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 girls' soccer team finally ventured outside last Tuesday, April 16, not to practice, but to play its first game. The game was a Big Rivers Conference contest at that, at Rice Lake, and the Warriors scored the only goal of the second half to escape with a 2-1 victory. The game was originally scheduled to be played in Hudson at the middle school field, but was switched to Rice Lake to take advantage of the artificial turf at Pug Lund Field.
In a perfect world, the Raider baseball team would have eight games under its belt by this point of the season, Hudson's girls' soccer would be seven games into its schedule, and the boys' golf team would have played two 18-hole invitationals and two nine-hole conference mini-meets by now. But as anyone itching to put on a pair of shorts and sandals knows, this spring has been far from perfect. With any luck, the Raider girls' soccer team was scheduled to finally open its season this past Tuesday, April 16, at Rice Lake.
Make a list of people who hate the cold, wet spring and golfers are right there at the top.
Senior co-captains Nicole Mara and Kristin Sobottka said it's been tough on the Raider girls' soccer team being stuck inside for three straight weeks. "It's brutal playing in here," Mara said before practice last Thursday in the E.P. Rock Elementary School gym. "There's not a lot of room and the ball moves a lot faster." Sobottka was even firmer in her assessment. "You have to watch what you're doing in here," she said.
Hudson's girls scored points in 10 of 15 events on their way to a second place finish at the 17-team All-American Indoor Track and Field Invitational last Saturday at UW-River Falls' Knowles Fieldhouse. The meet, which wraps up the indoor portion of the high school track and field schedule, featured some of the strongest teams in Minnesota and Wisconsin and saw a combined 22 meet records either tied or broken. Eastview won the girls' team title with 71 points followed by Hudson with 60.
On a day that saw 22 meet records either tied or broken, the Raider boys got a second place finish in the final event of the day -- the 4x400 meter relay -- to leapfrog three teams in the final standings and win the team title by a half-point over River Falls at the All-American Invitational last Saturday, April 6 at UW-River Falls' Knowles Fieldhouse. Ryan Schramm posted a time of 50.9 seconds on his leg of the 4x400 to team up with Sam Entenza, Alex Beyer and Ryan Widmyer for a second place time of 3 minutes, 36.46 seconds.
Four Raider seniors vied for a spot on Team Wisconsin by playing for the Section 1 team at the Wisconsin Senior Class Tournament March 22-24 in Waupun. Forwards Emerson Korum and August Nuutinen, defenseman Daniel Tripicchio, and goaltender Josh Mattis all played in the tournament under Raider coach Brooks Lockwood. The tournament showcases the top senior talent in the state of Wisconsin and is the first step towards picking players to play for Team Wisconsin in the Minnesota CCM National Invitational Tournament April 26-28 in Plymouth, Minn.
Last year the Raider baseball team advanced further into the postseason than any other school in the Big Rivers Conference, reaching the WIAA sectional semifinals while posting a record of 16-9 overall. With six starters back, including five All-BRC players, expectations are high for the 2013 Raider squad. Hudson enters the season ranked No. 16 in the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association preseason poll. Weather permitting, they will open the season Thursday, April 11, at home against East Ridge. The Raiders have already had three games postponed due to the weather.
Student-athletes on Hudson's spring athletic teams are facing their first big challenge of the season in the form of the lingering cold, snowy winter. With snow blanketing the school district fields, athletes have been forced inside for practice, utilizing every available space at the high school, middle school and elementary school to prepare for the season. "It's been challenging finding the space needed for 500 to 600 athletes," athletic director Stephanie DeVos said.
Rachel Anderson and Erin Wetzstein swept the top two spots in the 3200 meter run and Taylor Steffen took first in the shot put to lead the Raider girls' track and field team to a third place finish at the 12-team University of Minnesota High School Indoor Track and Field Championships Saturday at the U of M Fieldhouse in Minneapolis. Prior Lake took home the team title with a total of 96.5 points and Stillwater was second with 59.5 while Hudson placed third with 46.