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Wildcat girls basketball coach Rita Hurtgen said the Cats' first game of the season against New Richmond last Tuesday was, "not as pretty as we'd like to play, but we'll always take the win." The Cats shot just 36 percent from the field, 50 percent from the free throw line and committed 22 turnovers.
Last year Eric Kossoris won over the hearts of UW-River Falls men's basketball fans with his relentless hustle and aggressive play during the Falcons' late-season run towards their first conference championship in 54 years. This season, he's picked right up where he left off. Kossoris, a 6-2 sophomore from Waukesha, came off the bench to score 19 points in the final 14 minutes of the game against Macalester Saturday night at Karges Center and help lift the Falcons to an 81-73 non-conference win over the Scots.
Wildcat boys basketball coach Greg Gaulke said there was something special about the Cats' first day of practice last week. "It seems like there never really was a summer," he said. "Everybody looked at each other like we had just stepped off the floor at Zorn Arena." The last time the Cats were together as a team, they had just lost to Holmen in the sectional final last March to come up one game short of a bid to the WIAA State Tournament.
Last Sunday, Packer fans and Viking fans across Western Wisconsin took off the gloves, put on their favorite team's jersey, and settled in front of their TVs in the biannual battle between the region's two favorite football teams. Around here, Packer-Viking Sundays are different than other Sundays during the football season. Like a child on Christmas morning, die-hard fans wake up knowing full well that this day is a special one. Football jerseys are worn to church. Favorite sweatshirts are cleaned and pressed. Entire menus are planned around the kickoff.
After working hard all season to get there, Wildcat seniors Logan O'Grady and Megan Johnson, and junior Tara Connolly, simply didn't have anything left for the WIAA State Cross Country Championships. O'Grady finished 53rd in the 5,000 meter Division 1 boys' race at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids with a time of 17 minutes, 16.6 seconds. Johnson placed 42nd in the 4,000 meter girls race with a time of 15:45.4 while Connolly finished 58th in 15:58.9.
The Wildcat volleyball saw its season come to an end when it lost a three-game match at Superior in a WIAA Regional semi-final game last Friday night in Superior. The Cats won the first game 25-21 but Superior came back to win the next two games by scores of 25-14 and 25-22 to win the best of three match. Wildcat head coach Kristin Brandt said the season-ending loss was tough. "We played well in the first and third games, but the second game was not a great effort by us," she said.
Wildcat junior Cole McCardle wasn't even in Chippewa Falls Saturday when his teammates kicked off against the Cardinals in a WIAA Division 1 Regional final. But when he finally did arrive, it didn't take him long to make an impact. McCardle was taking his ACT exam in River Falls when the rest of the Cats left town for their 1 p.m. match up against Chippewa Falls.
The Wildcat boys soccer team won two of its last three regular season games and earned the third seed in the seven-team regional tournament which opens Thursday (Oct. 21) with the Cats hosting Menomonie at 3:30 p.m. at the high school field. River Falls had to battle back from an early 1-0 deficit to defeat Menomonie 2-1 Oct. 7 on a pair of goals by Sam Galgowski. Two days earlier, Galgowski scored two goals and AJ Sollom dished out two assists in a 5-0 win over Rice Lake.
It may be every team's goal to finish first, but Wildcat cross country coach Rick Cleary said he couldn't be happier with the pair of second place finishes the boys and girls teams ran to at the Big Rivers Conference Championships Saturday, Oct. 16. "As a coach, I couldn't be prouder," he said. "Each team ran the fastest times in the history of River Falls High School cross country. Logan O'Grady ran the fastest time of any male runner in the history of River Falls cross country.
The Wildcat swim team picked up a big Big Rivers Conference win on the road last week in Rice Lake. The Cats racked up 800 points to Rice Lake's 400 in the meet, which was scored like an invitational with points awarded to most of the swimmers in each event regardless of place. There was no diving competition at the meet. "It was a great time for us to score a big win on the road," head coach Lynn Huiskamp said.