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 Raiders senior wrestler Trey Rogers said he dreamed of becoming a state champion since he was a kid. That dream became a reality this past weekend when Rogers became the Minnesota's Class AAA, 195-pound state champion. The culmination of Rogers high school wrestling career came when the match was over, when he gave a lopsided grin and yell as his hand was raised. And then immediately rushed to embrace his head coach, Josh McLay. In the moment, it was hard to tell who was more excited, Rogers or McLay. But the result was hardly ever in doubt.
The Hastings Raiders boys' hockey team had their section playoffs come to end last week when the met up with the top-seeded Lakeville North Panthers. Coming off a trouncing of Dodge County, the Raiders stuck with the Panthers for just over a period before North began to gain momentum in a 6-2 Panther win. Including the section playoffs, Hastings ends the year with a record of 6-20-1. The game was scoreless after the first period, and Hastings head coach Adam Welch said he was happy with how his team was executing on the defensive end to start the game.
The Hastings Raiders wrestling team continued its dominance of section 3AAA by sending eight wrestlers (out of 14 weight classes) to the individual state wrestling tournament later this week. All but one wrestler placed for Hastings, and the team had four section champions. The section champions were seniors Trey Rogers at 195 pounds and T.J. Pottinger (182), junior Corbin Leflay (152) and sophomore John Kendall (106). Runners-up were juniors Paul Kendall (120), Mac Wilson (138), Alex O'Connor (160) and Luke Chamberlain (285).
Hastings Raiders senior swimmers Jackson Gergen and John Rupp both qualified for the Minnesota State High School League's Class AA state swimming and diving meet last weekend. Competing in the section 1AA meet in Rochester, both swimmers made it to the state meet in two events each. Gergen took third in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 21.83 seconds to qualify, and then later in the meet took third again in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.26) to make state in his second event.
Hastings fought a rematch from earlier in the season for their consolation championship match. They faced Albert Lea Area, who beat the Raiders convincing during the regular season, and it was Hastings' time to show how much they had progressed over the last month. However, it was not to be as the Raiders found themselves in a quick 26-0 hole through the first six matches. It was not until Mac Wilson won by major decision at 145 that they finally got on the board and they were eliminated after Godswill Pepple was pinned at 170. Hastings takes sixth at team state this season after taking fourth last year. Wrestling continues tomorrow as the Raiders have eight wrestlers participating in the individual state tournament. Check back later for more team state content and some individual state coverage in the coming days.
Raiders wrestling bounced back quickly from their opening-round loss to Anoka. They faced off against Stillwater in the consolation semifinals and won 44-21. Hastings won the first two matches but then the Ponies were able to build an 18-9 lead heading into the 145 pound weight class. However, from there on Hastings won seven of the last eight matches, including a forfeit to senior Trey Rogers at 195 which sealed the match for the Raiders.
The Hastings Raiders wrestling team dropped their first dual of team state to second-seeded Anoka 39-22. Anoka got out to a large lead in the lower weights and it was too much for the Raiders to make up in the upper weights. Many had pegged Anoka as the team to beat this year even before Apple Valley was upset by Shakopee. Hastings goes on to wrestle Stillwater right away in the consolation semifinals. The winner wrestles again at 5 p.m. in the consolation finals.
ROCHESTER — The Hastings Raiders gymnastics team competed at the section 1AA meet this past Friday at Rochester John Marshall High School. As a team, the Raiders finished seventh with a score of 124.55, three points ahead of Rochester John Marshall and seven points behind Rochester Mayo. Hastings also received a gold academic award with a 3.85 team GPA. While Hastings did not have any gymnasts place in the top 10 of events, they did perform more difficult routines then they had all season.
BIWABIK, Minn. — Hastings Raiders sophomore Trevor Caflisch competed at the Minnesota State High School League state nordic ski tournament last week at Giants Ridge.
The Hastings Raiders boys' and girls' alpine ski team competed in the state meet last week in Biwabik, Minn., and both placed very respectably. The boys finished fourth and could have done even better, according to head coach Jim Peine, who said they had a few second runs go awry. "We were probably sitting close to first after the first run but then Jack Caturia straddled a gate and Sam Molitor lost a ski, so that brought us down a bit," he said.