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Raiders' season is winding down

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sports Hastings, 55033
Hastings Minnesota 745 Spiral Boulevard 55033

The Hastings cross country seasons have hit their biggest week of the season. Today, both teams are competing in what could be the last meet of the year for many of the runners, but if all goes as planned, not everyone's seasons will end today.

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The Raiders are competing in the section meet in Owatonna. The top 10 finishers in the boys and girls races qualify for the state meet, and the top teams also advance. Qualifying as a team isn't realistic for the Raiders, but Hastings could qualify a runner in the boys race.

Zach Benning placed eighth at last week's Suburban East Conference meet, and Hastings coach John Dewall is hoping that finish is proof that Benning is ready to turn in a similar performance at the section meet.

"If he can finish in the top 10 in our conference, he should do very, very well in our section meet," Dewall said. "He was finishing in the top 10 in every invitational we had. To come in eighth overall and get all conference at the conference meet as huge for him. He had a phenomenal race."

As a team, the boys placed ninth out of 10 teams.

"I think everybody had their personal record," Dewall said. "That's huge - they're all having their best times here. That's what we are looking for this time of year."

Benning, a sophomore, led the team with a time of 15 minutes and 52 seconds.

Joseph Rabaey placed 41st in 17:09, Jake Spitzack was 54th in 17:42, Andy Rachuy was 58th in 17:46 and Austin Reuter was 59th in 17:46 to round out the scoring for Hastings. The team had 220 points.

Also running on varsity were Colby Smith (65th, 18:01) and Christian Weiland (66th, 18:02).

Stillwater won the meet with 35 points and White Bear Lake was second with 68.

Not one senior was in the varsity lineup for the Raiders, which has Dewall excited about the coming seasons.

"They're all young kids," he said. "When you look at them all, you're really looking at building a core of top, top people that, in a year or two, could certainly be competing for the SEC title."

Girls

The Hastings girls placed eighth out of 10 teams in the conference meet. The Raiders finished with 211 points. East Ridge won the meet with 66, and Roseville was second with 74.

The girls were led by sophomore Michaela Mills, who was 24th overall in 15:14, earning her all conference honorable mention.

"To be able to do that in your first year out for cross country, that's quite an accomplishment," Dewall said. "She missed all conference by just a few places. She's been very, very consistent all year. To be able to perform like that, at that level, it's really exciting."

Kiki Radke, an eighth-grader, was 36th in 15:30, Bri Strandberg was 45th in 15:49, Helen Jensen was 50th in 15:57 and Kailee Harrington placed 56th in 16:03.

Kate Curtis and Abberly Smith also raced varsity. Curtis was 59th in 16:19 and Smith was 61st in 16:57.

"Every girl, when you look at the whole roster, you see things to be excited about," Dewall said. "Overall I thought that, as a team, the girls ran very well."

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