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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Junior Tom Ramquist took first in the 200 yard freestyle and the Wildcats received a first place effort in the 200 freestyle relay, but perennial Big Rivers Conference powerhouse Eau Claire Alliance (Memorial/North) posted a 129-56 victory over River Falls Jan. 24 at the high school pool. Ramquist posted a winning time of 1 minute, 54.2 seconds in the 200 free while the 200 freestyle relay team of Richard Leber, Monroe Maher, Nick Fugate and Ethan Larsen took first in 1:29.59.
The Wildcat gymnastics team has yet to field a full lineup this season due to injuries and illnesses, but that didn't stop it from posting a season-high score in a close Big Rivers Conference victory over Eau Claire Jan. 24 and taking first place at the Jan.
After missing her first three-point attempt of the game Friday, Jan. 18 against Menomonie, Wildcat senior Lexi Knotek made her next seven shots from beyond the arc to finish with 21 points and lead the River Falls girls basketball team to its first Big Rivers Conference win of the season, 61-44, at the high school gym. Knotek made five of her seven three-pointers in the first quarter as the Wildcats sprinted out to 26-4 first quarter lead.
The Wildcat boys' basketball team recovered from a sluggish effort in a 47-44 loss at Menomonie Friday, Jan. 18 to beat Tomah, 69-44, less than 24 hours later at the Meyer Middle School gym. River Falls shot just 42 percent from the field at Menomonie, making just 3-of-10 three point attempts, and 5-of-11 free throws, while slipping into third place in the Big Rivers Conference standings with a mark of 4-3. The Wildcats came out Saturday, Jan.
The St. Croix Valley Fusion opened up a three-point lead in the Big Rivers Conference standings with a 1-0 victory over the Eau Claire/Altoona Stars Thursday, Jan. 17 in Eau Claire before spoiling the top-ranked Central Wisconsin Storm's bid for a perfect season by playing the defending state champs to a 2-2 tie Saturday, Jan. 19 in Baldwin. The Fusion now 10-7-1 overall, 3-0-0 in BRC play, visit Hudson (5-7-1) this Thursday, Jan. 24, at 7 p.m. before hosting the New Richmond co-op (3-10-0) Saturday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m.
After going three weeks without playing a game over the holidays, the Wildcat basketball team played three games in five days last week and came away with mixed results. The Cats dropped a 44-41 decision at Eau Claire North last Tuesday. They rebounded with a 49-43 victory over Hudson Friday night at home before losing the following afternoon in Holmen, 59-55. River Falls, now 7-3 overall, 4-2 in Big Rivers Conference play, will visit Menomonie (3-9, 2-4) Friday at 7:30 p.m. before hosting Tomah (5-9) in a nonconference game Saturday at 2 p.m. at Meyer Middle School.
Wildcat senior Casey Jerry had four goals and four assists in two games last week to move to within six points of Trent Frey's all-time River Falls' scoring record but it wasn't enough as the Cats dropped a pair of high-scoring affairs. River Falls gave up five goals in the second period in a 6-5 loss to Menomonie last Tuesday, Jan. 8, before battling back from a four-goal deficit only to fall 7-5 to the WSFGL Blizzard Saturday, Jan. 12 at Hunt Arena. Jerry had a goal and three assists in the loss at Menomonie before recording a hat trick and one assist Saturday against the Blizzard.
The Wildcat girls' basketball team dropped a pair of Big Rivers Conference games last week, 47-38, Tuesday, Jan. 8, to Eau Claire North and 42-22 Friday, Jan. 12 in Hudson. River Falls fell behind early in both games, trailing 15-7 at the end of one to the Huskies and 8-2 to the Raiders. The Cats cut an 11-point halftime deficit against Eau Claire North to nine, 33-24, by the end of the third quarter but couldn't get any closer.
The Wildcat gymnasts fielded two teams at the 16-team River Falls Gymnastics Invitational Saturday, Jan. 12 at the high school taking second place in the Gold Division and fifth in the Silver Division. The Wildcat varsity competed in the Gold Division and posted a total team score of 133.05, second only to Rice Lake/Cumberland's 133.925, while the junior varsity totaled 118.475 to take fifth in the Silver Division.
The Wildcat girls' basketball team held New Richmond scoreless over the final five minutes of the game to pull out a 37-32 nonconference victory the night of Friday, Jan. 5 at the high school gym. The Tigers battled back from a seven-point halftime deficit to take a 32-30 lead with five minutes remaining.