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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Hitting and chipping into nets, and practicing putting on the carpet of the high school media center isn't the ideal way to prepare for the golf season. But the Wildcat boys didn't show any rust in their first meet of the season Tuesday, April 24, at Mill Run Golf Course in Eau Claire. Freshman Maxamillian Xiong fired a one under-par 34 to earn medalist honors in his very first high school match and junior Taylor Rotsaert carded as the Cats opened the season with a second place finish at a 9-hole Big Rivers Conference meet hosted by Eau Claire Memorial.
Growing up next to a golf course with a basketball court in his basement, Jaxon Knotek wasn't sure if he wanted to play golf or basketball in college. Now, after finishing his high school basketball career as the third leading scorer in River Falls history, his choice is looking good. Knotek will head to North Dakota State University on a Division I basketball scholarship next year after becoming the first player in River Falls history to be named Big Rivers Conference Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons.
Nine year-old Oliver Larson shot his first turkey on Wednesday, April 18, on a family friend's land just outside of River Falls. Oliver and his father, Charles, got these two big birds to make it a great first hunt. Submitted photo
Joe Stoffel pitched six innings of shutout ball in the opener and Jake Lindsay, Ryan Flanigan, Tyler Penny, Glen Pendleton and Joey Davis had two hits each in the nightcap as the Wildcat baseball team swept Rice Lake, 2-1 and 11-5, in the first games of the season at First National Bank of River Falls Field Thursday, April 26.
Westside Elementary School fourth-grader Liam Cunningham helped the Minnesota Wild Sled Hockey Association's Upper Youth team win the national championship at the USA Hockey National Disability Festival March in Chicago April 12-15.
It seemed ironic that on one of the the first warm, sunny days of spring last Friday, April 20, the River Falls track and field teams were hosting the Wisconsin-Minnesota Border Battle Invitational inside UW-River Falls' Knowles Fieldhouse. But that's the kind of sense of humor Mother Nature's had this year. It didn't matter to the Wildcats though, who continued their assault on the school record books by setting two new marks and tying another on their way to first- and third-place finishes at the 10-team event.
River Falls girls soccer coach Charles Conley said it felt great to actually play a game last Saturday, April 21. Even if it wasn't outside. The Wildcats and New Richmond Tigers squared off in a 10 a.m. match under the dome at the St. Croix Valley Recreation Center in Stillwater, and River Falls came away with a 3-0 victory in its first game of the season. "It's definitely a relief to finally get some game action in for sure," Conley said. "The girls were pretty excited, pretty amped up to play."
River Falls' Sam Krueger and Hudson's Anna Wilgren are two of four finalists for the prestigious Division 1 girls 2018 WIAA Statewide Scholar Athlete Award, the WIAA announced Thursday, April 19. To determine the 32 finalists, four boys and four girls were selected from each of four WIAA divisions, based on athletic and academic achievement. Overall, 881 seniors were nominated by 455 high schools throughout the state.
The UW-River Falls softball team had to head to Platteville to open WIAC play over the weekend and came away with a pair of split doubleheaders against UW-Whitewater and UW-Platteville. The Falcons topped Whitewater, 5-4, in their first game Friday, April 20, before losing the nightcap, 10-2. Saturday, April 21, the host Pioneers defeated UWRF 10-2 before the Falcons took the second game, 2-1.
A big change is coming to River Falls Youth Football this season. Traditionally, the youth football association has run flag football games for first and second graders and tackle football from sixth through eighth grade. Association president Doug Sailer said the organization has decided to go to flag football for all grades beginning this summer.