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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The Hastings Raiders boys' and girls' alpine ski teams are off to fantastic starts to their 2018 competition seasons. The boys won both the Welch Invite and the first Metro East Conference meet, while the girls finished seventh at the Welch Invite and second at the MEC meet. The Raiders were able to have two boys and two girls teams compete at the Welch Invite. The Hastings squad 2 took fourth in the squad two meet, while the girls squad 2 took seventh.
The Hastings Raiders boys' swimming and diving team hosted the second-ranked St. Thomas Academy Cadets Thursday, Jan. 11, on Parents Night. While the Raiders lost 108-75, head coach Gerry Rupp said he was happy with how his team raced. "We could not have swam any better against them," he said. "St. Thomas Academy was ranked second in the state in this week's poll, so we did an outstanding job hanging with them. We were missing three personnel, so the rest of the team really stepped up their game."
Hastings High School recently released its recipients of the Minnesota State High School League Triple "A" Awards and ExCel Awards.
The Hastings Raiders boys' hockey team was shut out in two games last week against Eagan and Eastview. The Raiders fell at Eagan 5-0 on Jan. 4, and then lost at home Saturday, Jan. 6, to Eastview 3-0. With the losses, Hastings is now 2-10-1 overall, 1-4 in the Metro East Conference and are in the midst of a losing streak dating back to early December. Head coach Adam Welch said that with such a young team (in terms of experience), they are working hard every day to put it together and at moments have shown what they are capable of.
The Hastings Raiders girls' basketball team finally started Metro East Conference play last week when they beat the Simley Spartans at home Friday, Jan. 5. The Raiders beat the Spartans 49-37 in a game that was very close until the closing minutes. With the win, Hastings is now 8-3 overall and joins Mahtomedi, Henry Sibley and Hill-Murray atop the Metro East Conference standings at 1-0. Overcoming adversity
The Black Dirt Improv troupe performed Friday, Jan. 5, at the Hastings Arts Center in front of anyone willing to brave the freezing cold. There were two showings at 7 and 9 p.m. — the latter attracting about 50 people. The troupe brought eight of their performers, led by emcee Joren Skov, and performed a variety of skits and bits in general improv format, similar to the hit show hosted by Drew Carey "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"
The Hastings Raiders girls' basketball team competed in the tough Holiday Hoops Classic held at St. Olaf College this past week. The Raiders faced a trio of South Suburban Conference teams in Eastview, Eagan and Prior Lake. They went 1-2 in the three matchups, beating Eagan for the second time this season while falling to Prior Lake and no. 2 in class 4A Eastview. Hastings lost to Prior Lake 74-63 but no stats were available at the time of writing.
The Hastings girls' hockey team is in the midst of a slump, having lost six games in a row. Last week, the Raiders played in the Louis-Schmitz Holiday Classic at Schmitz-Maki Arena in Farmington. They played Red Wing, River Lakes and Northfield. While Red Wing proved too much to handle, the Raiders lost two close ones to River Lakes and Northfield.
The Hastings boys' basketball team fell to 3-6 overall after dropping two games at their own holiday tournament last week. The Raiders fell to across-the-river rival Prescott 77-67 in their first game and then in the final seconds to Irondale 64-63 during the third-place game.
The Hastings Raiders wrestling team competed in The Clash XVI held at Rochester Community and Technical College. The Clash is considered one of the best, if not the best, dual tournament in the nation, featuring the best teams in Minnesota, across the Midwest and nationally ranked teams from across the country. The Raiders took 20th after going 2-1 on the first day and 0-3 on the second day.