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 baseball team split its first two games of the season last week against some pretty stiff competition from Minnesota, coming from behind to defeat Simley, 8-7, Friday before losing at Stillwater, 10-3, Saturday. The Raiders continued their string against Minnesota opponents by hosting East Ridge Tuesday and will visit Mahtomedi on Saturday, April 16.
Hudson hockey players Ryan Dau and Spencer Korum are among 20 of the top seniors in the state named to the Team Wisconsin squad that will compete in this weekend's CCM Minnesota Hockey High School National Invitational Tournament (NIT) in Plymouth. The tournament will feature teams comprised of the top high school players from Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Michigan and Massachusetts. Team Wisconsin won the inaugural NIT championship last year after competing at the now-defunct Chicago Showcase the previous 25 years.
Raider junior Charlie Skinner's name will be announced twice when the Wisconsin Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association honors its 2010-11 All-State teams at its annual banquet May 1 in Hartford. Skinner earned honorable mention all-state for his top times in the 200 yard individual medley and 100 yard butterfly this season.
Hudson's Ryan Dau and Spencer Korum played in the 29th annual Wisconsin Senior Class Hockey Tournament March 25-27 in Waupun and made significant contributions to help the Section 1 team reach the tournament title game. The Senior Class Tournament is broken up into eight teams featuring the top seniors in the state.
The Raider track and field teams have already proven to be among the best in Western Wisconsin.
Weather has forced the Raider baseball team to juggle its schedule for the first week of the season. Originally set to play four games this week, the team will open up Friday at 4:30 p.m. at home against Simley, Minn. and travel to Stillwater on Saturday. Hudson was forced to cancel games earlier this week at New Richmond Monday and home against Simley Tuesday. Friday's scheduled contest at Mahtomedi, Minn., has also been cancelled. The Raiders will make up the game at New Richmond May 17 at 5 p.m. while the Simley game will be played this Friday, the original date of the Mahtomedi game.
Josh Eidem remembers the exact moment he fell in love with town baseball. "I came up from Rochester to play with some of my UW-River Falls teammates for the Spring Valley Hawks at the Ellsworth Cheese Curd Days Tournament in 2000," he recalled. "It was a Saturday night game and I was standing out in center field with all these people at the game cheering and having a good time and I was thinking, 'Why do I go home during the summer?' I came in to pitch at the end of the game and people were just screaming.
Last year at this time the snow was gone, fields were dry and temperatures were above average. This year? Not so much. The lingering cold and snow has made it difficult for area sports teams to prepare for their upcoming seasons. And Hudson is no exception. The Raider baseball, softball and girls' soccer teams have all been practicing indoors for over a week. And this past Monday the boys' golf and tennis teams joined them inside for their first official day of practice.
Even when they're not at full strength, the Raider track and field teams are among the area's best. Despite missing a number of athletes due to either lingering injuries from the winter sports season or other commitments, both the Hudson boys' and girls' teams finished second at the prestigious All-America Invitational Saturday, March 26 at UW-River Falls Knowles Fieldhouse. The Raider boys finished second out of 16 teams while the girls placed second out of 14. La Crosse Central won the boys' team title with 97 points with Hudson second with 88.
Raider senior Alexa Belanger was named to the 2010-11 All-Big Rivers Conference second team while junior Jessie Kirkwood and sophomore Kindra Witthus each received honorable mention. It's the first post-season honor for Belanger and Kirkwood and the second for Witthus, who also received honorable mention last year along with Morgan Karras, whose 2010-11 season was cut short by a knee injury. Only BRC champ Eau Claire North and Chippewa Falls had more players selected to the All-BRC team, each with four.