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 senior Callie McNary was one of four Raider seniors to sign a letter of intent to play collegiate athletics this last winter. McNary committed to playing soccer at NAIA school Concordia University-Nebraska. The commitment is the culmination of playing soccer for most of her life, and McNary has known soccer is her passion since her freshman year of high school. "I just love the atmosphere of being on the field," she said. "I've been playing soccer for 14 years and I don't think I've ever not loved it. (It's) just a passion I've always had."
This past season was a difficult one for the Hastings boys' swimming and diving team as they competed with a small senior class and no junior class at all. The Raiders had 13 swimmers who were freshmen or younger, which was weighed against five seniors and seven sophomores. Despite that youth, head coach Gerry Rupp said that his team improved immensely over the course of the past year.
The Hastings Raiders boys basketball team had their best regular season since they won 20 games in 2014-2015. With a mix of veteran leadership and talented underclassmen, the Raiders finished the regular season 13-13 and 9-7 in the Metro East, which was good for fifth place. However, they were then upset in the section playoffs by Burnsville. While Hastings might not have met some of their own goals, they certainly outperformed people's expectations of them.
The Hastings Raiders girls' basketball team continued its success of recent years. For the second year in a row, they advanced to the second round of section playoffs, and this was the first time in over a decade they were able to host a section game at Hasting High School. The Raiders finished 18-8 in the regular season and were second behind Mahtomedi in the Metro East Conference standings (11-3). In the first round of the section playoffs, they hosted Rosemount, and won, 54-50, and then ran into top-seeded and eventual state champion Eastview in the second round, to whom they lost 61-39.
Hastings High School and athletic director Trent Hanson announced on Monday the hiring of two new co-head coaches for the Raiders girls' lacrosse team.
Kare 11 kicked-off television coverage for the 2018 Winter Olympics on Friday, Feb. 9, in Minneapolis. River Blades Skating School was invited to perform their award-winning ice skating performance, Beauty and the Beast, during the ten o'clock newscast. River Blade's figure skating routine was broadcast on live television, in sub-freezing temperatures, from Kare 11's backyard.
The Hastings Raiders boys' basketball team was upset by the Burnsville Blaze 67-60 Tuesday, March 6, at Hastings High School. The third-seeded Raiders and the sixth-seeded Blaze played back-and-forth for much of the game until Burnsville was able to open up a late lead, which Hastings could not come back from. With the loss, Hastings finishes the season with a 13-14 overall record and have been bounced from the first round of section playoffs for the third year in a row.
Looking back on the Hastings Raiders boys' hockey season, their record may not be the most impressive (5-20-1 including playoffs). But head coach Adam Welch said they made great progress over the course of the winter.