The whipping wind was a factor in all of the sports events that took place on Tuesday, including WIAA regional golf and softball.
In Division 1 golf, the New Richmond boys missed advancing as a team by two strokes at the Superior regional meet. New Richmond sophomore Owen Covey did advance, finishing as co-medalist at the Superior regional tournament.
St. Croix Central’s golfers advanced in the WIAA Division 2 Somerset regional tournament played at Bristol Ridge Golf Course. The Panthers finished in second place at the regional meet with a 361 team score.
The New Richmond softball team had its season end in WIAA Division 1 softball action Tuesday, losing 16-5 in five innings. Here’s a rundown on all the events that took place on Tuesday.
Division 1 golf
The Tigers played tremendously on the front nine at Nemadji Golf Course in Superior on Tuesday. But as the winds kicked up off Lake Superior, the Tigers’ scores all kicked upward.
The Tigers led after the front nine with a team score of 154. The Tigers finished the 18 holes with a score of 323, finishing two strokes behind Superior as the fourth team to advance to the Division 1 sectional meet.
Covey will get to play at the sectional, which New Richmond will host next Wednesday.
“I think it’s a huge advantage. He knows the course so well,” Tiger coach Neal Ziller said of Covey’s opportunity to play on his home course for sectionals. “The seniors told him to put (his drives) down the middle at all costs.”
Of all the Tigers, Ziller said Covey was affected most by the wind that moved in late in the sectional round.
“It got really windy. With his length, it messed with his distance control,” Ziller said.
Covey shot a 76 at the sectional, as did Ben Pendleton of Hudson and Grant Imsande of Menomonie. All three are sophomores. Among Covey’s scores was an eagle, where a beautifully performed punch shot from under a tree left him a short putt to finish the eagle.
Another Tiger sophomore nearly qualified for sectionals. Michael Benedict tied for the final spot as an individual qualifier by shooting 80. He lost out on advancing on the third playoff hole.
“Michael was hitting the driver the best I’ve ever seen him hit it. Both (Owen) and Michael have really matured since last year,” Ziller said.
Seniors Blake Peterson and Max Davis finished their high school careers at the regional meet, Davis shooting an 83 and Peterson 84. Sophomore Clay Gess shot 87.
“They gave it everything they had,” Ziller said of the Tigers’ performance. “I’m not displeased at all, 323 is a pretty good score.”
St. Croix Central finished second in the Division 2 regional to earn a spot in the sectional tournament that will be played next Wednesday at Hayward.
The Panthers shot 361 to finish in second place, five strokes behind Amery. A balanced team effort has been the Panthers’ trademark all season and that showed again at the regional meet. Matt Mueller led the Panthers with an 88. Jordan Woyda shot 89, Jacob Sanders 91, Mason Bohatta 92 and Zach Anderson 95.
All of the Panthers played better on the back nine, with Mueller making the biggest improvement. After shooting a 49 on the front, he finished with a 40 on the back nine.
Central coach Chris Buckel said he thinks the Panthers will perform better at the sectional tournament.
“The boys didn't play to potential, but neither did most other regional golfers. We will enter sectionals with the goal of advancing to state as a team. Each of my five golfers is also capable of advancing as an individual,” Buckel said.
Somerset was unable to advance, placing seventh among the 10 teams with a score of 416. Senior Dominic Abbott led the Spartans with a 95. Colton Musta shot 103, Bret Nelson 108, Tyler Soderlund 110 and Johnathon Richard 119.
Somerset coach Todd Myers said the Spartans played well in stretches, but a few bad holes took the Spartans out of individual and team contention.
“Overall I couldn't be more proud of the boys, Bristol Ridge is a tough course and conditions were difficult. Dom Abbott and Colton Musta are our two varsity seniors but we have seven seniors on the roster so we are hoping to see an influx of young players for next season,” Myers said.
New Richmond softball
A cold start victimized the Tiger softball team in their WIAA Division 1 regional tournament game at Marshfield on Tuesday. Marshfield scored four runs in the first inning and eight more in the second to build a 12-0 lead. The game finished with Marshfield winning 16-5 in five innings.
New Richmond coach Lynzi Pechacek said the coaching staff tried to prepare the Tigers to be confident that they could compete in the game, but that positivity didn’t parlay into the Tigers’ play.
The Tigers did gain a measure of respect by rallying for five runs in the fourth inning. Juniors Erika Emerson and Lexy Kupczak had the big hits of the rally, with Emerson producing a two-run single and Kupczak a run-scoring double.
Tiger coach Lynzi Pechacek was proud of the fact that the Tigers nearly tripled their win total of 2018, finishing with an 8-14 record.
“The silver lining is we have everyone coming back next, which is awesome,” Pechacek said. “Next year, they know what they have to do better.”
Pechacek said she believes her team has all the physical tools to become a top quality team. She said gaining more mental toughness is the biggest area of need for the team. She said that should improve with off-season play, with many of the girls scheduled to play over the summer and in the fall.
New Richmond soccer
Goals came in every conceivable way as the Tigers earned a 7-0 win at Osceola in New Richmond’s final regular season game of the season on Tuesday.
The Tigers finish the regular season with a 13-2-2 record. The Tigers haven’t lost a game since April 6.
The seven goals at Osceola give the Tigers 100 goals for the season. This is the first time in program history where the Tigers have reached the 100-goal mark for the regular season.
Junior Maya Greenquist scored four of the Tigers’ goals Tuesday, with Amanda Johnson, Kialie Malone and Lauren Graham also scoring goals. Johnson’s goal was the first of the night. He shot struck the crossbar, glanced downward where it struck the back of the Osceola goalkeeper and bounced into the net.
It was that kind of night, with the ball bounding in all sort of odd directions with a wicked crosswind compounded by the fast Osceola turf. One of Greenquist’s goals was a shot from 40 yards out, where the Osceola keeper came out to stop the shot, only to see the ball bounce over the keeper’s reach and into the goal.
Osceola played an extremely defensive style, with one forward in the offensive zone. The rest of the Chieftains were in the defensive zone, clogging up the Tigers’ runs toward the goal. Tiger coach Tracey Boyle said her team has seen this defensive structure in most of its Middle Border Conference games and has become accustomed to dealing with this many opponents blocking their path.
The progressive improvement shown by the Tigers carried weight when the WIAA regional tournament seeding meeting was held last week. The Tigers earned the third seed in the tournament bracket. The Tigers will start Division 2 tournament play at 7 p.m. next Tuesday when they host Menomonie, the sixth seed.