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 girls' lacrosse team started its season with a bang when they beat Grand Rapids-Greenway 14-4. With the win, the Raiders start their season 1-0 and head coach Laurie Aaronson said that with how their schedule is built, and how she believes the team is capable of playing, there is no reason why Hastings cannot start the season 4-1 or 5-0 before Metro East Conference play.
Hastings High School held a ceremony where four of its athletes signed their letters of intent to play collegiate athletics April 12. Jackson Schichel, Rachel Reinke, Adam McSorley and Bri Froehling all gathered to sign their letters before family, friends and HHS students.
The Hastings baseball team opened its season with two familiar foes, neighboring Park of Cottage Grove and Rosemount. The Raiders traveled Wednesday, April 5, to Park to play the Wolfpack where they lost 4-3. On Friday, they held their home opener against the Irish in a defensive battle that Rosemount won 3-0. Park
The Hastings boys' tennis team opened its season last week against East Ridge, in what was an immediate litmus test for the Raiders. Hastings was swept by the Raptors, who won each singles match, two out of three doubles matches and are considered one of the best teams in the state coming into this season. "We broke past the mystique factor of East Ridge a bit," head coach Michael Willette said. "We know we can compete with them and now we need to go about the business of getting better."
The Hastings softball team is focused on making the state tournament this year for the fifth time in 11 years. Last season, the Raiders went 14-7 overall, took second place in the Metro East Conference behind North St. Paul and were bounced by Eagan in the section playoffs. This year, head coach Ken Lundquist said all of their goals geared toward making it to state.
Coming off last season, when the Hastings boys' golf team took fourth in conference and sections, the Raiders look to use their experience this year to improve upon those finishes. Hastings brings back five golfers who golfed on varsity last season, led by junior Nick Dittrich, who tied for 20th last season at the state tournament. "Nick Dittrich is a junior who has been all-conference the past two years and placed 20th in the state tournament last year," head coach Pete McGinnis said. "Nick is a tremendous leader who spends a lot of time working on his game."
Head coach Mick Willette said the Raiders' success was not unexpected last season, but a year later, even he still seemed pleasantly surprised with what they did.
The Hastings girls' lacrosse program, while still young, hopes to continue to grow and take the next step this season under second-year head coach Laurie Aaronson. Last season, the Raiders really developed under Aaronson's guidance as they played more games and were more competitive than any other season before.
The Hastings Raiders' baseball team moved into section 3AAAA last season, but they had a senior-laden squad to help navigate the new waters. However, entering their second season in a tough section, they will have to overcome their own inexperience; last season's team graduated 17 seniors from last season.
Hastings' senior swimmer Aaron McCullough has been named an academic All-American by the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association of America, per his coach Gerry Rupp.