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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Last Tuesday, Max Fox shot the golf round of his life, scoring a 69 in the first round of the section tournament. Then, for a week, the Hastings High School junior had to wait for the second round of the section tournament. The wait lasted forever. Finally, on Tuesday, that second round came at Bunker Hills. Apparently, rust wasn't a factor. Fox shot a 75 in the second round and won the section tournament by two shots with a two-day total of 144. "Max was striking the ball very well today," HHS coach Pete McGinnis said.
Hastings beat Rochester Mayo Tuesday night in Austin, 6-0, to advance to the section championship game. Hastings will play either Mayo or Northfield at 5 p.m. Friday for the section title. Hastings doesn't have a loss in the tournament. Mayo and Northfield each have one loss. That means either of those teams would have to beat Hastings twice on Friday to knock the Raiders out of the double elimination tournament.
The section tennis tournament couldn't have started much better for the Hastings boys team. The Raiders beat Austin in the first round of play, 6-1. At first singles, Mike Lund won 6-4, 6-3. Non Wiwatwongthorn won at second singles, 6-1, 6-1. Ben Carlson also cruised to a win, his coming at third singles, 6-1, 6-1. Matt Lund also won. He played fourth singles and he won 6-4, 6-2. In doubles play, Adam Ernst and Josh Houska suffered a rare loss at the first spot.
Ellen Bergschneider shot a personal best score of 44 to help the Hastings Raiders earn another solid score during a meet at Highland National Golf Course. Hastings ended up with a team score of 202, thanks to solid play from Taylor Thoreson (52), Lexie Harp (53) and Hannah Hoffman (53). Also playing varsity were Jordy Klimek (55) and Sadie Karbo (61). Hastings is now preparing for the section tournament, which began this morning (Thursday) at Phalen. Friday Hastings played at the 18-hole Dakota County Invitational Friday afternoon at Emerald Greens.
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.