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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Hastings native Stacey (Tims) Morgan died tragically last Thursday morning. The 33-year-old Morgan was running with her daughter, Zoe, in Oakdale when she was hit from behind by a 16-year-old driver. Zoe was not injured. "We can't understand this," said Morgan's father, Rich, of Hastings. "We've never had anything harder. We don't know how to deal with it, really." Around 7:45 a.m. Sept. 17, Morgan buckled Zoe into a car seat, then put the car seat into a stroller and took off for a jog. She was training to be part of a roller derby.
Rita Girgen is one happy coach these days. Her Hastings Raiders volleyball team just came off a great weekend of play, and she's left feeling encouraged about how the rest of the 2009 season looks. So, what is she happy about? Hastings traveled to Apple Valley for the Aerie Invitational Friday and Saturday. The Raiders lost their opening round match to Apple Valley, the No. 9-ranked team in Class AAA, 20-25 and 14-25. The Raiders then went on to win three close matches against three good teams. "It was awesome," Girgen said. "We held our own against Apple Valley.
The Hastings girls soccer team notched its first win of the season last week, beating Farmington, 1-0, Sept. 8. The game's lone goal came in the second half when junior Courtney Boucher was tripped inside the box. Hastings was awarded a penalty kick, and Whitney Vought buried the ball to give the Raiders the lead. "I saw some good things in that game," Hastings coach Joanne Teigland said. "It's there. We're just so close." Teigland said through the Farmington game she saw spurts of very good play.
Dewey Minnaert would be proud. In the annual invitational here that bears his name, the Hastings High School girls cross country team were winners. The Raider girls finished first out of nine teams with 43 points. Wayzata was second with 57 and Woodbury third with 76. Minnaert coached Hastings for years, and had numerous strong seasons and strong athletes pass through the program during his tenure. Success was no stranger. It appears success will be found by this year's team, too. "To beat Wayzata, that's pretty tough," Hastings coach John Dewall said. "It was a phenomenal race.
High school swimming meets don't get any closer than the one last week between Hastings and Cretin-Derham Hall. The meet came down to the final event, the 400 freestyle relay. Hastings had to win the relay to win the meet, but that was going to be a tall task. In the end, the Raiders swam a time fast enough to quality for the state meet (not bad considering it was the first dual meet of the season), but it wasn't enough to get past Cretin-Derham Hall. Their relay finished in 3 minutes, 41.78 seconds.
One of the best seasons in Hastings Hawks history came to a crazy ending Sept. 6 in Gaylord. Hastings advanced to the state's final four teams before getting knocked out of the tournament following a 9-8 16-inning loss to Sauk Rapids. Hastings took a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning on a single by Jared Powell that scored Pat Kelly. Sauk Rapids tied the score in the bottom of the fifth. Hastings answered with a single run in the top of the sixth.
It wasn't perfect. Hastings didn't dominate. Hastings didn't put East Ridge away when they had the chance. But in the end, it counts for just as much. It was, after all, a win. Hastings beat the new East Ridge Raptors Friday night at McNamara Stadium at Todd Field, 14-12. "We're excited we got a win," coach Dana Strain said. "Defensively, I thought we played well. Offensively, we played well, but we had a hard time finishing drives. If we can clean that up, we like the direction we are headed in." East Ridge took the lead in the second quarter on a short touchdown run.
The cup on the 15th hole at Majestic Oaks Golf Club sat behind a mound when Joe Balsanek teed off Aug. 13. It was 134 yards away, and Balsanek grabbed his 7-iron. His son-in-law was with him. It was a nice day, and Balsanek was doing what he can't get enough of. Backswing. Contact. And off flew the little dimpled ball. It went behind the mound. Probably landed on the green, Balsanek figured. He was right. The sun had set. It was getting dark fast, as it always does here in November. Joe Balsanek was on the 17th hole at Bellwood Oaks.
Experience. Composure. Maturity. Those were the three words Hastings High School volleyball coach Rita Girgen used to describe her team after their first match. The match was a loss to Farmington, but Girgen was encouraged by what she saw, to say the least. The Tigers took it to the Raiders in the first two games, 12-25 and 12-25. But Hastings rallied back to win the third game, 25-23, before falling in the fourth game, 26-28. "Years ago, if we would have lost two games like that, we would have just crumbled," Girgen said. "These girls know we can do it.
It has been a busy start to the season for the Hastings High School girls tennis team. The Raiders played in two out-of-town invitationals, one Aug. 22 in Duluth and the second Aug. 26 in Lakeville. Hastings finished in third at the Lakeville tournament, and the Raiders finished the two tournaments with a 3-3 record. Lakeville tournament Hastings defeated Armstrong in the first round of a tournament in Lakeville on Aug. 26, 4-2. Shanna Burgmeier won at first singles, 7-6 (4), 6-4. Lindsey Reinisch and her Armstrong opponent had their match stopped after Hastings secured the fourth win.