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 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.
Senior Tim Weller won an individual title in the 100 yard backstroke as the Wildcat boys' swimming and diving team finished sixth in the 13-team Bronze Division at the prestigious Maroon and Gold Invitational at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center Saturday. Weller won the 100 backstroke with a time of 56.94 seconds, nearly a full second ahead of Randall Wempen of Mankato West, Minn. River Falls finished with a total of 260.5 points to place sixth in the final team standings.
Seniors Logan Cudd and Adam Figi won individual titles and classmates Matt Linehan and Nick Johnson both finished third to lead the Wildcat wrestling team to a third place finish at the 38-team Northern Badger Classic last week at the high school. Neillsville won the Division 2 and overall championships with 298 points followed by Division 1 champion Amery with 249.
Logan Cudd won his second individual championship and Adam Figi claimed his first to lead the Wildcat wrestling team to a third place finish at the 26th annual Northern Badger Classic Wednesday in River Falls. Neillsville won the team title with 298 points followed by Amery with 249 and River Falls with 219. Cudd earned his second Northern Badger championship with a 12-3 major decision over Kyle Johnson of Bruce in the 130 pound finals. Figi's title came at 160 pounds by winning a 6-4 decision over Matt Smith of St. Croix Central.
River Falls firefighters had a busy Monday afternoon handling calls in the Birch Cliff subdivision, the nearby Leroy Peterson farm and the high school at the same time. Firefighters first responded to an electrical fire, pictured, at the home of Jodi Kleinbrook, N8290 1015th St. in the Birch Cliff subdivision south of the city. According to Assistant Fire Chief Mike Moody, an outlet overheated when a space heater in the garage was plugged in to thaw out an all terrain vehicle. Additional water was requested from the Ellsworth and Prescott fire departments but was not needed.
The Wildcat gymnastics team picked up a pair of dual meet victories last week, including a 137.95 to 122.725 victory over Chippewa Falls in its Big Rivers Conference opener last Tuesday night at the middle school. Thursday night the Cats posted a 134.7 to 119.8 win at Red Wing, Minn. Head coach Shelly Kahut-Loomis said it was good to be back in action last Tuesday after the Chippewa Falls Invitational was cancelled the previous Saturday due to a snowstorm. "This was the season's first competition for over half the team," she noted.
The Wildcat boys' hockey team snapped a two-game losing streak with a 7-4 victory over Menomonie Saturday night in Menomonie. Earlier in the week the Cats suffered their first loss of the season, 4-2, at Hudson last Tuesday and dropped a 6-3 decision to second-ranked Eau Claire Memorial Thursday. The Wildcats are off this week but return to action Dec. 27-29 at the Rice Lake Tournament.
The St. Croix Valley Fusion won their Big Rivers Conference opener against the Eau Claire-Altoona Stars last Tuesday before improving to 5-0 overall with a 4-3 win Thursday at Breck, Minn. Saturday's highly-anticipated matchup between the second-ranked Fusion and No. 1 Central Wisconsin Storm (Mosinee), scheduled to be played at Baldwin's United Civic Center, was cancelled due to the severe snow storm that blew through the state. No make-up date has been announced. The Fusion return to action against the Capital City Cougars (Sun Prairie) Friday at 8 p.m.