Alec Hamilton is a RiverTown Multimedia sports reporter covering Hastings, Farmington and Rosemount athletics. He graduated from Drake University with a journalism degree in 2014.
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The Hastings volleyball team has already matched their win total from 2017 so far this fall and have been competitive in all three of their matches. The Raiders started their season 1-2 with a 3-1 win over St. Paul Highland Park at home and losses to Simley (3-0) and Minneapolis South (3-2). Thursday night they continue Metro East Conference play when they travel to Hill-Murray.
The Miesville Mudhens' quest to win their third straight Class B state championship came to an end on Labor Day against a familiar foe. After beating the Chanhassen Red Birds 3-2 on Saturday in the champion's bracket final, the Mudhens once again took on the Red Birds in the state championship game. Miesville need to win just one out of two games, while Chanhassen, who came up through the consolation bracket on Sunday, had to win two. The Red Birds were successful, beating the Mudhens 6-1 and 7-4 in back-to-back games Monday to win their first-ever state championship.
Hastings girls' swimming and diving head coach Katie McAlpin said that she has been anticipating this season the last couple years. After only graduating a handful of seniors from last year, this year's team returns Natasha Girgen, a senior who has already qualified for state the last couple years, as well as a young but experienced team.
Hastings Raiders head football coach Dana Strain said his team need to find a way to be more explosive this season and they certainly did that in their season opener at Henry Sibley. The Raiders shutout the Warriors and racked up yards and points on the way to a 49-0 victory Thursday night in West St. Paul. Hastings amassed 341 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns (six on offense, one on special teams) in the win.
Heading into the 2018 cross country season, the Hastings boys' and girls' cross-country teams could not be in more different situations. The boys' team has decent numbers out and a lot of new runners on top of some returning, while the girls' are very low on numbers, with only four in attendance at a recent practice.
The Hastings Raiders football team faces two main challenges heading into this season according to head coach Dana Strain: roster turnover and generating more explosive plays on offense. The Raiders lost some starters from last year on the offensive and defensive fronts, however most of the turnover comes at the skill positions, most importantly quarterback.
The Hastings girls' tennis team returns several experienced players from last season where they won their first-round section team match. Head coach Marissa Welch said that her team has renewed its focus this year in hopes of going even farther.
There is no denying that last year did not go as planned for the Hastings Raiders volleyball team. However, last year's young team mostly returns for the 2018 season and head coach Amy Johnson hopes last year's experience, as well as a new focus on mental toughness, will help propel the Raiders in 2018.
The Hastings boys' soccer team took fourth in the Metro East Conference last year with an experienced team that was constantly looking to attack and score, especially toward the end of the season. This year, head coach Jamie Swanson will attempt something relatively new.
Do not expect a whole lot of change outside of roster turnover for this year's Hastings girls' soccer team. After winning just three games in 2016, the Raiders showed plenty of improvement last year as they compiled a 7-9 overall record. Despite having 13 players graduate from last year's team, head coach Scott Meier said he returns a solid core from which to build around in 2018.