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 auditorium at Hastings High School is one other schools envy. It's large, up-to-date with technology and the sound is phenomenal. That said, very little of it will be used for the next production of the school's theater department. Moominvalley in November, which runs this weekend, is "in the round." The entire play is set in a small space on the stage. Surrounding that small space are seats for audience members. It's an intimate setting for an intimate play. "I really like that both the actors and the audience are on stage together," said Lewis Youngren, one of the cast members.
A very good season for the Hastings girls tennis team came to an end last week during the sub-section tournament. The Raiders had been eliminated from team play the previous week by Rochester Mayo. In the sub-section individual tournament, Mayo again spoiled the party for the Raiders. Getting placed into the sub-section tournament with Mayo is anything but good news for section opponents. The Spartans have one of the top programs in the state. "That's the second straight year we've been in their sub-section," Hastings coach Craig Raway said. "That's a tough draw.
Going into this season, Hastings football coach Dana Strain talked about how staying healthy was going to be a key factor for the 2010 version of the Hastings Raiders football team. He was right. Just more than 40 HHS students came out for the team and it didn't take long for that number to shrink. On the season's first play from scrimmage, the team's starting running back broke his collarbone.
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.