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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Luke Schwitzer was still thinking about the teenagers in the canoes when the strike indicator on his fly line paused in the current. He had no idea there was a once-in-a-lifetime fish on the other end. Schwitzer had brought a few trout to his net on the lower Kinnickinnic River that Monday evening, Aug. 22. But the fishing had generally been slow, and the teenager-steered canoes that floated by him around 7:30 p.m. didn't help any. "That's when I figured I'd throw flies right below the froth of the dam," the St. Paul resident said.
Sam Lenzen ran for 113 yards and two touchdowns and Ryan Kusilek passed for one touchdown and kicked two field goals as the Wildcat football team improved to 2-0 on the season with a 34-21 victory over Ellsworth Friday night at Ramer Field. Ellsworth opened the scoring with a 28-yard touchdown run by Dennis Schutz with 1:41 remaining in the first quarter. River Falls tied the score when Lenzen barreled over from 5-yards out early in the second quarter. The Wildcats took a 14-7 lead on their next drive on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Kusilek to Aaron Rodewald.
After losing 10 of the team's top 12 players from a year ago to graduation, Wildcat girls' tennis coach Dave Markson said he didn't know what to expect going into this season. It's safe to say so far he's impressed. The Cats opened the season with a pair of wins at the Eau Claire Memorial and a first place finish at the Osceola Invitational before splitting a pair of matches at their own River Falls Triangular last Saturday. "I'm very pleased with the way the girls have performed so far," Markson said.
Seventeen high school cross country teams from Wisconsin and Minnesota kicked off the 2011 season at the River Falls Extreme Invitational Thursday in and around the South Fork of the Kinnickinnic River on the campus of UW-River Falls. Participants started on the UWRF intramural fields and proceeded along a course that included two trips through the South Fork. Runners jumped about five feet off the bank into the stream and ran about 150-yards downstream in ankle to thigh-deep water, emerging from the river up a steep slope next to the footbridge behind the UWRF power plant.
There may be a lot of new faces on the Wildcat football team this season, but the Cats picked up right where they left off last season in a 37-7 season-opening victory at New Richmond Friday night. The Cats got off to a 1-5 start a year ago before finishing the season with three straight wins.
It took 59 years for organized amateur baseball to come to River Falls. It took four years to win the first state championship. The River Falls Fighting Fish won the first state title in their four-year existence Sunday by defeating the Beef River Bulldogs, 9-8, in the Wisconsin Baseball Association State Championship game in Coon Valley. The win made history on a number of fronts, coming on the heels of the River Falls Post 121 team's first-ever American Legion state championship earlier this month.
Former Wildcat gymnast Allie Henry is representing the United States this week as a weightlifter at the World University Games in Shenzhen, China. Henry, a 2007 graduate of River Falls High School who helped the Wildcat gymnastics team win two state championships, is making her second appearance as a member of Team USA at the World University Games.
Neil Johnson of River Falls turned in the best final round of the day Wednesday with a 65 to move up 41 spots on the leaderboard and finish in a three-way tie for fifth place at the 91st Wisconsin State Open at Meadow Valley Course at Blackwolf Run in Kohler. Johnson entered the final day of the 72-hole tournament tied for 46th place at 9-over par 153.
Mari Pechacek and Halle Hauer each posted scores of 41 and four Wildcats broke 50 to lead River Falls to an 18-stroke victory at the first Big Rivers Conference mini meet of the season Wednesday at the Hudson Golf Club. River Falls ran away with first place, finishing with a total team score of 173. Rice Lake took second with 191 followed by Hudson with 195, Eau Claire North with 196 and Eau Claire Memorial with 232. Pechacek and Hauer tied for second individually, one-stroke behind co-medalists Cassie Wurm of Hudson and Stephanie Baribeau of Rice Lake.
Wearing their brand new home uniforms for the very first time, Wildcat football players Brad Erdrich (28), Tanner Kusilek (44), Brandon Schmidt, Jake Kerr and Aaron Brager lean on each other while filling out their senior questionnaires for the game program during the team's official picture day Aug. 10 at the high school practice fields. The Cats will open the 2011 season on the road at New Richmond 7 p.m. Friday, Aug.19. Bob Burrows photo