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 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.
Senior Tyson Bystrom won a championship at 195 pounds and five Wildcats advanced to the Saturday, Feb. 18, in Eau Claire as the Cats placed fifth as a team at the WIAA Division 1 regional tournament Feb. 11 in Chippewa Falls. Bystrom pinned his first two opponents in the quarterfinals and semifinals before avenging a loss to Eau Claire Memorial's Alastair Keys at the Big Rivers/Dunn-St. Croix Challenge a week earlier in the finals.
Members of the River Falls Fighting Fish amateur men's baseball team are introduced to the crowd at the River Falls Baseball Council's inaugural Baseball Bash Saturday night at Kilkarney Hills Golf Club. Organizers pinpointed the attendance for the event, billed as a celebration of the Fighting Fish and American Legion Post 121 state championship baseball teams and a kickoff to the Community Ballpark Project, at 408.
Every win is big for the Wildcat hockey team right now, especially a road victory over archrival Hudson. That's what the Cats accomplished last Tuesday, Jan. 31, when they went into Gornick Arena and battled back from a 2-1 first period deficit to earn a 6-4 victory. The win snapped a three-game losing streak and came before a pair of games against state-ranked teams. The Cats couldn't keep the momentum going and lost to fourth-ranked Eau Claire Memorial, 7-1 Thursday, Feb. 2, and to No. 2 Superior, 9-0 on Saturday, Feb.
The inaugural River Falls Baseball Bash, a celebration of two state champion baseball teams and the kickoff to the Community Ballpark Project, is all set for Saturday night, Feb. 11, beginning at 6 p.m. at Kilkarney Hills Golf Club. The event, hosted by the River Falls Baseball Council, will be a night of games, raffles, silent auctions, food and a brief program.
The Wildcat girls' basketball team cut a 10-point first quarter deficit to four at the break and remained within four at the end of the third quarter before Rice Lake hit its free throws in the fourth quarter on its way to handing River Falls a 60-48 defeat Thursday night, Jan. 26, at the high school. The Wildcats trailed 17-7 at the end of one before outscoring Rice Lake 17-11 in the second quarter.
UW-River Falls' senior Shane Manor continued to make his case for All-American and the Falcons men's basketball team remained tied for first place in the WIAC as Manor led the team to victories over UW-Stout and UW-Platteville last week. Manor scored a team-high 18 points in both wins, adding ten rebounds to his stat line in the Falcons' 72-50 victory at Stout last Wednesday and hitting 8-of-12 shots from the field in UWRF's 61-53 home victory Saturday over Platteville.
Both the UW-River Falls men's and women's basketball teams can earn at least shares of their respective Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) championships when they take on UW-Whitewater in a college basketball doubleheader Saturday at Karges Center. The Falcon women host the Warhawks at 3 p.m. while the men's game is scheduled for 5 p.m. The UWRF women can share the WIAC title with a win over Whitewater and a UW-Eau Claire victory over UW-Stevens Point. The Blugolds and Pointers square off at 3 p.m.