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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Dan Loughney led the Hudson High School football team onto the field plenty of times as a player, but last Tuesday, Aug.1, may have been the most special. Loughney, a star fullback on the Raiders' 2011 and 2012 playoff teams, was diagnosed with a brain tumor—a grade 3 glioma—in April 2016 while attending college at UW-Stout. After months of radiation, chemotherapy and MRI's, Raider head coach Adam Kowles asked Loughney to lead the 2017 Raiders onto their new turf practice facility for the first time last Tuesday at the high school.
River Falls swimmer Sydney Fleming qualified for the Minnesota Long Course State Championships in three individual events in the Long Course Regional Championships in Winona last weekend, July 21-23, and will swim in a total of eight events at the state meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center July 26-30.
Two-hundred and twenty-nine competitors took part in this year's River Falls Days 10k and 2-Mile races Saturday, July 15, along a new route featuring the start and finish lines on Maple Street next to city hall.
Brooke Bahner was an athlete looking for a sport. "I wanted to be in sports my whole life but I wasn't good enough because I kind of have a lack of dexterity," the soon-to-be Hudson High School senior said. "When people were throwing balls at me I'd either duck or miss."
RIVER FALLS — Riese Nelson was visiting his dad's family farm when he shot his first clay "bird." "He had a trap thrower on the farm when he was young," Nelson recalled. "So one weekend when I was up there I brought my shotgun, and he was throwing clays and I started shooting at them. Then my freshman year in high school they started a trap team and I thought, 'hey I just did that; I think I'll try it out and see how it goes.'"
Football fans usually have to wait until fall to see their local teams in action. Not anymore. Two teams in the Northern Elite Football League—considered one of the premier adult amateur semi-pro leagues in the nation—have set up shop in the area with the Northland Bulls calling UW-River Falls Ramer Field home and the Hudson Thunderhawks playing at E.P. Rock Elementary School's Newton Field. The Bulls spent the previous four years as the North Bank Bulls in Cottage Grove, Minn., while the Thunderhawks played the last eight years in Menomonie.
After opening the week with a 9-7 nonconference victory at Baldwin-Woodville last Tuesday, and posting a 10-6 win over Eau Claire North in the first game of a Big Rivers Conference doubleheader Thursday at home, the Raider softball team dropped the nightcap to the Huskies, 2-1, before losing a 4-2 decision to Zumbrota-Mazeppa this past Monday.
The Raider baseball team opened Big Rivers Conference play with a home-and-home series against River Falls last week and came out on the short end of both scores, 3-0 Tuesday at Grandview Park and 6-4 Thursday in River Falls. The Raiders rallied for three runs in the top of the sixth Thursday in River Falls but couldn't overcome an early 6-0 deficit to the Wildcats. Five Raider errors led to three unearned runs for River Falls, who opened up a 6-0 lead after two innings.
True team track and field meets are designed to determine the top team based on depth rather that top finishers. The Raiders had plenty of both at last Thursday's Hudson True Team Invitational at E.P. Rock's Newton Field. Bailee Dierks was a double-winner on the girls' side and George Bond, Cole Causby and Paul Sparstad won one event each for the boys to lead the host Raiders to a sweep of the team titles at the 8-team meet.
Jason Nell has coached baseball in a lot of places in the last 20-plus years, from Somerset and River Falls to Dubuque and Estherville, Iowa. And through all that time his wife, the former Lisa Olson of Hudson, has followed him wherever he went. Until last year. "Finally one day I said you know what; you apply for a job and if you get it I'll move," Nell said. "She's a teacher and she applied for a job in White Bear Lake, she gets an interview and they hire her for the following season in a span of one week. So I said. OK, I guess we're moving."