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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For the third straight season, the St. Croix Central football team has advanced to the WIAA state semifinals. And the Panthers are hoping, that for the third straight year, it propels them into the Division 4 state championship game.
The St. Croix Central and Somerset football teams have a long history of exciting battles, especially in the WIAA playoffs. That continued last Friday, when the undefeated Panthers got all they could handle from the fourth-seeded Spartans. Two big offensive plays by Central ended up being the keys to the game as the Panthers were able to advance with a 21-7 win over the Spartans.
There may not have been a more challenging schedule played in WIAA boys soccer this fall than that of the New Richmond Tigers. After all, how many teams had four of their opponents qualify for this weekend’s WIAA state championships? The Tigers saw their season come to an end last Thursday in the Division 2 sectional semifinals. The Tigers were defeated 7-1, ending their season with a 13-8-1 record.
Marie Hamlin went from being the fifth runner on the St. Croix Central girls team in 2017 to the fourth best female senior runner in Wisconsin high school cross-country in 2018. Hamlin finished fourth at the 2018 WIAA Division 2 state championship race on Saturday at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids, the best finish ever by a St. Croix Central runner at a WIAA state cross-country championship meet. Across the three divisions, Hamlin also had the fourth best time of any senior competing in Saturday's state championships.
To say this will be a season of change for the New Richmond boys hockey team would be an understatement. The Tigers graduated 16 seniors and long-time coach Adam Swanda recently stepped down from his position after more than 20 years with the team. The new Tigers will stay true to their roots. Stepping in as head coach will be former Tiger Zach Kier. Two of his assistant coaches, Josh Leavens and Aaron Chwialkowski, are also former Tiger skaters. The Tigers will start their official practices under Kier and his staff on Monday, Nov. 5.
Sparta's big plays and physical play up front proved too much for the New Richmond Tigers last Friday. Sparta knocked the Tigers out of the WIAA Division 3 playoffs, 33-14. The loss ended New Richmond's six-game winning streak. It also finishes New Richmond's season with a 6-5 record.
New Richmond sophomore Willa Rogers has been stringing together outstanding performances through the second half of the 2018 season and she added another at the WIAA State Championships on Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids. Rogers ran one of the best times of her career to place 65th among 190 runners competing in the Division 1 race at the state cross country meet.
St. Croix Central senior Marie Hamlin capped one of the finest cross country seasons in St. Croix Central history on Saturday, placing fourth in the girls Division 2 WIAA state championship race on Saturday. Hamlin was joined at state by sophomore teammate Mya Kizer and Kizer also performed well, placing 26th in the Division 2 girls race. The state championships were held at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids on Saturday. New Richmond sophomore Willa Rogers competed in the girls Division 1 state meet, placing 65th.
Hockey has taken the Williams sisters all over the United States and to Australia. Now it will be taking them to Europe. Jade and Bailey Williams are scheduled to be part of a United States U19 team that plays in Sweden, Estonia and Finland next April.
The season is over for the Somerset and New Richmond football teams, but the St. Croix Central football team has advanced to the third round of the WIAA Division 4 playoffs.