Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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The St. Croix Valley Fusion girls' hockey team nearly made it a clean sweep at its annual Thanksgiving Invitational last week. After defeating the Northern Wisconsin (Siren) Blizzard, 3-2, on a last-second goal by McKayla Custer Wednesday night Nov. 21, and topping the Cap City (Sun Prairie) Cougars, 4-1, Friday, Nov. 25, the Fusion took the defending sectional champion Hayward/Spooner Hurricanes to overtime Saturday before dropping a 3-2 decision. "I was happy with the girls and their performance in this tournament," head coach Matt Cranston said.
Alex Call just completed his senior season of high school football at River Falls by being named to the All-Big Rivers Conference team at three different positions. And football isn't even his best sport. Call took time before Wildcat basketball practice last Wednesday afternoon to officially commit to attend college and play baseball at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., beginning next fall.
After winning three straight state championships from 2010-12, this week the St. Croix Valley Fusion girls' hockey team begins its quest to return to the WIAA State Tournament. And they will be challenged right off the bat. The Fusion, who finished 16-10-1 last season and reached the WIAA sectional final for the fifth straight year, open the 2012-13 season by hosting three of last year's top ten teams at its annual Thanksgiving Invite in Baldwin. The Fusion, a cooperative team consisting of players from River Falls, Baldwin-Woodville, St.
The balance the Wildcat football team displayed this season was evident in the Cats' inclusion on the 2012 All-Big Rivers Conference football teams. The Cats earned nods at seven different offensive positions, four different defensive spots, and two on special teams. Two players -- seniors Tiano Pupungatoa and Alex Call -- earned multiple spots on the All-BRC teams.
Mike Kealy is no stranger to River Falls hockey. A former Wildcat himself, Kealy has coached at every level of the River Falls Youth Hockey Association, including guiding Pee Wee and Bantam teams to state titles in 2004 and 2005, and serving as RFYHA board president from April, 2009 to April 2012. So when Kealy stepped on the ice as the Wildcats' new head coach Monday, Nov. 5, he was more than ready for the job. "I've wanted this for so long," Kealy said. "Monday, the first day of practice, I realized it's finally real.
What started as a simple tribute to her late grandfather turned into a life-changing event for River Falls' native Gretchen Page when Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast. Page, a 2002 graduate of River Falls High School, has lived in New York City for nearly four years, working as a fundraiser and financial developer for an Off-Broadway theater company while finishing her masters at Columbia University.
The Wildcat girls swim and dive team may not have had any state qualifiers come out of Saturday's WIAA Sectional Meet in Stevens Point, but it did bring home a sectional runner-up plaque. The Cats' depth was on full display as they finished second only to Ashwaubenon's first place score of 385.5 in the 15-team field.
A pair of Wildcat juniors were honored by the Big Rivers Conference volleyball coaches for their play this season by being named to the 2012 All-BRC Second Team. Middle hitter Amanda Rohl and setter Izzy Shafer were both named to the eight-player squad by the conference coaches. Wildcat head coach Sara McDonald said she was pleased to have two River Falls' players named to the team. "I have said all season that we are a better team than our record indicates," McDonald said.
Seniors Tanner Heinselman and Zach Ambur lead a contingent of six Wildcats named to 2012 All-Big Rivers Conference Boys' Soccer teams. Heinselman, a midfielder, and Ambur, a defender were both named to the All-BRC first team for the second straight season. Junior defender Robbie Waldon was named to the second team while junior defender Evan Schumacher, senior forward Griffin Lacek and senior midfielder Martin Walker all received honorable mention.
Over the last 13 years, the Wildcat gymnastics team has solidified its position as one of the most successful high school teams in the state, in any sport. Eleven straight trips to the WIAA State Tournament, five state championships, four state runner-up finishes, nine Big Rivers Conference titles, the list goes on and on. But when the 2012-13 team meets for the first day of practice Monday, Nov.