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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Look for a flurry of hiring activity within the Somerset School District in June. The school district administration hopes to have a new high school principal, new high school guidance counselor and three teaching vacancies caused by recent retirements filled by the June 21 Somerset Board of Education meeting. The application period for candidates for the new high school principal will close this Friday. New district administrator Randy Rosburg, the former high school principal, began working on Monday to narrow down the candidate list.
The New Richmond boys tennis team earned its first conference championship since 1998 last Thursday. By beating Ellsworth 6-1, the Tigers lock up the undisputed 2004 Middle Border Conference championship, finishing MBC regular season play with a pristine 5-0 record. The Tigers had beaten Eau Claire Regis by a 6-1 score last Tuesday to assure themselves of a share of the conference title. "The kids are playing well and hopefully they can maintain their level of performance into subsectionals and sectionals," said New Richmond coach Mike Montello.
The number of baserunners Somerset and Baldwin-Woodville had in Monday's softball game was almost identical. It was the hitting that was done when there were runners on base that was the difference. Baldwin-Woodville popped a pair of two homers in Monday's game, to defeat the Spartans 5-1. The loss pushes Somerset's overall record back below .500, at 8-9. "Only one of our hits came with someone on base," said Somerset coach Jane Driscoll, referring to Erin Dodor's sixth inning triple that scored Claire Blue.
Lynnae Kistner's pitching gem assured the New Richmond girls softball team a share of the Middle Border Conference championship. Kistner threw a no-hitter at Durand on Monday, beating the Panthers 9-0. This assures New Richmond of at least a share of its first Middle Border Conference softball championship since 1996. The Tigers were scheduled to play Osceola on Tuesday and will play at Baldwin-Woodville on Thursday.
The 4-2 win at Boyceville on Monday is what St. Croix Central baseball coach Mike Fern hopes will get his team started on a late-season charge. Last week the Panthers played two of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference leaders and had hoped for better results, but lost both. Monday's win again showed that the Panthers can be a team with all the elements to be a quality team.
Westerdahl is medalist, Sanders scores ace There were significant highlights for all three local teams in the 2004 Somerset Golf Invitational, played Wednesday at Bristol Ridge Golf Course in Somerset. New Richmond took the team championship in the 25-team tournament. Somerset had the tournament medalist, with senior Andy Westerdahl setting a team record by shooting a par-round of 72. And St. Croix Central can claim the shot of the day. Central junior Mark Sanders stroked a hole-in-one on the 11th hole at Bristol Ridge.
The best test yet this season for the undefeated New Richmond softball team came Monday afternoon in Somerset. The Tigers seemed secure with a 7-1 lead midway through the sixth inning. But the Spartans rumbled back, scoring three runs in the sixth and three more in the seventh. The Tigers then scored once in the top of the eighth inning to steal away with an 8-7 win. The win raises the Tigers' season record to 11-0 and 9-0 in the Middle Border Conference.
It didn't make them feel warm all over, but it sure helped. Playing in a cold and rainy afternoon in Amery, the St. Croix Central baseball team rallied for nine runs in the final three innings to beat Amery 9-3 last Thursday. "It's a lot warmer when you win," said Central coach Mike Fern. The cold was compounded by the problems of Amery's pitchers. The Amery pitchers gave up 15 walks in the game. Central's hitters only came through with four hits, but they were well timed late in the game. The game was scoreless until Central broke through with five runs in the fifth.
The Somerset and St. Croix Central track teams got one final chance to get a look at all of their team members before they hit the final stretch of large meets this season. That chance came last Friday, when Somerset held a triangular meet with St. Croix Central and Glenwood City as the visiting teams. Somerset was able to record team wins on both sides of the meet. Spartan girls coach Dave Praschak ranked this as one of the best performances of the season by his squad.
The Somerset softball team may now realize its potential. That's what the Spartan coaches are hoping after the Somerset girls took the undefeated New Richmond team into extra innings on Monday night. The Spartans also beat Durand during the past week, but lost to Unity and Prescott. Monday's game was a showcase for the Spartans' possibilities. The top of the order continues to mash the ball. Kendra Steinlicht homered for the first Somerset run. Erin Dodor tripled and Mariah Belisle doubled as the Spartans rallied from a 7-1 deficit in the sixth and seventh innings.