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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Wildcat softball coach Rick Hansen said his team made its share of mistakes in its season opener against Ellsworth Thursday afternoon. But it also did enough things right to put a 5-4 victory in the books. "This was a good first game for us," he said. "I was really impressed with how the girls kept their mental focus after mistakes." A prime example of that focus was in how the Wildcats scored their fifth and final run of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Wildcat senior Tessa Wells has named to the 2010 All-Big Rivers Conference Girls Basketball first team while senior Emma Purfeerst and junior Sarah Vitale received honorable mention. For Wells, it's the third straight year she has earned All-BRC honors. She was named to the first team for the second year in a row after earning second team honors as a sophomore in 2008. For Purfeerst it marks the second straight season she has been named honorable mention. Wells, who will play at Winona State University next year, led the BRC in scoring this season with an average of 17.7 points per game.
Pitching and defense are keys to wining in baseball. Wildcat head coach Ryan Bishop believes his team has the defensive part down; it's the pitching that is a question mark. "We will be a solid team defensively, which will keep us in every game," he said. "We have the overall potential, and if our hitting and pitching can be consistent for us, there's no reason we shouldn't have a chance to win every time we step on the field." The Cats return six starters from last year's squad, and 10 players who have seen varsity action at one time or another.
It's been a special year for the Wildcat gymnastics team. And the honors have continued to pile up in the days since the state tournament. The Cats won their fifth WIAA state championship and had six individuals bring home medals from the state tournament earlier this month in Wisconsin Raids. Since then, seven Cats have received all-state recognition and six have earned all-state academic honors.
The Wildcat track and field teams turned in a number of impressive performances at the All-America Invitational at UW-River Falls' Knowles Center Saturday. Seventeen girls' teams and 18 boys' teams from Minnesota and Wisconsin crowded into the Knowles Center for one of the biggest indoor meets of the season. The Wildcat girls finished 11th while the boys' placed 13th. Anoka, Minn., won the girls' team title while La Crosse Central captured the boys' championship.
River Falls' girls' basketball coach Kyle Igou had a simple explanation for how the ninth-seeded Wildcats came within one game of becoming the first team from River Falls to reach the WIAA State Girls Basketball Tournament. "The girls stepped up and did some wonderful things," he said. "Everybody came together." After finishing the regular season with a record of 10-11 and receiving the No. 9 seed in the 16-team sectional bracket, the Cats went on to win three straight games on the road against higher seeds. They started their run by defeating No.
It didn't take long for River Falls to become a force in high school powerlifting. Twenty-four River Falls student-athletes competed at the Wisconsin High School Powerlifting Association (WHSPA) State Meet in Seymour two weeks ago, and 16 qualified for the March 26-28 National High School Championships in Wisconsin Dells. The River Falls boys also won the Division 1 state team championship. All this in just the club's second year of existence. There are more than 60 Wisconsin high schools with powerlifting teams, and all competed at this year's state meet in Seymour.
Wildcat senior Dylan Dock has been named to the 24-player 2010 Wisconsin Hockey Coaches Association All-State First Team. A senior co-captain with the Wildcats, Dock led the team in scoring this season with 21 goals and 20 assists for 41 points. He tied for the team-lead with three game-winning goals and scored one shorthanded goal. The all-state honor comes two weeks after Dock was named to the 2010 All-Big Rivers Conference First Team. Dock is one of just five Big Rivers Conference players named to the WHCA All-State First Team.
Seniors Marty Herum and Zach Pavlichek and junior Jack Herum have all been named to the 2009-10 All-Big Rivers Conference Boys Basketball Team. Marty Herum was named to the first team while Pavlichek made second team and Jack Herum earned honorable mention. Marty Herum earned All-BRC honors for the second straight season after averaging 10.0 points per game for the Wildcats this year.
River Falls' senior Ben Wunrow has accepted an invitation to play for the North Division 1-3 Large School team at the 2010 Wisconsin Football Coaches Association All-Star Game Saturday, July 17, in Oshkosh. The event at Titan Stadium on the campus of UW-Oshkosh features two games between squads consisting of the top seniors from the north and south areas of the state -- those from schools in Divisions 1-3 and another from athletes in Divisions 4-7. Wunrow, a two-way standout for the Wildcats, will play linebacker for the North team.