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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Men's hockey winless on weekend The Falcon men's hockey team played to a tie and a loss in a pair of road games against MIAC opponents over the weekend. The Falcons tied St. Olaf College, 3-3, Friday, Jan. 12, in Northfield, Minn. before dropping a 3-2 decision to Bethel College Saturday, Jan. 13, in St. Paul. Eddie Matsushima, Joe Druplak and Cayden Cahill had a goal apiece to stake UWRF to a 3-1 lead at St. Olaf but the Oles scored twice in the third period, including the tying goal with 58 seconds left with an extra attacker, to salvage a 3-3 tie.
Halfway through the Big Rivers Conference boys basketball schedule, the race for the conference title is shaping up to be a dogfight. And River Falls is right in the thick of things. Midway through the BRC season six of the seven teams are within one game of each other including the Wildcats, who are tied for the top spot with Eau Claire North and Rice Lake with records of 4-2. Hudson, Eau Claire Memorial and Chippewa Falls are bunched up right behind at 3-3.
The Wildcat wrestling team's Big Rivers Conference dual at Chippewa Falls scheduled for last Thursday, Jan. 11, was postponed due to weather and rescheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 30, in Chippewa Falls.
Don't let the Wildcat girls basketball team's 4-9 record fool you. That's the message the Cats sent after giving Big Rivers Conference leading Chippewa Falls all it could handle in a game that was a lot closer than the 72-60 final score indicated last Saturday on Rick Bowen Court at UW-River Falls Don Page Arena. The Wildcats went toe-to-toe with the Cardinals (7-4 overall, 5-0 BRC) before the Cardinals used a 10-0 second half run to earn the 12-point win.
The sixth-ranked UWRF women's hockey team erupted for 20 goals in a weekend sweep of Concordia College last Friday and Saturday in Moorhead, Minn. The Falcons topped the Cobbers, 10-4, Friday, Jan. 5, before matching that goal total with a 10-3 win Saturday, Jan. 6.
No excuses. That's how Wildat head basketball coach Zac Campbell described his team's two losses last week—a 67-55 road loss at sectional foe Holmen Tuesday, Jan. 2, and a 68-60 overtime loss to Eau Claire Memorial at home Friday, Jan. 5—that stretched the Cats' losing streak to three games. Campbell said the Wildcats' recent struggles have included sickness, responsibility and mental toughness, and while all three are part of the natural ebb and flow of a season, the team's resiliency is being tested.
The fifth-ranked St. Croix Valley Fusion girls hockey team dropped a 4-1 decision to second-ranked Eau Claire-Altoona on the road Thursday, Jan. 4, before getting some revenge against Superior at home Saturday, Jan. 6. Superior had beaten the Fusion 5-4 in overtime the week before at the Culver's Cup in Madson, but St. Croix Valley jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the rematch at Wildcat Centre and held off a late Spartan surge for a 4-3 victory.
River Falls scored single goals in each period and goalie Jake Miller stopped 21 of the 22 shots he faced as the Wildcats defeated Hayward, 3-1, in a nonconference hockey game Saturday, Jan. 6 in Hayward. Jake Bergmanis scored the first goal of the game 10 minutes, 4 seconds into the opening period, assisted by Tye Kusilek and Cody Wilson before Zak Paulson made the score 2-0 with an unassisted goal 1:39 into the second period.
After winning the Division 1 title at the Northern Badger Classic over holiday break, Wildcat wrestling coach Kevin Black said his team needed to remain disciplined and focused as it moved into the new year. So far so good. The Cats kicked off 2018 with a 54-30 Big Rivers Conference win over Eau Claire Memorial Thursday, Jan. 4, before placing first at the 10-team New Richmond Invitational Saturday, Jan. 6. Black said the Wildcats weren't as sharp as he'd like to see, but they found a way to grind out some ugly wins.
After a lackluster 73-48 loss in its WIAC opener at home against unranked UW-Stevens Point Wednesday Jan. 3, the third-ranked UW-River Falls men's basketball team battled back from a 10-point deficit with just over five minutes remaining to defeat fifth-ranked UW-Whitewater, 81-80, Saturday, Jan. 6, in Whitewater. Brennan Witt's jumper with less than two seconds left capped a 7-0 Falcon run to close the game.