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 2017 fall season was packed with exceptional efforts from area athletes in every high school sport. Those efforts resulted in numerous honors at the conference, region and state level. The News has been presenting The Inhuman Awards for more than 20 years to recognize outstanding athletic achievements from the athletes at the New Richmond, Somerset and St. Croix Central high schools, to further honor noteworthy efforts from our high school athletes. Here are the Inhuman Awards for the fall 2017 season. Football
Gwynn Christensen achieved a great many things in his 92 years. He started as high school standout athlete, then a World War II soldier. That was followed by being a college football starter, high school coach and administrator, college coach, businessman, Shriner and Mason, to name a few. Christensen moved to New Richmond in 1970. He remained here until he died on Nov. 5 at the American Heritage Care Center in Hammond.
This fall may be the most successful single athletic season experienced in the history of St. Croix Central High School. And around the state, Central's success this fall ranks among the top overall performances by any high school. St. Croix Central has seen its football, girls cross country and boys cross country reach the state championships and the volleyball team reach the sectional championship match. There are only three other schools, all in Division 1, that equalled or exceeded that level of success.
The St. Croix Central football team will attempt to win the third WIAA state championship in program history this Thursday when the Panthers battle Lodi in the Division 4 state title game. The game will be played at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison at 7 p.m. The Panthers carry a 12-1 record into the state title game, while Lodi comes in at 13-0. St. Croix Central is the defending Division 4 state champion after defeating River Valley 49-28 in the 2016 Division 4 state title game. Central won its initial state football championship in 1988.
Bees and bikes? Never thought they'd go together? At a business called "Beez Kneez" in Minneapolis, bikes are used to extract honey from the honeycombs. Tim Alsdurf of New Richmond began raising bees at his home on the outskirts of the city three years ago. He's also a member of the Big Ring Flyers bike racing team. So this fall he decided that his two interests could be combined. He spent more than four hours on a recent day riding a stationary bike at Beez Kneez.
Ellsworth junior Erica Feuerhelm has qualified to play in the 2017 WIAA Division 2 Girls Golf State Championships. Feuerhelm qualified for state by shooting an 87 at the Division 2 sectional tournament played at the Frederic Golf Club.
Through the first half of the season, New Richmond senior linebacker Clayton Van Dyk has had to play with a heavy guard wrapped around his left hand. He is extremely fortunate that his left hand remains intact. In late July, Van Dyk was involved in a farm accident at his family's farm just outside Boardman. Damage was done to the index, middle and ring fingers of that hand. The index and ring fingers were both broken, requiring pins to be inserted to assure that the fingers would heal in their proper alignment.
The showdown is on. The St. Croix Central and Osceola football teams clash this Friday on the artificial turf in Osceola with the Middle Border Conference lead on the line.
Getting to run on the biggest cross country stage in the Midwest is an opportunity some area runners receive when they compete at the Roy Griak Invitational. Ellsworth was one of the teams competing at this year's meet at the University of Minnesota, where hundreds of college and high school teams competed throughout the day at the Les Bolstad Golf Course. The meet attracts teams from all over the Midwest.
Two meets in a week, run in weather that bordered on sweltering, proved to be a test for the area cross country teams last week. Ellsworth ran last Tuesday at the Rice Lake Invitational, then finished its week by running at the Osceola Invite on Saturday. Prescott ran in its home invitational last Tuesday before competing at Osceola on Saturday.