Chad Richardson has been the general manager and editor at the Hastings Star Gazette since 2007. 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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Heather Russell of Hastings spends her life in a battle against her body. She wants it to do one thing. It wants to do another. And every day, her body wins. Whether she wants to open a can of pop, or tie her shoelaces, she needs help. Try as she might, her fingers don't listen to her anymore. They ball themselves up into a fist. Minutes later, one will pop free and she'll have control. The muscles in her neck do to the same thing, contracting on their own schedule. This is 25-year-old Heather Russell's life with dystonia. "I call it 'the beast,'" she said.
After starting the season off with an impressive 12-2-2 record, the Hastings girls hockey team has hit a bit of a rough patch lately. Hastings is 0-3-1 in its last four games. On Friday, one of those losses came against Forest Lake. Hastings lost 4-0 in a game where Hastings actually held a shots-on-goal advantage of 30-24. "That was a tough one," Hastings coach Jeff Corkish said. "We thought our kids worked hard. We just made some errors that led to their goals. I think we played hard. It was just a bunch of bounces.
Hastings High School senior Wyatt Behrends made it clear Monday he is one of the Suburban East Conference's top Nordic skiers. At the White Bear Lake Martin Luther King Invitational, Behrends placed second overall. Behrends was in third place after the Classic leg of the race with a time of 14 minutes, 17.4 seconds.
The Hastings gymnastics team again topped its own season-high score last week. In the team's first home meet of the season Wednesday, Hastings scored 134.925 points. The Raiders lost to White Bear Lake in the dual meet. The Bears finished with 138.225 points. "We were extremely happy with the score," Hastings coach Megan Latch said. "It was another great meet. All around, we just had good performances. Everybody had a good night." Hastings was led by its lone senior, Michelle Willis. She won the all-around with a four-event total of 35.05 points, including a pair of 9s.
Hastings boys hockey coach Russ Welch knew two games last week were important ones for the Hastings Raiders. Hastings had a 6-7 record heading into the week, and could have secured a spot in the top half of the Suburban East Conference with wins over Forest Lake and Stillwater. But Hastings ended up losing both games and slipped to 6-9 on the season. Worse for Welch was how Hastings lost.
The Hastings wrestling team continues to face the state's best teams at weekend tournaments. Last weekend, Hastings was at St. Cloud Tech for the Kiffmeyer Duals. Hastings finished fourth out of eight teams. St. Michael-Albertville, the No. 2 ranked team in Class 3A finished first. Foley, ranked second in Class 2A, finished second. Cambridge, ranked third in 3A, placed third. Hastings, the fifth-ranked team in 3A, opened the tournament with a match against Albert Lea. The Tigers are No. 6 in 3A. Hastings won, 36-29. "We just had a great match," Hastings coach Justin Hahn said.
Four races into the season, the Hastings Alpine ski teams have their seasons well under way. So far, Hastings coach Jim Peine likes what he is seeing. The Hastings girls team is second in the conference rankings and the boys team is third. Girls The Hastings girls are led by senior Kelly Pechous, who Peine said "is usually in the top two or three every meet." Lane Manke is "usually in the top five as well, every meet," Peine said. Manke is a junior. Another junior, Alyssa Gerlach, is faring well.
For the first 14 minutes of Friday's girls basketball game against Roseville, it was an even matchup. Hastings was in it. But that changed with just a few minutes to play in the first half. Roseville went on a run to close out the half and led by 13 at 29-16. Nothing prepared Hastings, though, for how the second half started. Roseville went on a 24-0 run to begin the second half. They went on to win, 65-24. "For the first 14 minutes of the first half, we played extremely well," Hastings coach Mike Harp said. "That game was even. Then we let the lead get away from us.
A new boys basketball rivalry was born last Tuesday night. Hastings ended up winning the first round, beating East Ridge 79-63 in a physical, hard-fought and technical-foul filled game. "It was like we had been rivals for 30 years," Hastings coach Chad Feikema said. "It was a really physical game. I think part of (East Ridge's) plan was to try to be physical with Nick (Gmiterko) and Shane (Monjeau) and take them out of the game and get them frustrated. It maybe went a little too far.
A 3-1 win over Park on Tuesday night helped the Hastings girls hockey team earn a statewide ranking this week. The Raiders picked up the state's No. 11 ranking in Class 2A after the win over the Wolfpack. At the time, Hastings had a 12-2-2 record. The game at Cottage Grove was tight throughout. Courtney Boucher scored shorthanded for Hastings at 8:33 of the first period, unassisted, to open the scoring. "She did a terrific job of just battling in front of the net, just not wanting to be denied," Hastings coach Jeff Corkish said.