Alec Hamilton is a sports reporter and general assignment reporter at the Hastings Star Gazette. He is a journalism graduate of Drake University.
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Hastings' junior swimmer Natasha Girgen advanced to the Minnesota State High School League class AA state tournament for the second year in a row in the 100 and 200 freestyle events. Girgen took second in the 200 freestyle in the preliminaries with a time of one minute and 56.99 seconds. She then took third in the finals, swimming a 1:54.90 to qualify for state. In the 100 freestyle, she also took second with a time of 53.86. Then in the finals, Girgen cut off more than half a second to finish second again and qualify for state with a time of 53.28.
The Hastings girls' hockey team opened its regular season against two section opponents this past week. The Raiders hosted Park of Cottage Grove on Thursday, Nov. 9, at Hastings Civic Arena and fell 4-2 in a game that was close until near the very end. Then on Saturday, Hastings traveled to Apple Valley where they lost 6-2 after leading 2-0.
Hastings senior David Nogle had his state cross-country experience derailed by illness, but he said that just being able to compete in the race was worth all the hard work. "I knew it would be tough, especially waking up very sick," he explained. "I just reminded myself that I would have given anything to compete at the state meet, and even if I finished last it would have been worth it."
The Hastings girls' hockey team started practice the day before Halloween and have already had their exhibition trip to Duluth. Heading into the season, they lack much of their goal scoring from last year but also return several girls who saw significant varsity action.
Unlike many volleyball matches, the exciting action came at the beginning of the Hastings vs. Henry Sibley section 3AAA playoff matchup. The Raiders battled and clawed back in the first set but were unable to keep up that energy in the second set and then were blown out in the third. Hastings fell in three straight sets 21-25, 15-25, 5-25.
Hastings senior David Nogle qualified for the state cross country meet in his first year of the sport Thursday, Oct. 26, at Brooktree Golf Course in Owatonna. Meanwhile, the boys' team as a whole took 12th out of 16 teams while the girls placed 15th. First year, no problem Nogle led the Raider boys by taking 10th with a time of 16 minutes, 37.30 seconds, which allowed him to qualify for state by a fairly comfortable margin.
The Hastings Raiders football team was not able to slow down the Apple Valley Eagles’ high-powered offense nor get much going offensively themselves Saturday, Oct. 28, in Apple Valley. The Raiders fell in a blowout 56-13 and had their season end after making it to the section semifinals for the fourth year in a row. Hastings finishes with a 3-7 overall record this season including the section playoffs.
Both the north and south-bound lanes of Highway 61 are partially blocked as of 3:30 p.m. due to a crash. A semi-truck crashed into a median on Highway 61, just before the stoplight next to the Holiday gas station. The crash occurred around 2:30 p.m. and the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office and other services were on scene.
Earlier this fall the Hastings Walleye beat the Blaine Lycans 4-2 in a best-of-seven series. As the winner, the Walleye advance to the national tournament held in Colorado at the beginning of November.
The Hastings girls swimming and diving team won the Metro East Conference championship on Oct. 17 against South St. Paul. The Raiders beat the Packers 100-75 in a dominant win despite a change in lineups. Head coach Katie McAlpin said that every year she has a meet where her swimmers draw their events out of a bucket for fun. Hastings competed in the True Team Sections meet the weekend before and took fifth out of seven teams.