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 Raider boys' basketball team broke open a close game in the third quarter and held Eau Claire Memorial to just 13 second half points on its way to a 47-30 victory in its Big Rivers Conference opener at home last Friday night, Dec. 9. Hudson trailed 11-10 at the end of the first quarter but outscored the Old Abes 10-6 in the second quarter to take a 20-17 halftime lead.
The Raider boys' swimming and diving team picked up plenty of second through fourth place finishes in its season opener at Eau Claire North/Memorial last Thursday, but it couldn't get enough first place finishes to overtake the perennial Big Rivers Conference co-op. Charlie Skinner won the 100 yard butterfly with a time of 55.95 seconds, but that was the only first place the Raiders could get in a 110-75 loss to last year's third place team at state. Hudson will host its first home meet of the season this Thursday, Dec. 15, at 6:30 p.m.
Raider girls' head coach Ed Johnson saw a silver lining in the team's 67-53 season-opening loss at North St. Paul last Friday. Despite hitting just 3-of-29 shots from the field in the first half, Hudson trailed by just 12 points, 31-19. "I don't think that the score was indicative of how well we played," Johnson said. "Being down 12 points wasn't surprising, but it also shows we did some other things well." Hudson shot better in the second half and finished the game 17-of-64 from the field.
The Raider boys' basketball team got off to a good start in its season opener at New Richmond last Tuesday, Nov. 29 before the Tigers took control in the second quarter and went on to a 64-46 victory over Hudson. The Raiders led early before New Richmond rallied to tie the score 12-12 at the end of one.
The Raider boys' hockey team outshot Simley 31-7 in the first two periods of its season opener in Inver Grove Heights Saturday night, Dec. 3 but had just a power play goal by Steven Burke to show for it. But in the third period, Hudson scored three goals in a span of 1 minute, 22 seconds to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 5-3 win. Simley jumped out to a 2-0 lead before Burke scored on a Raider power play, assisted by Dylan Haskins and Daniel Tripicchio, at the 3:48 mark of the second period.
Senior Kolya Hawksford won his 100th career match and four Raiders reached the final in their respective weight classes as the Raider wrestling team finished second at the Lakeville North Paul Wolf Panther Invitational in Lakeville, Minn., Saturday. Twelve of Hudson's 14 wrestlers earned points and 11 made it to the awards podium as the Raiders finished second only to Scott West, the No. 3 ranked team in Minnesota. Scott West topped the 16-team field with a score of 268 while Hudson was second with 193. Henry Sibley finished third with 114.
Coming off the best season in the 53-year history of Hudson High School wrestling, the 2011-12 Raider squad is poised to add another successful chapter to the program's rich history. The Raiders qualified for the WIAA State Team Championships for the first time in school history last season and reached the state's Final Four.
The Raider boys' hockey team has plenty of experience back from the squad that won a regional championship last season. And head coach Mike Stoskopf hopes the hard work the players put in during the offseason will make the team even stronger this year. Hudson finished the 2010-11 campaign with an overall record of 11-11-1 and reached the sectional semifinals before losing to Superior.
While the 2011 Raider girls' basketball team returns six players who earned extensive varsity experience last year, this year's squad will look quite different when it opens its season Friday night, Dec. 2 at North St. Paul. Hudson welcomes back a pair of All-Big Rivers Conference honorable mention players -- senior Jessie Kirkwood and junior Kindra Witthus --along with senior Maddie Drewiske and juniors Sarah Krier, Nicole Mara and Ellie Whitacre from last year's team that finished 8-16.
Winter may not officially begin until Dec. 22, but Hudson's student-athletes are hitting the gyms, hockey rinks, wrestling rooms and pools in preparation for the upcoming winter sports season. The Raider boys' and girls' hockey teams and the Raider gymnastics team have been practicing for over two weeks now while the boys' basketball, boys' swimming and wrestling teams have been working out for over a week and the girls' basketball team has a week of workouts in the books. The first regular season games for Raider teams are scheduled for Tuesday, Nov.