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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River Falls got a pair of second period power play goals to snap a tie game and goalie Jake Miller made 40 saves as the Wildcats posted their first victory of the season, 4-2, at Menomonie Thursday, Dec. 7. Max Morrow gave River Falls a 1-0 lead 2 minutes, 33 seconds into the game with assists from Logan Graetz and Nick Longsdorf but Menomonie got a goal before the end of the period to tie the score.
The Wildcat wrestling team put the hammer down against Menomonie Thursday, Dec. 7, storming back from a 24-12 deficit to post a 51-24 victory for its first Big Rivers Conference win of the season. Adding to the excitement of the win was a full crowd at the high school for alumni night, with the Wildcats wearing throwback singlets and a chance to honor longtime supporter Justin Bystrom, who died while attending the WIAA State Meet last February.
The St. Croix Valley Fusion girls hockey team suffered its first loss of the season last week after posting a big win over Hayward in a game that is sure to have sectional seeding implications up the road. The Fusion, who moved up to No. 3 in last week's Wisconsin Prep Hockey state rankings, topped defending sectional champion Hayward, 5-2, Tuesday, Dec. 5, in Baldwin before losing at Rochester Lourdes, 5-3, Saturday, Dec. 9. St. Croix Valley had defeated Rochester Lourdes, 7-5, earlier this season at its Thanksgiving Tournament in Baldwin.
The tenth-ranked UW-River Falls men's basketball team won its seventh straight game and remained undefeated at Page Arena with a 71-57 victory over the University of St. Thomas Saturday, Dec. 9. The Falcons, now 7-1 overall, will travel to St. Paul to face the University of Northwestern Saturday, Dec. 16, and will play St. Olaf College Friday, Dec. 29, in Eau Claire before opening WIAC play at home against UW-Stevens Point Wednesday, Jan. 3, at 7 p.m. Last Saturday against St. Thomas, the Falcons closed the game with a 15-5 run to post a 71-57 victory over the Tommies.
The River Falls High School Powerlifting Club will host a home meet this Saturday, Dec. 9, beginning at 9 a.m. at the high school. This year's club features a record 70-plus athletes and a new coaching staff consisting of Ray Curtis, Eric Blair, Courtney Johnson, Jeremy Carlson, Ulice Payne III, and booster club president Tim Norum. Admission to Saturday's meet is $5 per person. For more information about the club, visit www.rfpowerlifting.com .
The Falcon men's hockey team managed just one goal in its first two WIAC games of the season last weekend, falling to UW-Stevens Point, 6-1, Friday Dec. 1 at Hunt Arena before losing to UW-Eau Claire, 4-0, Saturday, Dec. 2 in Eau Claire. The two losses dropped the Falcons' record to 3-7-1 on the season. They'll host Lawrence University for a pair of games this Friday and Saturday, Dec. 8-9, at 7:05 p.m. each night at Hunt Arena.
Opening the season on the road against a St. Paul Johnson team was a great challenge for the Wildcat boys basketball team. Unfortunately they didn't get the result they wanted. St. Paul Johnson used a pair of game-changing runs to erase an early Wildcat lead in the first half then pull away in the second half despite a 24-point, 16-rebound night from River Falls senior Jaxon Knotek.
After dropping their first Big Rivers Conference game to Eau Claire North, 67-54, Tuesday, Nov. 28, the Wildcat girls basketball team lost a pair of games at its home quad over the weekend, falling to Stillwater, 77-54, Friday, Dec. 1, and Tartan, 80-61, Saturday, Dec. 2, to slip to 0-5 on the season. The Wildcats outscored Eau Claire North in the second half last Tuesday but couldn't overcome a 15-point halftime deficit in their BRC opener.
Wildcat wrestling coach Kevin Black believes the Cats are closing the gap with three-time defending Big Rivers Conference champion and state team qualifier Hudson, but they're not quite there yet. The Wildcats trailed the Raiders by just one point, 34-33, in their season opener Thursday, Nov. 30, in Hudson, but Hudson scored the maximum 12 points in the final two matches of the night to post a 46-33 victory.
The WIAA State Gymnastics Championships in Wisconsin Rapids are still three months away, but River Falls made an early-season visit to the site of the state meet last weekend and showed that it's focused on getting back to state for the 17th straight year. Two-time defending Division 2 state floor champion Sam Krueger won the all-around title and freshman Autumn Tiede made a splash in her varsity debut as the Wildcats took first at the Wisconsin Rapids Invitational with a team score of 136.9 Saturday, Dec. 2.