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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It would have been impossible for Tuesday night's football game to start any better for the Hastings Raiders. And it would have been impossible for it to end any worse. First, the good: Hastings senior Dan Guelle took the opening kickoff back for a 95-yard touchdown. Just 17 seconds into the game, Hastings led 7-0 after an extra point by Tom Ling. Hastings kicked off to Eagan and on their first play from scrimmage, Wildcat running back Zach Zenner ran 51 yards for a touchdown. The Hastings lead held for just 19 seconds.
The Hastings volleyball team opened section tournament play with a win Wednesday night against Winona at HHS. Hastings won in three games, 25-17, 25-23, 25-19. The Raiders will now face Farmington Friday night. The match begins at 7 p.m. at FHS. Hastings has the No. 7 seed. Farmington is the No. 2 seed.
The Hastings boys football team plays against Eagan in the first round of the section tournament Tuesday, Oct. 27. The game will be held at St. Thomas Academy, because of poor field conditions in Eagan. The Wildcats have the No. 4 seed in the section. Hastings has the No. 5 seed. The Wildcats had a 3-4 record entering their game Wednesday night. Hastings has a 3-5 record. The section's No. 1 seed is Cretin. If the Raiders win, they will play at Cretin Saturday, Oct. 31. As for the Wildcats, they should be celebrating the return of their heralded quarterback, junior Jameson Parsons.
For the second week in a row, the Hastings boys football team entered the locker room at halftime facing a big deficit. Two weeks ago, the Raiders were able to rally for a thrilling come-from-behind win over Roseville. Last week, though, Hastings wasn't able to do that. The Raiders fell behind to Forest Lake, 32-0, and ended up losing 44-13. The Rangers entered the game with a 1-4 record. Hastings, meanwhile, came in with a 3-2 mark. The records, though, were somewhat deceiving.
With the score tied 1-1 at the half at Saturday's game against Henry Sibley, the Hastings girls soccer team honored longtime HYAA soccer organizer Jim Collins. Collins said a few words to the team before they took to the field for the second half. Whatever he said must have worked. Hastings came out, scored two more goals and ended up beating Sibley, 3-1. "I don't know if (his speech) was what fired them up, but we can give him the credit," Hastings coach Joanne Teigland said. The win was Hastings' second of the season.
After 10 tough losses, the Hastings boys soccer team has notched a win. The Raiders beat Henry Sibley Saturday night, 3-1. "It was long overdue," first-year Hastings coach Marshall Morehead said. "I was ecstatic." Until Saturday night, Hastings had been outscored in its games 35-4. That said, there were five games toward the beginning of the season that really could have gone either way, and most were one-goal losses.
For days leading up to Thursday's swimming meet against Woodbury, Hastings coach Katie McAlpin and her assistant, Gerry Rupp, pondered their lineup. Hours were spent pouring over the lineup, trying to figure out what combination of swimmers could defeat the Royals. Defeating the Royals, you see, is something Hastings hadn't done in 13 years. Consider that streak over. McAlpin and Rupp came up with the right combination, the Hastings swimmers had personal bests, and the Raiders cruised to a 95-73 win. At one point, Hastings led 95-61. "It was weird," McAlpin said.
For the first time since Hastings and Roseville started competing against one another in the Suburban East Conference, Hastings came out on the right end of a volleyball match. Last week, Hastings beat Roseville in four games, 19-25, 25-22, 25-23 and 26-24. "That was a huge win for us," Hastings coach Rita Girgen said. "We just played really well. We were scrappy. Nothing was hitting the floor. We made really smart choices. As a whole, we just played really strong together." Elly Braaten had another great night for the Raiders.
Now that's a homecoming game! The Hastings football team rallied in the rain from a 20-0 third-quarter deficit to beat Roseville Friday night, 27-20. The game certainly didn't start well for Hastings, as the Raiders surrendered 13 first-quarter points. At halftime, down 13-0, Hastings coach Dana Strain simply said he was "not very pleased." And things just got worse. Less than four minutes into the third quarter, Roseville scored again to take a 20-0 lead. It didn't look good. "We weren't very happy at halftime," Strain said.
A big indicator for how a high school swimming meet will go is the first event, the 200 medley relay. If one team can have its swimmers place first and second in the race, you can pretty much bet that team will win. Placing first and second in that event shows your team has depth in all four strokes. So, when Hastings swimmers placed first, second and third in the medley relay against White Bear Lake on Thursday, it was a pretty clear indication the Raiders were the superior team. That held up throughout the meet, and Hastings cruised to an 89-79 win over the Bears.