Hatfield Park against Amery, scoring nine runs in the first inning.
The 2006 New Richmond Relays proved to be another classic. Idyllic weather conditions and flocks of outstanding athletic performances made the 40th New Richmond Boys Relays and the 31st edition of the girls Relays a treat for spectators and athletes. Osceola earned the 2006 boys meet championship, with New Richmond placing third. The girls championship went to River Falls, with New Richmond four points behind the Wildcats, in second place. For the Tiger girls, they were locked in a battle for the team title throughout the meet.
Last week started relatively easily for the New Richmond boys tennis team. The week got much tougher and the results for the Tigers slid as the competition level grew. Sweeping Durand The week started with the Tigers rolling past Durand, 7-0 last Tuesday. Durand is a fairly inexperienced team and the Tigers played more confidently against the young opponents. This wasn't a pretty win, but the Tigers did pull out wins in three matches that went to three sets. For a team struggling for confidence, the strong finishes were the best part of the match for the Tigers.
The Somerset softball team continues to be one of the hardest teams to figure out in the area. Are they the team that played an outstanding game against Middle Border Conference champion New Richmond? Are they the team that fell flat against Osceola, the bottom team in the MBC? The inconsistent play led to the Spartans drawing the seventh seed in the WIAA Division 3 regional tournament bracket. The Spartans will start the tournaments on Thursday, May 18, when they play at Cumberland, which received the second seed. On Monday the Spartans played at Ellsworth, losing to the Panthers 6-4.