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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Football fans usually have to wait until fall to see their local teams in action. Not anymore. Two teams in the Northern Elite Football League—considered one of the premier adult amateur semi-pro leagues in the nation—have set up shop in the area with the Northland Bulls calling UW-River Falls Ramer Field home and the Hudson Thunderhawks playing at E.P. Rock Elementary School's Newton Field. The Bulls spent the previous four years as the North Bank Bulls in Cottage Grove, Minn., while the Thunderhawks played the last eight years in Menomonie.
River Falls girls posted first place finishes in 12 of 18 events, including the top three spots in the 400 meter dash and triple jump, to run away with the team title at the Panther Track and Field Invitational in Richfield, Minn. last Thursday. The Wildcat girls racked up a total of 248 points to win the meet by 135 points over second place Hastings. The Wildcat boys placed second at the seven-team event with 148.5 behind Hastings' 169.5. "It was brutally cold," Wildcat coach Colleen Sowa said. "But for the harsh conditions we performed decently well."
The Wildcat girls' soccer team completed a perfect week with its third straight shutout last Thursday, a 5-0 victory at Superior in the first Big Rivers Conference match ever between the two teams. River Falls opened the week with a 3-0 win Monday over Osceola before taking down Chippewa Falls, 2-0, Tuesday. The three shutouts brings Wildcat goalkeeper Kiera LaCroix's total to five on the season while improving the Wildcats' record to 5-2 overall.
The River Falls boys' tennis team posted a 6-1 victory over Red Wing and the girls' soccer team tied Eau Claire North, 1-1, but both the Wildcat baseball and softball teams took it on the chin in their games against Eau Claire Memorial Tuesday, May 2. The Wildcat netters swept the doubles matches and took three of four matches in singles play in its 6-1 win over Red Wing.
It's hard to pinpoint exactly where the Wildcat boys' one-point margin of victory came from at last Friday's Wisconsin-Minnesota Border Battle Track and Field Invitational at the high school. But that's what makes it such a great team effort. The Cats collected a total of 111.5 points while Hudson finished with 110.5, giving River Falls the Border Battle championship and the traveling ax trophy that goes with it.
High School Golf The Wildcat boys' golf team defended its home turf this past Monday by winning their seven-team Big Rivers Conference match at the River Falls Golf Course to cap a busy stretch that included third- and fourth-place finishes in two other BRC matches, a seventh-place finish at the 26-team Stillwater Invitational and medalist honors for Blake Skogen at the Chippewa Falls Invite. On Monday, Skogen tied for second with a score of 39 and Max Morrow finished fifth with a 40 to lead the Cats to a first-place team score of 164 in a BRC match in River Falls.
Tuesday afternoon's rain forced the cancellation of a host of high school activities but the Wildcat soccer team braved the elements to post a 2-0 victory over Chippewa Falls in a Big Rivers Conference match in River Falls. Senior captain Kinsey Ruemmele tallied a first half goal and freshman Ella Durocher scored notched her first career varsity goal in the second half while goalkeeper Kiera LaCroix recorded her second straight shutout.
High School Soccer The Wildcat girls' soccer team outshot Rice Lake 25-2 last Tuesday in Rice Lake and managed to get just one ball past the Warrior goalkeeper but that was enough for a 1-0 Big Rivers Conference victory. Two days later, the Cats went toe-to-toe with fifth ranked Eau Claire Memorial early before the Old Abes pulled away for a 3-1 conference win. River Falls, now 2-2 overall, 1-1 in the BRC, hosted Chippewa Falls April 25 and will take on conference newcomer Superior on the road Thursday, April 27.
High School Tennis Hugo Schreckenberg and Matt Myers pulled out three-set victories, but those were the only points the Wildcats were able to muster in a 5-2 loss to Hudson in a Big Rivers Conference tennis match in River Falls last Thursday. Schreckenberg recovered from a 1-6 opening set loss to Hudson's Tyler Grosz at No. 1 singles to win the last two sets, 7-6, 6-4, while Myers bounced back from a loss in the second set to defeat Andrew Bolles, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 at No. 4 singles.
Softball sweeps Martin Luther Shannon Borchardt knocked in six runs in the nightcap of a doubleheader with Martin Luther, including a three-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the sixth inning, to lead the UW-River Falls softball team to a doubleheader sweep of the Knights last Thursday at Ramer Field. Payton Speckel struck out eight of the first nine batters she faced in the opener and Ali Krohn and Mady Bunnell drove in three runs each in a 9-1 Falcon victory.