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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The goal all season long for the Hastings cross country teams has been to improve and be at their best come the section meet. Today, Thursday, Hastings will find out whether or not it has achieved that goal. The boys and girls teams run today at Brooktree Golf Course in Owatonna for a chance to compete at the state meet.
Friday night's football game against Woodbury is another one of those that can be boiled down to a few key plays at a few key moments. Unfortunately for Hastings, it was the Royals who made those key plays and, in the end, they won, 35-26. Woodbury got on the board first, but Hastings countered with a 13-yard touchdown from Aaron Stoneberg to Ellis Williams. The kick was wide, and Hastings trailed 7-6. Three minutes later, Woodbury scored and took a 14-6 lead. Hastings moved the ball well in the second quarter, going on a long drive right before the end of the first half.
Competitive dual meets in swimming these days are few and far between for the Hastings Raiders. Hastings either beats up on programs that are down or gets beaten by teams that have three times the swimmers out for the sport. So, when competitive meets come around, they're given extra special attention. Case in point? Last week's meet against Mounds View. Unfortunately, the Mustangs ended up winning it, 89-81. "It was a tough meet," Hastings coach Katie McAlpin said. "The entire meet came down to one relay. We took a chance and it didn't come through for us.
The Hastings boys cross country team placed eighth at the Ev Berg Invitational in Owatonna on Oct. 7. The Raiders finished with 208 points. Rosemount won the race with 24. Owatonna was second and Rochester Mayo was third. Running varsity for Hastings were: Zack Benning, ninth, 17:31.2; Colby Smith, 35th, 17:37.4; Joseph Rabaey, 39th, 17:43.8; Riley Tarrant, 50th, 18:11.9; Christian Weiland, 54th, 18:18.3; Lucas Human, 60th, 18:31.1; and Mohamed Osman, 68th, 18:48.3. "Joe is pushing Colby every meet," Hastings coach John Dewall said.
Throughout training camp this fall, Derek Stepan wasn't even sure if he'd make the roster for the National Hockey League's New York Rangers. At just 20 years old, he figured he'd have to cut his teeth playing in the Rangers' farm system before getting a call to play his first NHL game. His mother, Trish Coakley, figured she'd have to wait to see her son's first NHL game, so she didn't bother buying a plane ticket to Buffalo to see the season opener on Oct. 9. That meant that when Stepan called her with the good news that he had made the team, she was left scrambling to get to the game.
Record-wise, it hasn't been the best of seasons for the Hastings girls volleyball team, but the Raiders are at least going into the post-season on a bit of a roll. Hastings swept Park of Cottage Grove Thursday night in Hastings, rolling to 25-22, 25-15 and 25-19 wins. It was the Raiders' first Suburban East Conference win of the season. Hastings is now 3-20-2 on the year. It was senior night, and coach Rita Girgen was thrilled to watch as the upperclassmen excelled. "Our seniors really stepped up," she said.
Errands had to be run, so Kenneth and Dorothy Reese left their nice home on Eighth Street in Hastings, drove out Highway 55 and walked into Walmart. The day was like many others. They walked hand-in-hand as they approached the store and were eventually stopped by a kind woman. "It's so nice to see a couple like you guys holding hands," the kind woman said. Ask the Reeses, and they'll tell you it's that kind of little stuff that makes marriage work for them. It's a recipe that has held up well over the years.
The season ended Tuesday night in Apple Valley for the Hastings boys soccer team with a 10-0 loss to the state's No. 1 ranked team in the first round of the section tournament. Hastings finishes the season with a 2-15 record. Vs WBL Hastings lost to White Bear Lake on Thursday, 1-0. Despite the result, coach Shane Lanning was encouraged by what he saw from his team. "Overall, it was a pretty good game," he said. "It was, in my opinion, the best game we've played all-around. One of the things I liked about that game was the accountability factor.
In three plays, the Forest Lake Rangers covered 56 yards, scored a touchdown and took a 6-0 lead. Just five minutes had been played in Friday's homecoming game here in Hastings, and things didn't look good for the blue and gold. It didn't take long, though, for the outlook to change. Hastings scored seven minutes later and took a 7-6 lead when Aaron Stoneberg completed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Matt Anderson, and Dylan Nelson converted on the kick. Forest Lake countered with a score, but the Raiders marched down the field and set up a first-and-goal from the Rangers' four yard line.
If you talk to Hastings girls soccer coach Joanne Teigland for a few minutes this week, you'll be left with the impression that the Hastings girls soccer season couldn't have gone any better than it did. She talks about teamwork, about positivity, about the leaders on her team, about the character of the girls. She talks about how fun the season was. You'd never know the team finished its season Tuesday with a 5-0 loss and that their record for the season was 1-12-1. "In my 19 years of coaching, I've had one other team like this," Teigland said.