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 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.
The Raider track and field teams set the bar high in their first meet of the season Saturday, March 19, with the girls taking first and the boys finishing fourth at the Northern Badger Invitational at UW-Stout's Johnson Fieldhouse. Hudson posted 10 top-three finishes in the 12-team girls' competition to take first with a total of 102 points while the Raider boys had three first place finishes and a runner-up to finish fourth out of 13 teams with a score of 73.
Fresh off his all-state season with the Hudson Raider hockey team, senior Ryan Dau helped Team Wisconsin Major advance to the USA Hockey Central District Championships by scoring two goals in the team's 4-2 victory over the Jr. Admirals in the Wisconsin Tier 1 AAA State Championship game in Madison Sunday. Dau and his Team Wisconsin teammates will open Central District Tournament play against Team Illinois at 6:45 p.m.
Raider senior Matt Krier and freshman Alex Herink have both been named to the 2010-11 All-Big Rivers Conference Boys Basketball Team in voting by the conference coaches. Krier was named to the five-player second team while Herink was one of seven players to receive honorable mention. It's the first All-BRC honor for Krier in basketball but second time this school year he has earned all-conference honors.
The Raider girls' basketball team was eliminated from the postseason with a 47-34 loss at top-seeded Marshfield Saturday afternoon, but it didn't go down without a fight. The Raiders battled through three overtimes last Tuesday in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal before defeating D.C.