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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For most swimmers on the Hastings boys team, this week was a welcome relief. On Friday of last week, most of the members of the team began their tapering process to prepare for the section meet. That process brings with it a gradual reduction in the amount of swimming they do every day at practice. It was a welcome relief for the members of the team, who have been hit hard with morning practices, afternoon practices and meets. Now, just two meets remain on the schedule for the varsity swimmers -- the section meet, and the state meet. Sections begins Thursday, Feb. 25, in Rochester.
Last season, the Hastings girls hockey team finished with six wins. This year's team just concluded its season with a 16-8-3 record, a significant improvement from the 2008-09 season. But Hastings will be stuck thinking about the one that got away for much of the upcoming offseason. Saturday night in the section semifinals, Hastings lost to the Burnsville Blaze, 6-4. The game was 2-2 heading into the third period. "When you play a good team like Burnsville, you're not allowed to make many mistakes," Hastings coach Jeff Corkish said.
A broom provided Tim O'Brien's start in the automobile business. As a 12-year-old, he'd tag along with his father, Joe, to Midway Chevrolet on Saturdays to sweep the garage room floor.
Hastings had one of the best teams in the Suburban East Conference, Woodbury, on the ropes Thursday night. Late into the second period, Hastings held a 4-1 lead. But with just 34 seconds to play in the second period, Woodbury scored a big goal, giving them all kinds of momentum heading into the third period. The Royals then scored three unanswered goals in the third period and won, 5-4. Hastings coach Russ Welch was thrilled his team had taken the three-goal lead against the Royals.
Heading into a very challenging three-game stretch on the schedule, Hastings boys basketball coach Chad Feikema was optimistic. He wasn't necessarily thinking Hastings would beat Forest Lake, Stillwater or Cretin-Derham Hall, but he knew his team had a great chance to learn a lot against three very good teams. After a bumpy four-game losing streak, Hastings took on Woodbury here Tuesday night and won handily, 67-42. Hastings took a 32-15 halftime lead and didn't look back. Hastings had a very balanced attack, with senior Shane Monjeau leading the way for the Raiders.
The Hastings boys swimming team handily won another Suburban East Conference dual meet last week. The Raiders beat Roseville, 90.5-74.5. At one point, Hastings led 90.5-49.5 before swimming exhibition only in the final two events. Good swims were turned in by Hastings athletes all night long, including two lifetime bests by Tony Ring.
The Hastings girls hockey team begins play in the section tournament Wednesday night against South Washington County. Hastings is the No. 2 seed in Section 3AA. South Washington County (Woodbury and East Ridge) is the No. 7 seed. The game is at 7:15 p.m. at the Hastings Civic Arena. Should the Raiders win, they will play at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13 at Veterans Memorial Community Center in Inver Grove Heights against either Burnsville (the No. 3 seed) or Eastview (the No. 6). Eagan is the section's No. 1 seed.
Hastings jumped out to a quick lead and never looked back in a 89-73 win over Park last week. The Raiders actually led 89-35 late in the meet before swimming exhibition only in the final three events. Despite the lopsided win, there were a number of close races, which was exactly what Hastings coach Gerry Rupp was hoping for heading into the meet. "Our whole intent of the meet was to create some races," Rupp said. "I manipulated my personnel in order to do that.
The Hastings girls Alpine ski team came within a point of qualifying for the state meet next week. Hastings was edged out of the qualifying spot by Minnehaha Academy, which finished with 343 points. Hastings had 342. The girls will have three individual skiers at the event. Kelly Pechous, Gabriella Sorg and Lane Manke all qualified. On the boys side, Matt Hoffman qualified for the Raiders.
Hastings High School senior Wyatt Behrends was again the story for the Hastings Nordic ski team. On Tuesday at Valleywood Golf Course in Apple Valley, Behrends placed sixth in the Section 1 championships to earn another trip to the state meet. In the morning's Classic race, Behrends finished the 5K course in 18 minutes, 48 seconds, the sixth-fastest time of the morning. In the afternoon's 5K freestyle race, he finished in 16:48.86. His combined time was 35.36.9. Andy Dodds of Apple Valley won the section meet with a time of 34:01.2.