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Inhuman Awards recognize top athletic achievements of spring season

New Richmond senior Lorin Bauer (4) is congratulated by coach Lynzi Knudtson after Bauer led off the game against Amery with a triple. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 4
The return of Cole Gostovich for his senior season was key for the St. Croix Central baseball team this spring. Gostovich missed his junior season due to an injury.2 / 4
Joe Hueg came back from major shoulder surgery to be a key contributor in the throwing events for the St. Croix Central boys track team.3 / 4
First-year Somerset softball coach Paige Johnson (center) confers with seniors Grace Bauer (left) and Rachel Germain during a break in the action during a Spartan game this spring.4 / 4

The News presents The Inhuman Awards to recognize outstanding athletic achievements from the athletes at the high schools at New Richmond, Somerset and St. Croix Central.

The athletes this spring had to deal with weather conditions that threw major obstacles into their plans. That the athletes stepped up to produce the large number of successes they did speaks volumes about their fortitude.

Here are the Inhuman Awards for the Spring 2018 season.


Most Valuable Offense: Blake Kretovics, New Richmond.

Honorable Mention: Derek Myer, St. Croix Central; Noah Towberman, New Richmond; Jake Jirik, New Richmond; Brett Vetterkind, Somerset.

It was treated as an afterthought that Prescott's Pete Brookshaw was the Most Valuable Player in the Middle Border Conference this season. It shouldn't have been. Kretovics hit .556 in conference games this season and six of his 10 hits went for extra bases. He drove home 13 runs in the seven MBC games. His whip-like left-handed swing made him the most feared hitter in the MBC this season.

Most Valuable Pitching: Reece Lucas and Ryan Kling, New Richmond.

To separate these two juniors would be unjust, because they answered the Tigers' biggest need this season. Among their attributes, poise may be the most important, because they stood tall in some high-pressure situations.

Most Improved: Derek Myer, St. Croix Central.

Honorable Mention: Cody Gostovich, St. Croix Central; Ryan Kling, New Richmond; Reese Lucas, New Richmond.

Myer might be the player who gave Kretovics the best competition for most-feared hitter in the area. The ball jumps off Myer's bat. He made huge strides in the mental side of his game this year.


Most Valuable Player: Lorin Bauer, New Richmond.

Honorable Mention: Olivia Wasley, St. Croix Central; Kayli Thanig, Somerset; Georgia Hammer, Somerset.

Bauer got short-changed in the All-MBC voting. With her hitting and superb defense, she belonged on the first team. It seemed every one of her hits was for extra bases and she easily ranked among the best defensive outfielders in the conference.

Most Improved: Claire Frankiewicz, St. Croix Central.

Honorable Mention: Avery Patraw, New Richmond, Cora Atkins, Somerset.

The St. Croix Central softball team didn't see the wins it wanted this season, but the Panthers were more competitive in their games. Frankiewicz did the team's best pitching and also ended up as the Panthers' leading hitter.

Girls Track

Most Valuable Track: Liv Moll, St. Croix Central.

Moll ends her career as one of the most honored runners in St. Croix Central history. Between cross country and track, she has produced incomparable success. And that doesn't even begin to talk about the leadership she provided, which was second to none.

Most Valuable Field: Eve Goldstein, Somerset.

Honorable Mention: Mia Krogseng, St. Croix Central.

Goldstein has fun with her sport and has an infectious spirit. That's the exterior. Inside is a heart that drives Goldstein to be the best she can be, at everything she does.

Most Improved: Marie Hamlin, St. Croix Central.

Honorable Mention: Barb Kling, New Richmond; Abbie Montreal, New Richmond.

Hamlin is the picture of determination. There's not a hint of emotion when she runs, just the steely focus to keep tracking down whoever is running ahead of her.

Boys Track

Most Valuable Track: Dylan Minke, New Richmond.

Honorable Mention: Cole Birch, New Richmond; Frank Holter, St. Croix Central; Austin Kopacz, St. Croix Central; Jacob Murtha, St. Croix Central.

Minke gets the edge here in an outstanding group of boys track athletes, with his elite performance in the MBC meet giving him the edge.

Most Valuable Field: Nathan Strader, St. Croix Central.

Honorable Mention: Zac Bringgold, St. Croix Central; Brandon Haag, New Richmond; Justin Rivard, Somerset.

Strader had awful luck at the last two state meets, finishing seventh in the pole vault each time. But don't let that cloud your judgement, coaches around the state consider him one of the best Division 2 pole vaulters.

Most Improved: Joe Powers, New Richmond.

Honorable Mention: James Schachtner, Somerset; Brett Mousel, St. Croix Central.

When the Tigers needed someone late in the season to fill a key spot in the relays, Powers stepped in. And he stepped up. He kept the Tigers in the thick of the competition in the sprint relays at sectionals. He also made great progress in the hurdles. He's in a position to become a team leader the next two seasons.

Boys Golf

Most Valuable: Blake Peterson, New Richmond.

Honorable Mention: Trevor Woyda, St. Croix Central.

Peterson's rapid emergence is nothing short of incredible. He was clearly the top dog in the MBC all season. With three years of golf experience, he's just scratched the surface of his abilities. His consistency sets him apart. He was the only player to earn points in every MBC match this season.

Most Improved: Max Davis, New Richmond.

Honorable Mention: Owen Covey, New Richmond; Jacob Sanders, St. Croix Central; Mike Benedict, New Richmond.

Davis had to battle his way into the varsity lineup. By the end of the season, he was playing in the Division 1 sectional meet, and was playing well. Davis is a big hitter. With another year to polish his game, he's another Tiger who is clearly on the rise.

New Richmond Boys Tennis

Most Valuable: Trent Ziebol.

Honorable Mention: Herbie Struss and Tyler Blattner.

Ziebol targeted the No. 1 singles spot at the start of the offseason. He worked incredibly hard to get it. And if you are going to play No. 1 singles in Division 1, you better be ready to face a highly-skilled opponent every match. Ziebol showed he is fully capable of competing with the upper level singles players in the area.

Most Improved: Joe Smallidge.

Honorable Mention: Logan Denucci.

Several Tigers had to take big steps forward in the lineup this season. Smallidge was one of those who had to make a major advancement. He stepped up his play to become a quality No. 2 singles player.

Girls Soccer

Most Valuable Player Defense: Audrey Feuerer, New Richmond.

Honorable Mention: Hannah Waskosky, Somerset.

Feuerer is everything coaches want in a top-end defender: smart and aggressive, with quick reactions. And especially tough. She doesn't back down from any challenge. As a sophomore, she's already one of the best defenders in the western half of the state.

Most Valuable Player Offense: Anna Rybacki, Somerset.

Honorable Mention: Amelia Feuerer, New Richmond.

Opponents knew. If Somerset got the ball to Anna Rybacki, it was most likely ending up in the goal. Opponents tried a number of different defensive schemes to stop her. None were very successful. Rybacki combines speed and strength with intense focus. Her passing is a vastly underrated skill.

Most Versatile Player: Maya Greenquist, New Richmond.

Greenquist was in consideration for the best offensive and defensive player. She's the equivalent of having an extra queen in a chess game. The Tiger coaches move her to whatever area they want strengthened for a particular game and she makes that an area of strength. In terms of toughness and game smarts, there are few who can match her.


Coaching Staff of the season: New Richmond baseball (Travis Helland).

Honorable Mention: New Richmond girls soccer (Tracey Boyle).

Three straight MBC championships elevates Helland and his staff to the top in this spring's awards. The Tiger coaches have constructed a program that has players ready to contribute at the varsity level when the opportunity arises. That coaching has also led to the Tigers having the deepest pitching staff in the conference.

Best Coaching Moment: Judy Weiss, New Richmond girls track. There is an art to setting a lineup for a track meet. Weiss only had one senior competing in the MBC meet and the Tigers didn't have any event champions. To their opponents, the Tigers were an afterthought. Weiss' decades of coaching showed as she manipulated her lineup to get the Tigers a third-place team finish.

Dave Newman

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 more than 30 years.

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