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' swimming and diving team finished third last Saturday at the eight-team Husky Invitational in Eau Claire. Eau Claire Memorial/North won the team title with 370 points followed by Chippewa Falls with 265 and Hudson with 242. River Falls placed fourth with 130 followed by Superior with 116, Menomonie with 95, Holmen/ Onalaska with 89 and Rice Lake with 88. The Raiders will host their final dual meet of the season this Thursday, Jan. 26, at 6:30 p.m. at the middle school against Chippewa Falls. Saturday, Jan.
Every time the Raider boys' basketball team appeared on the verge of catching Chippewa Falls Friday night (Jan. 20), it would come up short. Whether it was a turnover, missed shot or one of eight Cardinal three-pointers, the Raiders were forced to play from behind all night in a 58-50 Big Rivers Conference loss. "I thought we had our chances early in that game to get up on them, however we would turn them over and then miss on our end, or turn it over ourselves," Raider coach Jason Swavely said.
The Raider girls' basketball team couldn't sustain a strong first quarter at Chippewa Falls last Friday night and the eighth-ranked Cardinals pulled away in the second half for a 58-30 victory. Chippewa Falls improved to 11-1 with the victory, 4-1 in Big Rivers Conference play, while Hudson fell to 3-7 overall, 0-5 in the BRC. Raider coach Ed Johnson said his team couldn't keep its early momentum going. The Raiders had an 11-9 first quarter lead before being outscored 14-4 in the second quarter. "We got off to a good start and hit some shots early," Johnson said.
Not only was last week one of the busiest of the season for the Raider boys' swimming and diving team, it was also one of the most successful. The Raiders won three straight dual meets at Simley last Tuesday, Jan. 10, Rice Lake Thursday at home, and Superior Friday, before taking first at the Head of Lakes Invitational in Superior Saturday afternoon, Jan. 14. Among the other highlights of the week was a new school record set by Charlie Skinner in the 500 yard freestyle Thursday against Rice Lake.
The Raider wrestling team remained undefeated in Big Rivers Conference competition with a 54-15 victory at Rice Lake last Thursday, Jan. 12 before coming out on the short end of dual meets against three of Minnesota's top-ranked teams at Saturday's Anoka Quad. The Raiders dropped a 36-23 decision to second-ranked Scott West and lost to eighth-ranked Prior Lake, 53-21, before falling to the host school, 12th-ranked Anoka, 32-25. "We were real close to upsetting No. 12 ranked Anoka," Raider coach Chris Hansen said.
The Raider boys' basketball team showed Big Rivers Conference favorite Rice Lake it wasn't just going to walk away with the BRC title this season in a conference matchup at the high school last Tuesday, Jan. 10. The Raiders played aggressive, physical basketball and had the Warriors on their heels most of the game, but Rice Lake's three Ellenson brothers combined for 11 of the 14 Warrior points in the final four minutes of the game to erase an eight-point Raider lead and force overtime.
The Raider girls' hockey team dropped an 8-3 decision to the fifth-ranked Eau Claire/Altoona Stars last Thursday, Jan. 12 at Hobbs Ice Arena in Eau Claire. The Stars scored the only goal of the first period to take a 1-0 lead before each team scored three times in the second period to keep it a one-goal game.
The Raider boys' hockey team picked up a 4-2 Big Rivers Conference victory over Chippewa Falls last Tuesday, Jan. 10 before dropping a 5-1 decision to third-ranked Superior Saturday at Gornick Arena. The Raiders, now 6-6-1 overall, 4-2-0 in BRC play, hosted Somerset (10-5-1) this past Tuesday, Jan. 17, and have a week off before traveling to Menomonie (9-6-0, 3-4-0) on Tuesday, Jan. 24. "I thought our team played very hard and unselfishly in both games," Raider coach Mike Stoskopf said about last week.
Amanda Baker took third in the all-around and Olivia Dunlap just missed medaling with a seventh place finish as the Raider gymnasts finished fourth in the eight-team Gold Division at the River Falls Gymnastics Invitational Saturday in River Falls. Earlier in the week the Raiders posted a season-high score of 132.55 in a Big Rivers Conference win over Rice Lake/Cumberland Tuesday as Olivia Dunlap, Amanda Baker and McKenna Daulton swept the top three spots in the all-around. Dunlap totaled 34.7 to win the all-around competition, buoyed by a first place score of 9.0 on the balance beam.
In the 49-year history of the wrestling rivalry between Hudson and River Falls, the Raiders have never won by a bigger margin than they did last Thursday night, Jan. 5. Hudson dropped just one match on its way to remaining undefeated in Big Rivers Conference dual meets with a 63-6 victory on its home mat. The Raiders jumped right back into action Saturday, Jan. 7 when they hosted the Hudson Dual Invite and came away with a record of 3-1 to finish second. The Raiders return to BRC action Thursday, Dec. 12, at Rice Lake and will compete at the Anoka Invitational Saturday, Jan. 14.