Across the board, the spring sports in the area provided fans with a number of entertaining performances.
Some teams were young, some teams were packed with veterans, yet all of the teams showed areas of progress.
Each season we present the Inhuman Awards to recognize some of the area's top athletic performances. Here are the awards for the spring 2019 season.
Most Valuable Offense: (tie) Jack Bau, New Richmond; Derek Myer, St. Croix Central; AJ Beasley, Somerset.
Honorable Mention: Reece Lucas, New Richmond; Zac Holme and Keagen Berg, St. Croix Central.
This may be the first time an Inhuman Award was split three ways, between athletes from three different schools. But that's how special the seasons were for all three of these athletes.
Myer had to deal with teams avoiding him this season, after he hit the ball so well in his junior season. This tactic helped Myer develop another skill, patience at the plate.
Beasley has incredibly diverse talents. Speed, an excellent arm and line drive hitting, combining those talents sets him up well for a college career at Minnesota-Duluth.
Bau purposely was left for last. He was the most feared hitter in the MBC this season, collecting numerous intentional walks. That he wasn't voted onto the All-MBC first team stinks. It is ridiculous that the MBC coaches got righteous about some on-field actions, when there were so many actions in different sports around the MBC by athletes, coaches, parents and fans that went unpoliced. Penalizing one athlete after the fact is gutless. Bau should be getting all-state honors, but the MBC coaches decided to take that opportunity away from him.
Most Valuable Pitcher: Ryan Kling, New Richmond.
Kling's pitching stands alone. Finishing with an 11-2 record and an 0.81 ERA makes Kling one of the most successful high school pitchers in the state this spring. That he's not on the all-state team is a farce. The only pitchers in the state with more wins were Jack Washburn from the D4 state champions from Webster and Shane Ryan from the D3 state runner-up from Markesan.
Most Improved: Zac Holme, St. Croix Central.
Honorable Mention: Talon Seckora, Drew Momchilovich and Hayden Bradbury, New Richmond; Jack Gazdik, Somerset.
Holme was given a great deal of responsibility when he was put in Central's cleanup spot in the batting order behind Derek Myer. Holme delivered in a big way. He was one of the top offensive forces in the MBC, seemingly delivering every time there was a runner on base.
Most Valuable Offense: Maya Greenquist, New Richmond.
Honorable Mention: Satin Mull, Somerset; Amelia Feuerer, New Richmond.
Greenquist alone outscored several Middle Border Conference teams this season with her 28 goals. In addition to her scoring, Greenquist became much better at distributing the ball within the offensive zone. She made her team better by getting the ball to teammates in situations where they could score.
Most Valuable Defense: (tie) Audrey Feuerer, New Richmond and Kristen Vensland, Somerset.
Honorable Mention: Teresa Tenner, New Richmond.
Feuerer and Vensland have drastically different playing styles, but both are incredibly valuable to their team's success. Feuerer is powerful and bold with quick-burst speed that helps her close down opposing scoring chances before shots get taken. Vensland is much more of a tactician, taking the proper angles to cut off plays before they turn into scoring chances. One thing they have in common is toughness. They are both scrappers who never give up.
Most Improved: Katie Moeller, New Richmond.
Honorable Mention: Kacie Malone, New Richmond; Brycen Chladek, Somerset; Tiffany Hantsbarger, Somerset; Taylor Paulson, Somerset; Taylor Mitchell, New Richmond.
Moeller was one of the hidden keys that made the Tiger defense so strong. She found a home as an outside defender and quickly became a shutdown defender. It was rare to see a cross come from her side of the field, because she wouldn't allow it to happen.
Most Valuable: Lexy Kupczak, New Richmond.
Honorable Mention: Olivia Wasley, St. Croix Central; Georgia Hammer, Somerset; Leah DeYoung, New Richmond.
Kupczak hits the ball as well as anyone in the area. Where her experience showed most this season was behind the dish, working with the Tigers' young pitchers. She is understanding the importance of the leadership that's needed from the catching position.
Most Improved: Leah DeYoung, New Richmond.
Honorable Mention: Ashley Mann, St. Croix Central.
DeYoung proved herself this season as a pitcher who can carry a team. DeYoung's progress is another reason the Tigers have a bright future.
Most Valuable Track: Jacob Parent, New Richmond.
Honorable Mention: Max Fore, New Richmond.
Parent decided to join the track team as a junior. He quickly showed he's one of the best sprinters in the MBC, an area that looks like it should be a team strength for the Tigers next season. Parent became a team leader and his intensity set a good model for younger members of the team.
Most Valuable Field: Joe Hueg, St. Croix Central.
Honorable Mention: James Schachtner, Somerset; Ty Madden, Somerset; Joe Charbonneau, New Richmond; Alex Jarchow, New Richmond.
Hueg has worked four years for the success he had this spring. He dominated the throwing events in the area and has a state medal that validates his work. Don't be surprised if he builds on this success when he's competing at St. Thomas.
Most Valuable Track: Marie Hamlin, St. Croix Central.
Honorable Mention: Barb Kling, New Richmond; Kolbi Juen, St. Croix Central.
Hamlin built herself into one of the best distance runners in western Wisconsin. She has a training ethic that can't be topped and she's a ferocious competitor. Those attributes should carry her to a splendid college career.
Most Valuable Field: Eve Goldstein, Somerset.
Goldstein is one of the best field event athletes in the state. As a four-time state champion, she is being recruited by colleges all over the nation. She may be even better in college. She is outstanding in the hammer throw, an event not in the WIAA system, but in most college meets.
Most Improved: Mya Kizer, St. Croix Central.
Honorable Mention: Addie Zinck, New Richmond; Emma Osegard, St. Croix Central.
Kizer is the next of the outstanding Panther distance runners. She not only improved her strength and stamina this year, but she learned more about how to work a race and read what her competitors are doing.
Most Valuable: Matt Mueller, St. Croix Central.
Honorable Mention: Owen Covey, New Richmond; Blake Peterson, New Richmond.
Mueller transferring from Baldwin-Woodville to SCC turned the Panthers into a legitimate threat to win every MBC match. Mueller was incredibly consistent. He and Covey are part of an incredibly talented sophomore class across the MBC that should make the next two years highly entertaining.
Most Improved: Clay Gess, New Richmond.
Honorable Mention: Jacob Sanders, St. Croix Central.
When the Tigers needed a fifth golfer to step up, Gess came through. He soaked up a lot of golf knowledge this season. With some work on his mechanics, Gess should be able to make more progress for next season.
Most Valuable: Trent Ziebol.
Ziebol was the best singles player in the conference. You could see not only how he improved at the physical aspects of his game, but the mental side, in learning how to handle the pressure of big matches better.
Most Improved: Joe Casey and Ray Osterbauer.
Honorable Mention: Quentin Hayes and Jack Davis, Tyler Dennis.
Osterbauer and Casey formed the Tigers' three doubles team and they became one of the team's most reliable sources of wins. For guys in their second year of playing tennis, they have quickly learned some of the nuances of being doubles partners. They are capable of moving up the doubles lineup next season.
Staff of the Season: New Richmond girls soccer (Tracey Boyle).
Honorable Mention: New Richmond boys golf (Neal Ziller), Somerset girls soccer (Bill Roll), St. Croix Central boys golf (Chris Buckel), St. Croix Central baseball (Tom Sauve), New Richmond baseball (Travis Helland).
Boyle and her staff have set a high standard for the Tiger soccer program and they continue to bring their teams to that standard. Our area has become one of the stronger areas in the state in producing high level soccer programs. The commitment of the Tigers is part of why our area is building such a strong reputation in soccer.