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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While the season ended Tuesday afternoon for the Hastings boys golf team, two Hastings players are poised to make a run at the state tournament. Max Fox and Alex Wagner will both play Tuesday at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids for a chance to golf at the state meet. For Fox, opportunity is ripe. He is the section leader after shooting a career best 69 Tuesday at Keller. Wagner shot a 79 and had the 14th best score.
Well, it is crunch time for the Hastings softball team. On Thursday of last week, the regular season ended for the Raiders. It was certainly a success. Hastings finished with an 18-2 record, was crowned the Suburban East Conference champions, and the Raiders earned the No. 1 seed in Section 1AAA. It's that last detail, about the section tournament, that means the most to Hastings right now. The Raiders desperately want to get back to the state tournament and notch some wins this year.
Carlin Bunting did it. The Hastings senior wanted a matching pair. Thursday, she got it. Heading into this season, Bunting already owned the school's triple jump record. She had her eyes set on the 20-year-old long jump record. Mission accomplished. Bunting jumped 17 feet, 4 inches at a meet in Cottage Grove and broke the record set by Debbie Groth (17-1 1/2) 20 years ago. Hastings coach Greg Sandkamp was there for both. "I've been here a long time, I guess," he said with a laugh. "I saw Debbie do that at the same jumping pit 20 years earlier.
Hastings High School wrestling coach Paul Vaith announced last week he would be stepping away as the head coach. For Vaith, the time had simply come. "The timing is just right," he said. "I've done it for 31 years. Twenty-three here, and 19 as head coach. It has been a wonderful time professionally, Personally, it has been fun. But it's time for me to step back and enjoy the things that my sons, daughters and grandchildren are going to be doing." Vaith's youngest son, Mark, is in fifth grade and wrestles.
It was 10 years ago Hastings won the state baseball championship. The route to the state tournament was highlighted with a pair of big wins over Cretin-Derham Hall at the section tournament. So, as the Raiders planned a tribute to that team, the natural opponent to schedule was Cretin-Derham Hall, now a conference foe. Cretin, though, exacted some revenge Friday night. Cretin won, 11-1, in five innings. Still, the tribute to the 1999 team went off well, as did youth night, despite the rain. "It was nice to honor the '99 team on this night," coach Paul Hartmann said.
In what was treated as a tune-up for this week's Suburban East Conference track and field championships, the Hastings High School boys team finished third out of five teams. The Raiders competed at Park Thursday. This week, they're back in Cottage Grove for the conference meet. It began Tuesday and continues with finals Thursday. The Raiders finished last week's meet with 210.5 points. Park won the meet with 285, and Woodbury was second with 274.5.
Jenelle Trautmann threw a perfect game and Hastings beat Rochester Century in the first round of the Section 1AAA softball tournament in Austin Wednesday night. Hastings won, 3-0. Trautmann struck out 12 batters. She didn't allow a hit, didn't walk a batter and there were no errors in the field for the Raiders. Hastings will face Owatonna in the second round of the double-elimination tournament. That game will be played at 7 p.m. Friday in Austin at Todd Park. Hastings is 19-2 on the season.
The Hastings softball team begins play tonight in the Section 1AAA softball tournament in Austin. The Raiders are the section's No. 1 seeded team. They have a record of 18-2 on the season. Hastings will play tonight at 7 p.m. at Todd Park in Austin. The Raiders will face either Faribault or Rochester Century. Faribault is the No. 8 seed. Century is the No. 9. Those two teams play each other at 5 p.m. tonight. If Hastings wins tonight, they'll play again at 7 p.m. Friday. If they lose tonight, they'll play again at 5 p.m. Friday. Rochester Mayo is the No. 2 seeded team in the section.
Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom will be publicly reprimanded and fined $900 for sending an e-mail to the county coroner in which he "threatened" her continued employment. Last week, the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility ruled in the case, which stems from a November e-mail Backstrom sent to Dakota County Medical Examiner Lindsey Thomas. Backstrom wrote in the e-mail to Thomas that he was not in favor of the county's medical examiners testifying for defense witnesses.
Last year, Hastings placed sixth out of seven teams at the section True Team meet. This year, the Raiders placed fifth out of eight teams. It's the kind of steady improvement Hastings coach Greg Sandkamp is looking for out of his team. "One of our goals is always to get a little bit better each time you compete," Sandkamp said. "We're looking pretty good, really, with the small bunch of girls we have." Hastings has just more than 30 athletes out for the team, but the Raiders haven't been using that as an excuse.