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Lacrosse program finishes successful season

The Hastings Boys Summer Lacrosse team has had a very successful 2011 season. Lacrosse has grown so much in the last six years, from having barely enough kids to roster a varsity and JV team with kids in seventh to 12th grade in 2006, to having a varsity, JV and 9/10 team, two middle school 7/8 teams, a 5/6 and also a 3/4 grade team last summer.

This summer, the youth teams have competed in the Youth Lacrosse Minnesota League and have had a successful season. Two of the three summer youth teams competed in the Summer State Tournaments this past weekend with our third team just missing the tournament with a loss during the second round of the playoffs.

5/6 White

The fifth- and sixth-grade Hastings White team had a regular season record of 4-5. They competed in the Oakdale and Woodbury tournaments, beating Hudson 5-4 during the playoffs and then losing to a very good Woodbury team one game short of advancing to State. The 5/6 White team consisted of fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders Tyler Evans, Grand Heselton, Tyson Brabec, Kayla Boogren, Jack Klein, Sam Schill, Jaden Axelrod, Gavin Foote, Erik Iverson, Marko Reifenberger, Austin Becker, Zack Johnson, Eli Schaffer, Jason Williams, Tucker Houska, Josh Miser, TJ Pottinger, Dylan Buss, Josh Speak and Dan Beck. This team was coached by Branson Nickel and Terry Iverson.

Coach Iverson stated that last year, they did not have any teams in the 5/6 summer program. This year there were two teams, totaling 40 players. Nickel and Iverson coached Hastings' first 3/4th grade team last summer to continue with the 2011 5/6 team, and improvement has been great.

5/6 Blue

The fifth- and sixth-grade Hastings Blue team had a regular season record of 6-3. They started the season off 0-3, but during the fourth game of the season turned it around and won the final six games to make it into playoffs.

During the playoffs they beat St. Paul 5-3 and Mahtomedi 10-3 to advance to the 5/6 State Tournament in Eden Prairie this past weekend. After playing teams from Lakeville, Maple Grove, Eden Prairie and Woodbury, the team fell short of making it into the placing round. Like the White team, the blue team also consisted of fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders Derek Smith, Morgan Sweeney, Jett Appert, Luke Larson, Jacob Zwart, Zachar Aasen, Charlie Savage, Nathan Floysand, Laynee Connell, Cole Huettl, Jackson Gergen, Mason Lovich, John Cole, Colin Sieh, Jeffrey Gegen, Erik Hokans, Noah Bzoskie, Dylan Helland, Blaine Wasvick and Colton Cassidy.

This team was coached by Nick Baum, Mark Hokans and Brady Wasvick. Baum was one of the junior captains on this past season's varsity team and coached the 5/6 team during the spring season. Brady Wasvick played on the Hastings varsity team throughout his high school years and also played on the Gustavus Adolphus Lacrosse team the last four years. Coach Hokans, who also has a son on the 7/8 team, commented that these kids come from all kinds of sports backgrounds - baseball, soccer, wrestling, hockey, football and swimming.

7/8 team

The seventh- and eighth-grade team had a great regular season, finishing with an undefeated 9-0 record. They had a first round bye in the playoffs to see Hudson in the second round. Hastings advanced to the state tournament with a 10-3 win.

Different than the 5/6 pool bracket, the 7/8 team found themselves in a 20-team single elimination bracket. Hastings had a first round bye and faced the winner between Maple Grove and Andover. After Maple Grove's win over Andover, Hastings came onto the field to win. They beat Maple Grove with a final score of 9-3. They next found themselves facing undefeated Delano. Hastings scored first, but Delano tied it up at the end of the first quarter. This game was never more than a 1-point game with the lead going both ways. Delano scored their fourth goal with two minutes remaining in the game and Hastings couldn't tie it up before time ran out. Hastings ended the state tournament with a 4-3 loss to Delano. Delano went on to win the state tournament in overtime against Oakdale.

The 7/8 team players are Connor Babcock, Matthew Blount, Logan Chilson, Patrick Clark, AJ Croucher, Elliot Cysiewski, Michael Gegen, Callahan Gergen, Noah Hays, Alex Hokans, Trent Johnson, Kirk Kranz, Casey Langhans, Roger Martineau, Keith Mikel, Connor Muench, Gage Muench, Andrew Odhiambo, Michael Sacchetti and Dima Wagner.

This team was coached by Brian Jenson, Jordan Burr, Casey Gillard, Ryan Gillard, Zach Chilson and Andrew Cordell. Coach Jenson also was a varsity player when he attended Hastings High School and played for the St. John's Lacrosse team in college. He has coached Hastings' high school teams along with our middle school teams since his high school graduation.

A successful program

The recent success and growth of the Hastings Lacrosse program is attributed to the willingness of current and former players to give back to the program.

"I think that a lot of the success of the program can also be attributed to the hard work that these players put in every day, as well as the support of the parents," said Jenson. " A lot of these eighth graders were on the summer middle school team two years ago when our record was 0-9. Two years later, they end with an 11-1 record. It's amazing to see how far these players, and the program, has come the last few years."

Former players like coach Jenson and his brother Dave, Brady Wasvick, Joe Helget and Paul Greten are all Hastings graduates who have come back to coach all levels in the program. This year's senior captains, Andy Riveness and Corey Latuff, each coached a middle school spring team this year. Underclassmen like Nick Baum who helped with the spring and summer teams were Ryan Gillard, Casey Gillard, Jordan Burr, Andrew Cordell and Zach Chilson. These kids came from all positions on the varsity team and because of that, they could split and help the younger kids improve individually on their positions and the teamwork that goes along with this sport.

Coach Hokans summed it up with this comment: "The kids who play, fall in love with the sport."