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 volleyball team got off to a good start in its season opening home quad, beating Somerset, New Richmond and Spring Valley, before going 4-4 at the 30-team Menomonie Sprawl over the weekend at UW-Stout. Head coach Sara McDonald believes 2012 will be an exciting season for Wildcat volleyball.
The Wildcat Cross Country team kicked off the season with their annual Extreme Meet last Thursday on the campus of UW-River Falls, and a soggy group of Cats turned in respectable times on the course that includes a trip through the South Fork of the Kinnickinnic River. Nineteen teams from across Wisconsin and Minnesota took part in the event, making this year the largest Extreme Meet in history.
The Wildcat football team scored on its first four possessions of the game on its way to a season opening 47-14 victory over the New Richmond Tigers Friday night, Aug, 24, at David Smith Stadium at Ramer Field. The Cats took advantage of two Tiger turnovers while racing out to a 33-0 lead.
One thing the Wildcat football team will have plenty of this season is athleticism. The challenge may be keeping those athletes on the field. River Falls brings back a large number of returning starters from last year's squad that finished one game below .500 with a record of 4-5. But a drop in numbers will result in many of those athletes playing on both sides of the ball. The key, according to head coach Jason Wolf, will be keeping those players healthy. "We're very athletic this year and have a lot of experience," Wolf said.
The Cats defeated La Crosse Aquinas and Onalaska by identical 2-0 scores in a pair of games Aug. 14 before posting a 5-0 victory over Wausau West Aug. 16 in Eau Claire. "Anytime you go 3-0 you can't be too disappointed," head coach Charles Conley said. "The season is young, and we certainly have some things to work on, but I thought some young guys got some good experience and you can see our comfort level as a group getting better." Tanner Heinselman scored a pair of penalty kick goals in the win over Aquinas while Griffin Lacek accounted for both scores in the victory over Onalaska.
Year two of the Matt Walker era is just around the corner as the UW-River Falls football team prepares to kick off the 2012 season Saturday, Sept. 2. The Falcons finished the 2011 campaign on a strong note and look to build on that progress as they return some key components from last fall. The Falcons defense started to click at the end of last year, allowing just over 20 points per game during the final three Saturdays along with collecting 11 of their 20 sacks.
Wildcat assistant coach Denny Blank, left, head coach Jason Wolf and assistant coach Steve Trudeau watch the Wildcat football team perform in an intra-squad scrimmage the mornoing of Saturday, Aug. 11 on the high school practice fields. The Cats will take part in a six-team scrimmage this Friday at Menomonie before kicking off the 2012 season at Ramer Field Friday, Aug. 24, at 7 p.m. against New Richmond.
Members of the 2012 class of the Wildcat Hall of Fame were inducted at the second annual Hall of Fame Banquet the night of Friday, Aug. 3 at Kilkarney Hills Golf Course. This year's inductees included Thomas J. Murphy (RFHS Class of 1967), who was killed in action in Vietnam on April 1, 1970. Accepting the honor for Murphy were, seated in front row at left, Murphy's niece Meghan Murphy, best friend and Vietnam veteran Neil Anderson, and Murphy's sister Dorothy Murphy-LaBrash. Murphy became the first Hall of Famer to be inducted in both the Athlete and Distinguished Citizen categories.
Following a stellar freshman season at UW-Stevens Point and after posting a 7-1 record with the River Falls Fighting Fish, pitcher J.P. Feyereisen signed a 12-day contract last week to play for the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters of the prestigious Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is a collegiate summer baseball league comprising teams of the top college players from North America and beyond. All players in the league must have NCAA eligibility remaining in order to participate.
If the River Falls Fighting Fish are going to defend their 2011 Wisconsin Baseball Association state championship, they're going to have to endure what player-manager Josh Eidem called, "the gutsiest weekend in the history of the Fish." While the Fish might appear to be one of the favorites after receiving the state's top seed for this weekend's WBA semifinal round, Eidem said the team is going into the weekend banged up and shorthanded. The team will be without one of its top pitchers -- J.P.