Each high school season for more than 25 years, The Inhuman Awards have been presented to athletes from the New Richmond, Somerset and St. Croix Central varsity sports season. That tradition continues with this fall’s awards.
There will be an addition for each sport in this season’s awards. We’ve added an award called “Someone to Admire.” This award was added to recognize contributions that might otherwise not fall under the usual standards of awards.
Most Valuable: Joey Kidder, New Richmond.
Based on his contributions on offense and defense, Kidder stands alone. He was the best receiver in the Middle Border Conference and the best safety. His two-fold level of play stood above the crowd.
Most Valuable Offense: (tie) Tim Salmon and Joey Kidder, New Richmond.
Honorable Mention: Joe Powers, New Richmond; Trevor Kopacz, St. Croix Central.
Salmon and Kidder became an unstoppable force. When the Tigers needed yards, opponents knew where the ball was going, but they could rarely stop Salmon and Kidder from connecting on a critical pass play.
Most Valuable Lineman: Carson Hinzman, St. Croix Central.
Honorable Mention: Josh Woodington and Corben Klatt, St. Croix Central; Connor Felton, New Richmond; Bailey Mullenberg, Somerset.
Hinzman is still a work in progress, which is mind-boggling considering how far advanced he is as a sophomore. As the only player in his class to earn all-state honors on both sides of the ball, it shows where his career could be headed.
Most Valuable Defense: Cooper Strand, New Richmond.
Honorable Mention: Joey Kidder and Jackson Seidling, New Richmond; Zac Holme and Trevor Kopacz, St. Croix Central; Tate Pitcher, Somerset.
Strand was a tackling machine this season, roving the field from sideline to sideline. When he hit a ballcarrier, they went down.
Most Improved: Jackson Seidling, New Richmond.
Honorable Mention: Caleb Eastep and Caleb Stangl, New Richmond; Braeden Bloom and Josh Bair; St. Croix Central; Beaudee Smith and Riley McGurran, Somerset.
Seidling dedicated himself to the weight room. In a year’s time, he turned himself into one of the best defensive ends in the area with an incredibly quick first step.
Someone to Admire: The New Richmond football offensive line of Fred Riba, Caleb Stangl, Connor Felton, Austin Vincent and Ian Scheetz. Without the drastic improvement made by the Tiger linemen this season, the team’s success never would have happened. Offensive linemen often toil anonymously, but these players deserve the spotlight for their efforts.
Most Valuable Offense: AJ Johnson, New Richmond.
Honorable Mention: Michael Benedict, New Richmond; Aaron Shartin-Folkert, Somerset.
Johnson had soccer skills never seen here before, with incredible vision, touch on his passes, and a burst of speed that almost instantly left defenders strides behind him.
Most Valuable Defense: Carter Melby, New Richmond.
Honorable Mention: Ben Rybacki, Somerset; Martin Stenske, New Richmond; Jack Burmood, New Richmond.
Melby developed into one of the best keepers New Richmond has ever had. Getting 15 shutouts in a season may never happen again, especially with the Tigers’ challenging non-conference and playoff schedule.
Most Improved: Michael Benedict, New Richmond.
Honorable Mention: Brandon Wright, Somerset; Clay Gess, New Richmond, Brandon Dennis, New Richmond; Brock Harris, Somerset.
Benedict became one of the Tigers’ most important offensive players. His play as an outside mid forced defenses to stretch, opening up more opportunities for teammates in the middle of the field.
Someone to Admire: Logan Giossi, Somerset.
If all-conference honors were measured on the love of the game and the hunger to compete, Giossi would be a first-team all-conference player every year.
Most Valuable Hitter: Olivia Cleary, St. Croix Central.
Honorable Mention: Audrey Feuerer and Leah DeYoung, New Richmond; Katie Larson and Katie Gostovich, St. Croix Central; Hope Baillargeon, Somerset.
Cleary emerged as an outstanding middle hitter, improving throughout the season.
Most Valuable Defense/Setter: Kaitlyn Holmgren, St. Croix Central.
Honorable Mention: Ashley Patten, New Richmond; Madison Trautmiller, Somerset.
Holmgren has refined her skills to become a complete setter. Central’s arsenal of hitters gets most of the attention, but it is Holmgren’s quick decisions and accurate sets that keep the attack clicking.
Someone to Admire: Call them “The Amazing Gracies.” New Richmond’s Gracie Getschel and Somerset’s Gracie Hartman have incredible spirit and passion for the game, which they bring every point, whether they are on the court or on the sidelines. They are outstanding at being teammates, an undervalued skill that is vitally important.
Most Valuable: Jessica Hagman, New Richmond.
Honorable Mention: Haley Myers, Somerset; Lanie Veenendall, New Richmond; Sally Vangsness, St. Croix Central.
Hagman and Myers both had outstanding seasons and careers, as multiple state qualifiers and girls who will continue their careers in college. They are both strong, smart players who push themselves to learn more about their game.
Most Improved and Someone to Admire: Sally Vangsness, St. Croix Central.
Vangsness has undergone 15 surgeries in her lifetime to deal with a leg that didn’t form correctly. The toughness of dealing with all that has made her a driven, mentally tough golfer.
Most Valuable - Boys: (tie) Jakob Eggen, St. Croix Central and Cale Bishop, New Richmond.
Honorable Mention: Tyler Harris, New Richmond; Eric Collins and Cougar Holder, St. Croix Central.
Eggen and Bishop emerged as elite runners this season, through the quantity of hard work and miles they logged in the offseason. Success in running is a 12-month process and they both showed it.
Most Valuable - Girls: Mya Kizer, St. Croix Central.
Honorable Mention: Kaitlyn Carlson, St. Croix Central; Anna Fitzgerald and Kayla Harris, New Richmond; Adeline Goeltl, Somerset.
Kizer was the heir apparent to being Central’s top runner this season, but Carlson arrived as an incredible freshman. Kizer grew to understand that she and Carlson could help each other and it resulted in both of them being top 15 runners at the state meet. Kizer’s ability to swallow her pride was hugely important this year and for next season, as they come back as one of the best returning 1-2 duos in the state.
Most Improved - Boys: Landon Carney and Chase Chiarle, New Richmond.
Honorable Mention: Cale Bishop and Max Blader, New Richmond; Micah Larson and Colin Hackbarth, St. Croix Central.
Without Carney and Chiarle making their incredible push at the end of the season, the Tigers would never have qualified for state.
Most Improved - Girls: Anna Fitzgerald, New Richmond.
In a season with so many freshmen who stood out, Fitzgerald’s top 20 finish at the Division 1 sectional shows she has a bright future.
Someone to Admire: St. Croix Central coach Bill Emery.
There are many coaches in the area who excel in teaching life values athletes can gain from their sport. Emery is one of the best. His former athletes sing his praises of what they learned from Emery and how it fits into the larger scheme of their lives.
New Richmond Girls Tennis
Most Valuable: Mia Bakke, Katie Eickhoff and Teresa Tenner.
These three seniors have brought so much to the program over their four seasons that they all deserve to share this honor. They were outstanding leaders and ambassadors for the program.
Most Improved: Onalie Dennis and Rhea Warner.
These girls had to battle to win the final varsity doubles team spots. They continually showed they deserved the spots, becoming an almost unstoppable tandem with a bright future.
Someone to Admire: The 13 seniors who weren’t varsity players, but remained in the program for four years. It is so rare when seniors who aren’t starters stay in the program. To see such a large group of seniors stay without the glory of being a “starter” is impressive. What’s also impressive? The fact the 18 seniors on the team have a combined 3.75 cumulative grade point average.
Coaching Staff of the Season: New Richmond girls tennis (Denise Devereux).
Honorable Mention: New Richmond boys soccer; St. Croix Central cross country; New Richmond football; Somerset boys soccer; New Richmond girls golf; New Richmond cross country.
Devereux’s year-round dedication to tennis sets the standard of coaching involvement in a sport. With her coaching both varsity teams and hardly leaving the courts during the summer, she is deeply involved in her sport at every level of the program.