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 women's hockey team followed its Northern Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season title by defeating Adrian College, 4-2, in the NCHA O'Brien Cup championship game Saturday afternoon at Hunt Arena. The seventh-ranked Falcons, now 23-4-2 overall, won both the NCHA regular season and playoff titles for the third time and earned a spot in the NCAA Championship Tournament for the fifth time in team history.
Both the UW-River Falls men's and women's basketball teams saw their seasons come to an end Friday night with losses in the first round of their respective NCAA Division III Tournaments. The 17th-ranked Falcon men lost to Edgewood College, 75-67, at Karges Center while the 22nd-ranked women lost, 72-61, to Coe College in St.
River Falls junior Riley Claude won state championships on the uneven bars and in the all-around competition at the WIAA Division 2 State Individual Gymnastics Tournament in Wisconsin Rapids Friday night. Claude and the rest of the Wildcats will compete for a WIAA Division 2 team title today. Claude won the state title on the uneven bars with a score of 9.267. Sarah Duff of Mount Horeb was second with 9.067. Claude also finished as state runner-up in the floor exercise with a second place score of 9.267. Haley Gowronski of Baraboo was first with 9.483.
Ten years ago this week the River Falls High School gymnastics team won the very first team state championship in school history. Since then, the program has added four more state titles to its rich history. This year's team will look to make it a half-dozen championships in 11 years when it competes at the WIAA State Gymnastics Tournament this Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids. The Wildcats clinched their 11th straight trip to state, and 22nd total, by winning the WIAA Division 2 Sectional championship last Saturday in Galesville with a score of 142.1.
The third time proved to be the charm for the UW-River Falls men's basketball team. After being swept by UW-Whitewater in the regular season, the Falcons battled back from an eight-point halftime deficit to defeat the Warhawks, 64-58, in the WIAC Tournament championship game Sunday afternoon in Whitewater. The win gives the Falcons their first-ever WIAC Tournament championship and an automatic berth in this week's NCAA Division III National Tournament. UWRF, now 20-7 on the season, lost both regular season games to the Warhawks, including a last-second, 55-53, decision last Saturday at Karg
Junior Ollie White scored 22 points on 10-of-11 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the UW-River Falls men's basketball team to a 76-51 victory over No. 20 UW-Stevens Point in a WIAC Tournament semifinal game Friday night at Karges Center. The Falcons led wire to wire to defeat the Pointers for the third time this season and advance to Sunday's WIAC Tournament championship game at UW-Whitewater.
Wildcat baseball coach Ryan Bishop announced last week that former college All-American and Arizona Diamondbacks minor leaguer Mark Hallberg will join him as co-head coach beginning this season. Hallberg, a 2004 Barron High School graduate, spent the last two seasons playing for the Triple-A Reno Aces in the Diamondbacks minor league system before retiring earlier this year. He has enrolled at UW-River Falls to continue pursuing his degree in physical education. "Mark will take an active leadership role with me in all facets of River Falls baseball," Bishop said.
The Wildcat gymnastics team posted its highest score of the season the night of Friday, Feb. 17, to wrap up its fifth straight undisputed Big Rivers Conference title at the BRC Tournament at Meyer Middle School. River Falls finished with a team score of 143.250, over five points higher than second place Eau Claire North/Memorial. The tournament victory comes after an undefeated 5-0 record in BRC duals and gives the Cats the conference championship outright. "The team has been working on increasing percentages of 'hit' routines, and it paid off," head coach Shelly Kahut-Loomis said.
Hailey Rock's penalty shot goal with 1 minute, 36 seconds remaining snapped a 1-1 tie, and the St. Croix Valley Fusion added an empty-net insurance goal in the final minute to post a 3-1 victory over the Eau Claire/Altoona Stars in a WIAA Sectional semifinal game Tuesday night in Baldwin. Rock's goal came just 15 seconds after the Stars had tied the score. Following the faceoff, Rock broke free on a breakaway and a Stars player threw her stick at her feet, prompting the referees to award a penalty shot.
River Falls' 200 yard freestyle relay team turned in an 11th place finish at the WIAA Boys Division 2 Swimming and Diving Championships in Madison. The Cats' 200 medley relay team finished 16th while diver T.J. Baldini placed 14th. The 200 freestyle relay team of sophomore Tom Ramquist, sophomore Alex Haskins, junior Isaac Dzubay and senior Shamus Maloney combined for a time of 1 minute, 32.54 seconds to nip Rice Lake for 11th place.