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 Somerset track teams opened the outdoor meet season against some of the toughest competition they will see during the regular season. Starting the season at Osceola last Thursday, the Spartans were facing Osceola, River Falls and Hudson. The Spartans finished at the bottom of the team standings in both meets, but the coaches felt the teams benefitted from seeing the tough competition this early. "What's not shown is the improvement of many of our athletes," said boys coach Richard Thompson.
St. Croix Central's baseball team was hoping to get a winning streak rolling this week. That can still happen, though it didn't happen Monday. The Panthers ran into one of the top pitchers in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference in Osceola's Ross Benitz on Monday. Benitz held the Panthers to three hits as the Chieftains notched a 5-0 win. Central pitcher Tyler Cody looked like he was up to matching Benitz in Monday's game. Three Central errors changed all that.
Experience should be a strong suit for the New Richmond boys tennis team this season. That was validated last Thursday when the Tigers dominated play in a match against River Falls. The Tigers won the match 6-1 against a team that has annually been one of their main rivals. Leading the Tigers are seniors Charlie Bohl and Jeff Engel who were state placewinners last year in doubles. This duo is doubly dangerous because they both have significant experience in singles and doubles.
For the St. Croix Central softball team, playing Baldwin-Woodville is always a good gauge of the Panthers' ability. The Panthers faced B-W last Tuesday in the annual clash between the bordering schools. Central lost to the Blackhawks 9-3, but there were plenty of signs that the Panthers are a significantly improved team this season. Central coach Brian Daniel used this game to give freshman Britany Butler her first varsity pitching start.
Last year, the St. Croix Central softball team showed talent, but never was able to put all the pieces together. Those pieces appear to have come together during the off-season. In their first Dunn-St. Croix Conference game of the 2004 season, the Panthers bombarded Boyceville on Monday, beating the Bulldogs 20-4. The Panthers had opened their season last Friday in a game against Cadott. This game stretched into extra innings, where Cadott scored a 4-3 win. In Monday's win the Panthers looked far more polished than they did at any time last year.
Running in the Gold Baton indoor meet at Blaine last week gave the New Richmond and Somerset girls a better indication of where some of their strengths lie this season. Team scores weren't kept at the meet, but both teams had several strong performances to build upon. New Richmond coach Brent Aukema was particularly pleased with the showing of the girls he had running in the relay events. He started each relay with one of the team's most experienced runners.
Mitch Campeau and Emily Frank of New Richmond competed in the 2004 Wisconsin Powerlifting Championships. The championships were held in Kimberly on March 12-13. They qualified for the state meet at a powerlifting meet held in New Richmond two weeks earlier. At the state meet they both finished 15th in their weight divisions. Frank had a 195-pound squat lift, an 80-pound bench press and a 195-pound dead lift.
Comments made at the March 15 Somerset Board of Education meeting brought light to how the school district is dealing with its high-end students and how that action remains a work in progress. Somerset is one of the few districts in the area with a full-time gifted and talented teacher, Rosanne Erickson.
Somerset's Dylan Dabrowski and St. Croix Central's Garrett Ullom have been selected to play in the 2004 Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Shrine Bowl. This game features the premier senior football players from the state of Wisconsin each year. Ullom and Dabrowski were both all-state players during the past season. Both players will be playing along the offensive line in the Shrine Bowl. Ullom will be stationed at tight end, while Dabrowski will be at guard. Dabrowski was one of the most powerful guards in the state.
St. Croix Central had two players earn all-Dunn-St. Croix Conference boys basketball honors for the 2003-04 season. Junior Tyler Cody was named to the all-DSC first team and senior Garrett Ullom earned a spot on the all-DSC second team. Cody ranked third in the conference in scoring this season, averaging 13.8 points per game.