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 Wildcat boys' basketball team held sixth-ranked Onalaska to 34 points below their season scoring average Thursday night, but that didn't stop the Hilltoppers from advancing to their third straight sectional final. Onalaska's defense was just as stingy, holding River Falls to just nine field goals on its way to a 27-22 win in a WIAA Division 2 sectional semifinal at Eau Claire Memorial High School. Onalaska improved to 23-2 with the victory and will face Merrill (14-11) in the sectional semifinal Saturday night in Marshfield.
Two-time Olympic medal winner and River Falls native Karyn Bye Dietz displays her gold medal for hockey from the 1998 Winter Olympics in Japan and her silver medal from the 2002 Salt Lake City games to a group of youngsters at Wildcat Centre the afternoon of Saturday, Feb. 19.
The UW-River Falls women's hockey team has accomplished a lot since its inception in 1999. But it's never been ranked No. 1 in the nation. Until now. The Falcons, by virtue of a weekend sweep over Finlandia University, coupled with previous No. 1 Rochester Institute of Technology's loss to Oswego Saturday, moved into the top spot in this week's USCHO.com poll released Monday afternoon. UW-RF beat Finlandia 7-1 Saturday and 12-0 Sunday at Hunt Arena. The 12 goals is a team record for most goals in a game. The Falcons have been ranked nationally for 38 straight weeks but have never been No.
Emotions were high Friday, Feb. 11 at the high school gym when the Wildcat boys' basketball team took on Menomonie. It was senior night, in front of a packed house with a share of the Big Rivers Conference on the line. And despite Menomonie's best efforts to spoil the night, the Cats came away with a 55-47 victory to win their first conference title since the 2004-05 season. The Wildcats can win the title outright by beating Rice Lake on the road Feb. 18. River Falls enters the game with a BRC record of 10-1 (13-5 overall) while the Warriors are in second at 8-2 (14-6 overall).
The Wildcat boys swimming and diving team will be represented in seven events at Friday's WIAA State Championship Meet after placing second at last Saturday's sectional in Stevens Point, while 11 Wildcat wrestlers advanced to this weekend's sectional tournament. Senior Tim Weller will compete in four events at state. Weller finished second in the 200 yard individual medley and fourth in the 100 yard backstroke Saturday.
The Wildcat wrestling team crowned four individual champions while the team finished third overall at the 12-team Big Rivers Conference/Dunn-St. Croix Conference Challenge Saturday, Feb.
St. Croix Valley Fusion senior Alice Cranston (11) skates in net in the first period of the Fusion's nonconference game against Rochester Mayo last Tuesday at Wildcat Centre. Cranston faked out the Rochester Mayo goalie, put the puck on her backhand and flipped it over the goalie's shoulder for the first goal of the game. She added a goal in the second period to lift the Fusion to a 2-0 win. Read all about it in this week's print edition of the River Falls Journal.
The game of the week lived up to the hype Friday, Jan. 21 at the high school gym. River Falls and Rice Lake, two of three teams tied for first place in the Big Rivers Conference going into the night, squared off in front of a packed house with the Wildcats holding off the Warriors for a 52-45 victory. Coupled with Chippewa Falls' overtime win over Eau Claire Memorial in Eau Claire, the win moved the Cats into sole possession of first place in the BRC with a record of 5-1. Rice Lake, Eau Claire Memorial and Chippewa Falls are all tied for second at 4-2.
The Wildcat gymnastics team picked a good time to crack the 140 mark for the first time this season. Performing in front of their home crowd at Saturday's Winter Wonderland Invitational, the Cats posted a season-high score of 140.375 to run away with first place. Second place Chisago Lakes, Minn., was over 12 points behind with 128.025. A total of 12 teams from Wisconsin and Minnesota competed at the event. "It was good to hit that 140 team score mark on Saturday," Wildcat coach Shelly Kahut-Loomis said.
The Wildcat boys' swimming and diving team dropped a 136-50 decision to Eau Claire North/Memorial Thursday, Jan. 13 before taking fourth place at the nine-team Packer Invitational in South St. Paul Saturday, Jan. 15. The Cats posted just one first place finish in their dual meet with Eau Claire, but recorded two in the multi-team Packer Invite. Head coach Kirk Gednalske said the team has battled some non-swimming related injuries this season, but that hasn't gotten the swimmers down. "It has been a pretty challenging season," he said.