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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There's nothing like a 3-mile race through streams and mud to kick off the season. For the Hastings Raiders cross country teams, that's exactly what they faced last week in River Falls at the annual extreme meet held there. The long course and wild conditions showed Hastings coach John Dewall one very important thing: just how fit his athletes are, or aren't. "You can't fake being out-of-shape in a race like that," Dewall said. "It is the toughest race of the year. There is no doubt. You're running through water. You have wet shoes.
When the Hastings girls swim team takes to the pool deck this fall, there will be plenty of room left for the opposing team. Hastings graduated a big senior class and will have 21 swimmers on the team this fall. Stillwater, meanwhile, will have many times that. "You look at Stillwater, they have five times as many kids as we do," Hastings coach Katie McAlpin said. "We just can't beat them. We don't have enough people. But I've never been one of those people who is like, 'We have to win this meet.' I'm always looking at, 'What did we get out of it?
This year's Hastings High School girls tennis team will look a lot like last year's. And that's a good thing. All 10 of Hastings' top players from last fall's very competitive team return this year. "They were good last year, and we have another year of experience," Hastings coach Craig Raway said. "It's going to be fun. Everyone worked really hard this summer to be sure we have a good year. The captains were instrumental in making sure everyone played during the summer." Last year's team advanced in the section tournament before falling to Rochester Mayo in the quarterfinals.
This time of year, as football fans begin forecasting how their favorite teams will fare in 2010, one key stat is used: How many returning starters does their team have? By that measure, there will likely be many other teams in the Suburban East Conference that will have a leg up on the Hastings High School team. The Raiders return a total of eight starters. That leaves 14 spots that will be filled by newcomers, and the field of those newcomers is smaller than normal for the Raiders.
Balance. For Hastings coach Rita Girgen, that word will have all kinds of meaning, and all kinds of importance, for her 2010 Hastings girls volleyball team. "We definitely lost some key players from last year, but we have had players totally step up so far," Girgen said. "Those players who have moved on to college have set the standard. They've encouraged the kids who are coming back, and they're running with it. "We are very deep this year. This year, we don't just have one go-to player. We're going to have four go-to players.
New faces are the norm this fall for Hastings cross country coach John Dewall. The longtime Hastings coach saw the graduation last summer of many decorated runners for both the girls and the boys, leaving him looking high and low this fall for enough athletes to field competitive teams for the boys and the girls. The good news? He's found some runners. The boys and the girls are not deep, but berths in the state meet are certainly possible for at least a few boys and girls. "We have a lot of new kids this fall," Dewall said.
As the Hastings boys soccer team takes the field this fall, they are being led by their third coach in as many seasons. Thankfully for many of the players, their new coach is anything but a new face. Shane Lanning, a HHS graduate, returns to his alma mater to lead the Raiders. Lanning knows well what the team is facing. As a high school student here, he had three coaches in four years. If there's one thing that will help the Raiders get through the transition, it will be attitude, Lanning said. "Attitude is key for me," he said.
It's a whole new year, a whole new team, a whole new season and a fresh start for the Hastings girls soccer team. Head coach Joanne Teigland is determined to make this season a fun one and one in which the Raiders are more successful. "The whole team is awesome," Teigland said. "I love my team. I'm so excited. They busted their butts at tryouts. They worked so hard. They are upbeat, too. "A big thing for us this season is coming together as a team. There's a lot of skilled players, and the kids in the younger classes really understand the game.
Four major changes are planned for this fall and next year at the Hastings Country Club. Starting Sept. 1 the club, fighting a downturn in the economy and in the golf industry, has dramatically cut rates for members, opened its restaurant to the public, offered tee times to the public every day and come up with a new golf-only option for members. "It's just a reflection of the economy and the golf industry in general," said club president Nick Conzemius. "This is just something we have to take a look at. The golf industry is struggling.
The fall sports season is officially under way at Hastings High School. The girls tennis team from Hastings kicked things off over the weekend, traveling to Duluth for a tournament organized by Duluth East. Hastings won two close matches and lost one. Vs Duluth East Hastings began the tournament with a 4-3 win over Duluth East. Results went like this: At first singles, Duluth's Qwong Suthijindawong defeated Lindsey Reinisch of Hastings, 6-0, 6-0 At second singles, Duluth's Annie Mahoney won over Kirsten Peterson, 6-4, 6-1. At the third spot, Hastings' Morgan Tjomsland won over Carolin