Chad Richardson is the publisher and editor at the Hastings Star Gazette. He was the general manager of the Farmington Independent and Rosemount Town Pages from 2000 to 2007. He previously worked at the Star Gazette from 1996 to 2000 as a photographer and reporter. He also worked as a photographer and writer at the Pope County Tribune in Glenwood.
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Just more than a week into the season, the Hastings girls tennis team has already played 10 matches. The good news is that the Raiders have won seven of them. Two of those wins came Friday during the Hastings Invitational tournament. Hastings beat Woodbury and Eastview before falling to Rosemount. In the match against Woodbury, Hastings cruised to a 7-1 win. Hailey Lundquist won at first singles, 6-3, 6-2. She is a junior. Morgan Tjomsland won at second singles, 6-4, 6-0. She is a junior. At No. 3, Annika Peterson had little trouble, cruising to a 6-1, 6-0 win.
The first 70 minutes of the Hastings boys soccer season went about as well as could be expected. Then came a corner kick, and a positive result eluded the Raiders. Hastings ended up losing the game to Simley, 1-0. The Spartans capitalized on a corner kick with just 10 minutes left to play. Set plays like that had plagued the Raiders during a pair of scrimmages in the preseason. "It's definitely been a problem for us," coach Shane Lanning said.
The fall swimming season is under way for the Hastings girls team. So far, things look good for the Raiders, who improved their place at the annual Suburban East Conference relays by one spot as compared to last year. Hastings scored 70 points to place fifth in the meet. Stillwater won the relays with 154 points. Woodbury was second (138), Mounds View was third (112) and East Ridge was fourth (76). The Hastings swimmer of the meet was freshman Morgan McCullough, who had three personal-best times in her three events. She led off on a 400 medley relay team doing the backstroke.
So far, so good. That's the story for the Hastings volleyball team, which began its season Friday with a win in three games over St. Louis Park. Hastings won 25-10, 25-22 and 25-18. "Everything went right for us," coach Rita Girgen said. "Offensively, we took care of the ball. Defensively, we did a really good job reading things and making great plays." Girgen was able to rotate in every player on the team, a big accomplishment the Raiders savored. "That's usually something we're only able to do on senior night," Girgen said. "To start that way is really exciting.
At first glance, the 2010 version of the Hastings High School girls soccer team had what would appear to be a rough season. The Raiders were able to get just one victory last season. But that record doesn't accurately portray the kind of season it was for Hastings. The Raiders were in almost every game they played, and lost six games down the stretch, surrendering the winning goal with just a few minutes left to play. "Our record doesn't show it from last year, but we were very competitive," coach Joanne Teigland said.
John Dewall is an excitable guy. Whether it's talking about the greenhouse he oversees at Hastings High School, cross country skiing or cross country running, the guy has boundless energy. So, you have to take that into consideration when you listen to Dewall talk about the boys cross country team he has coming out this fall at HHS. Even the most reserved coach, though, would probably be energized by this year's team. "This is the best group of kids I've seen here in probably six or seven years," Dewall said. "I totally have high expectations. They are all running together.
Every August, Katie McAlpin gets excited about swimming. It's a passion she has had since she swam in the school colors for Hastings High School, and it's one that continues on as the team's head coach. This year, that excitement is well-founded. "I get excited every year, but this year it's even better," she said. "We didn't really lose a lot of swimmers from last year's team. We lost only one state-meet swimmer.
It didn't take long for the 2010 version of the Hastings Raiders football team to learn it was snakebitten. Before the season had even started, one of the team's top two running backs went down with a season-ending injury. Then, after just one play of the regular season, the second of those running backs had been hurt, he, too, with a season-ending injury. Coach Dana Strain is looking to put all that behind him and his team in 2011.
Patience is a trait that is hard to teach. When trying to teach it to a number of high school boys on a soccer team that won just two games last year, it's even harder. Just ask Shane Lanning. He's tasked this year with getting his team to exhibit more patience in the face of adversity. He thinks it's one of the keys to the season for the Hastings High School Raiders. "We have to be patient, and we have to possess the ball," Lanning said. "In the past, any time we've gotten in trouble, we've just kicked the ball up the field, or kicked it out of bounds.
Every year at this time, Hastings volleyball coach Rita Girgen is as optimistic a coach as you're going to find. This year is no different. Girgen has high hopes for her team this year. It won't be easy, as the Raiders have just three seniors and two juniors on the roster. That's not troubling her, though. Girgen knows she has a five-year starter back. She also has a four-year starter returning. Mix in some talented underclassmen, and her optimism knows no bounds. "We know we're young," Girgen said. "We're a younger team, but we have a lot of experience as a whole.