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 UW-River Falls men's basketball team split a pair of close games last week, beating UW-La Crosse, 77-74, in overtime Wednesday night, Jan. 31 at Page Arena before losing to UW-Stevens Point for the second time this season, 66-64, Saturday, Feb. 3 in Stevens Point. The split left the Falcons even in WIAC play at 5-5 (14-6 overall), heading into games this week at UW-Stout (1-9, 7-14) Wednesday, Feb. 7, and home against UW-Whitewater (6-4, 16-5) Saturday, Feb. 10.
The River Falls Gymnastics Club Teams had outstanding showings in their last two meets. The teams traveled to Austin, Minn. for an 11-team invitational Jan. 27 and all three teams posted season high scores with a handful of individuals earning their highest all-around scores of the season. Team 1 Equinox scored 132.35 to place first in its division, Team 2 Eclipse scored 123.95 and Team 3 Super Novas scored 118.9 to place first in its division. On Jan. 21 the teams competed at in invitational in La Crosse with Team 1 placing first, Team 2 second and Team 3 first.
The Wildcat boys hockey team will open the WIAA playoffs as the No. 7 seed in its 10-team sectional and host the No. 10 Grantsburg co-op in a first round regional game Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. at Wildcat Centre. The winner will move on to face No. 2 seed Superior Thursday, Feb. 15, at Wessman Ice Arena in Superior. Top-ranked and defending state champion Hudson earned the top seed in the sectional while Superior is No. 2, New Richmond No. 3 and Baldwin-Woodville No. 4.
Wildcat wrestling coach Kevin Black said the Cats are pleased about finishing second in the Big Rivers Conference, but not satisfied. River Falls wrapped up second place in the BRC with a 48-27 victory at Chippewa Falls Tuesday, Jan. 30 to finish 5-1. Only an early-season loss to Hudson kept the Cats from dethroning the three-time conference champion Raiders, but the Wildcats will get another shot at Hudson at the WIAA Division 1 Regional this Saturday, Feb. 10, in New Richmond.
Despite dropping their final two games of the regular season last week the St. Croix Valley Fusion girls hockey team remained the third-ranked team in the state in the Wisconsin Prep Hockey poll. Unfortunately, both teams ranked ahead of the Fusion are not only in the same conference as them, but also the same sectional.
Despite missing two key starters, the Wildcat gymnastics team still managed to stay undefeated in Big Rivers Conference duals with a 133.75 to 130.95 victory over Rice Lake Thursday, Jan. 25, in Rice Lake. With junior Natalie Swick already out of the lineup, classmate Kassidy Snell took a scary fall in the Cats' first event of the night on the uneven bars and missed the rest of the meet. Freshman Eva Mikla stepped in for the last three events, posting a third place score in the floor exercise, to help the Cats to the win.
The St. Croix Valley Fusion girls hockey team is peaking at the right time. Since losing three straight games over the holiday break, the Fusion have won nine of their last ten, including a 6-5 victory over the state's top-ranked team—the Eau Claire Area Stars—Thursday, Jan. 25, at Wildcat Centre. They followed that up with a 3-1 victory over fourth-ranked University School of Milwaukee Saturday, Jan. 27, in Baldwin for their sixth straight win.
Women skaters extend streak The fifth-ranked UW-River Falls women's hockey team swept UW-Superior in a home-and-home series, 7-5, Friday, Jan. 26 at Hunt Arena, and 5-0, Saturday, Jan. 27 in Superior to extend its unbeaten streak to 11 games and improve to 15-4-2 on the season.
The Wildcat boys hockey team picked up a 7-3 Big Rivers Conference win over Rice Lake at home Tuesday, Jan. 23, before dropping a 6-1 nonconference decision to Providence Academy Saturday, Jan. 27, in Plymouth, Minn. Tuesday's seven goals tied a season-high for the Cats, who got a pair of goals each from Max Rotsaert and Cody Wilson, to improve to 3-6-0 in the BRC. The game was scoreless after one period before the teams combined for five goals in a second period that ended with the Wildcats holding a 4-1 lead.
Hudson's girls basketball team avenged an early-season loss to the Wildcats Friday, Jan. 26, in River Falls, but the Cats made them work hard for it. The Raiders needed to make all ten of their free throws in the final 1 minute, 30 seconds to hold on for a nine-point win, 65-56, as the Wildcats kept battling to the end.