Hastings' 10 Best Sports Stories of 2017
The Hastings community has seen a wide range of success and inspiring stories from its sports teams and athletes. From Vova Tipler's state diving championship to Krystal Carlson becoming the leading scorer in Hastings basketball history, and even the retirement of Raider institution Jake Moore, it's been a great year for Raider nation. Read below for 10 (unranked) of the best sports stories from the year 2017.
Coach Moore retires after 46 seasons
Coach Jake Moore retired at the end of the 2016-17 basketball season after 46 seasons as Hastings' freshman basketball coach. Those 46 years also include 36 years coaching football and over 900 wins on the basketball court.
Some of those numbers help to try and conceptualize Moore's tenure coaching with HHS. A few others are: 800 athletes (in just basketball), five decades, five athletic directors and seven head basketball coaches. Perhaps lesser known is that Moore won a national championship playing basketball at St. John's, and he was a part of Hastings' football state championship.
Moore said he wants to be able to watch his grandkids play and that his fondest memories are of the people he has coached. After 46 years, he has started to see the kids of formers players come through his team, and two of the last athletic directors (Tom Johnson and Trent Hanson) are both former players of his (Johnson on his first ever team). The players on that first team are now turning 60.
Junior alpine ski quartet competes at state
Four HHS junior (now senior) alpine skiers qualified for the state tournament last winter. Jacob Peine, Kayla Boogren, Shannon O'Connor and Josie Pechous all represented Hastings at Giant's Ridge in Biwabik, Minn.
Peine took 31st, O'Connor 37th, Pechous 43rd and Boogren 47th in a meet that head coach Jim Peine said required a slightly different mindset, in that the racers could go all-out without having to worry about putting together two good runs for the team's sake.
All four have returned this winter as seniors and hope to lead their team to the state tournament.
Carlson is Hastings's all-time leading scorer
Now-senior Krystal Carlson became the leading scorer for both the Hastings girls' and boys' basketball programs last year when she passed Erin (Ditty) Ahneman, who previously held the record with 1,604 points.
Carlson passed Ahneman in late February and had not only the rest of last season, but also this season, to continue setting that record. Carlson said she realized at the start of the 2016-17 season that if she averaged the same amount of points she did her sophomore year, that she would pass Ahneman's record. Her head coach, Padrick Judd, said he knew she would break it the year prior, and it would only be a matter of when.
Ahneman surprised Carlson by traveling all the way from Fargo, N.D., to be there when Carlson was honored before a game against South St. Paul on Feb. 21, and said it is great that Carlson broke her record and will be a role model for girls in Hastings.
As of this week, Carlson currently has 1,845 total points and will most likely go well over 2,000 points in her prep career. She has committed to playing basketball at the University of Sioux Falls.
Raider wrestling takes fourth at team state
The Hastings Raiders wrestling team took fourth at the class 3A team state tournament last winter. After winning a section 3AAA title, they beat section 1AAA champion Owatonna 36-29 in the quarterfinals. They then fell to eventual state champion Apple Valley 52-12 in the semifinals before losing to St. Michael-Albertville in a close third-place match 36-33, which came down to the final few weight classes.
Individually, Hastings had nine wrestlers qualify for the individual state tournament as well — three of them placed. Seniors Adam McSorley and Jackson Schichel took third (132 pounds) and fourth (220 pounds), respectively. Now-senior and team co-captain Trey Rogers was the runner-up at 182 pounds and is favored to win a state championship this winter.
Tipler wins class AA state diving championship
After dominating throughout the winter, then-junior Vova Tipler won the class AA state diving championship last spring by a wide margin. Racking up 345.60 points in the preliminaries, almost 60 points ahead of the next diver, Tipler expanded his lead even more in the finals when he won with 494.40 points, 70 points ahead of the runner-up.
Head coach Gerry Rupp put that margin in perspective, saying that Tipler's competitors would each have had to dive at least two more times to even catch up. After the season, Tipler was named an All-American as well.
Also competing at the state tournament were John Rupp, Jack Gergen, Aaron McCullough and Carter Williams. Everyone but McCullough returned and are leading the Raiders this season.
Raider boys' tennis advances to section finals
The Hastings boys' tennis team achieved something speculated had not occurred since the 1990s ... they made the section championship. The Raiders' goal to start the season was to make the section final and they did that. They fell to East Ridge 6-1 in the championship, an identical score to when they lost to the Raptors in their very first dual of the season. Hastings won 19 straight duals over the course of the 2017 season.
Hastings' Dittrich racks up the awards
Hastings' junior golfer Nick Dittrich had a season last spring that included just about everything a player could ask for. After making the state tournament in 2016 as a sophomore, Dittrich came out hot in 2017 and kept that pace up for much of the season. He won the Bunker Hills and Don Saatzer Invites, and was named all-conference for the third time, all-state and was the section individual champion.
At the state tournament, Dittrich struggled some the first day as he admitted to playing too conservatively. However, he was able to turn things around on day two, have some fun and finish in a tie for 30th, eight strokes behind being in medal contention and 11 behind the winner.
Mudhens are back-to-back state champs
The Miesville Mudhens won their second straight Minnesota Baseball Association class B state championship this past summer, their seventh in history. While in 2016 the Mudhens ran the table to their first championship since 2007, this past summer they were forced to do it the hard way as they came out of the consolation bracket after losing to the Chanhassen Red Birds.
Miesville won their first three state tournament games before falling to the Red Birds. They then had to beat the Moorhead Brewers and the Red Birds twice on their way to the title, four games in three days, three of them against Chanhassen.
All season player-manager Chris Olean stressed that his team had the pitching depth to play several games in a short span, and the batting order to make teams pay while doing it. Both of those factors came true as the Red Birds were just not able to keep up with the Mudhens over the course of the two championship games.
Nate Hammes was named tournament MVP after batting .556 with 15 hits and seven RBIs. Against the Red Birds alone, he was 9-for-14 with four RBIs and two runs scored. While putting up those gaudy offensive numbers, he caught every single inning of the tournament as well.
Nogle makes state cross-country meet in first year
Hastings senior David Nogle finally gave in to cross-country head coach John Dewall this past fall and went out for the sport after being a standout distance runner on the track and field team. In his first season ever running cross-country, Nogle took fifth in the Metro East Conference meet and took 10th at the section meet in Owatonna to qualify for state, all while continually improving his time.
While his class AA state meet run, held at St. Olaf College, was derailed by an illness, Nogle still was determined to run and was able to put together a respectable time. He finished 163rd and outpaced several fully healthy runners while doing so. He said that once the race start, it was a pure adrenaline rush that kept him going, and even though he was sick he was not going to miss the race for the world.
Girgen competes at state for second year in a row
Hastings junior swimmer Natasha Girgen qualified for the class AA state meet for the second year in a row this fall in the 100 and 200 freestyle. At the section meet, she took third in the 200 freestyle and second in the 100 freestyle to qualify for both.
A week later, she took 22nd in the preliminaries of the 200 freestyle and 21st in the 100 freestyle, but was not able to qualify for the finals.
Next year Girgen will lead a team of young but experienced swimmers for the Hastings girls' swimming and diving team.