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 Hastings boys basketball team is back to .500, thanks to a three-game winning streak. Hastings beat Park on Tuesday, Feb. 23, to improve to 11-11 on the season with three games to play. Those three games won't be easy ones by any stretch, as the Raiders face White Bear Lake (16-7), Forest Lake (18-5) and Stillwater (17-6).
Countless hours of time spent swimming back and forth at Hastings Middle School have led to this for the Hastings swim team: the section meet. The section team title is out of reach for the Raiders, but there's still plenty on the line. Individual trips to the state tournament are up for grabs at the season's biggest meet. It begins at 3:30 p.m. today (Thursday) at the Rochester Recreation Center. Finals begin at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Hastings has two No. 1-seeded swimmers. Hastings senior Elliot Wilcox has the No. 1 seed in the 100 freestyle and Colby Smith is the No.
The Hastings gymnastics team ended its season over the weekend at the section gymnastics meet. Hastings finished with a team score of 128.35 points. "The section meet was a challenge for us as we dealt with injuries, sickness, and a tough rotation," Hastings coach Megan Latch said. "The meet started with us on beam, which is always a hard event to start on. After beam, the girls did a great job of pulling things together.
The last remnants of local government aid to the city of Hastings would be wiped out if Governor Tim Pawlenty gets his way. Last week, Pawlenty announced $250 million in added cuts to city and county government aid as part of his proposed 2010 budget plan. Those cuts would eliminate the last $130,000 of aid to Hastings. The cut, though, didn't come as a surprise to the city. "We knew this was a possibility," Hastings Mayor Paul Hicks said. The city had budgeted to use that $130,000 toward a future purchase of a fire truck. It appears as though that will be put on hold.
Hastings jumped out to a 3-0 lead, watched as Park cut the lead to a goal at 3-2, and then pulled away down the stretch for a 5-2 win over the Wolfpack Thursday. Hastings got three goals and an assist from junior Austin Nelson to lead the charge. Nelson scored his first goal at 1:47 of the first period, assisted by Cole Claussen and Eric Kasel.
For most swimmers on the Hastings boys team, this week was a welcome relief. On Friday of last week, most of the members of the team began their tapering process to prepare for the section meet. That process brings with it a gradual reduction in the amount of swimming they do every day at practice. It was a welcome relief for the members of the team, who have been hit hard with morning practices, afternoon practices and meets. Now, just two meets remain on the schedule for the varsity swimmers -- the section meet, and the state meet. Sections begins Thursday, Feb. 25, in Rochester.
Last season, the Hastings girls hockey team finished with six wins. This year's team just concluded its season with a 16-8-3 record, a significant improvement from the 2008-09 season. But Hastings will be stuck thinking about the one that got away for much of the upcoming offseason. Saturday night in the section semifinals, Hastings lost to the Burnsville Blaze, 6-4. The game was 2-2 heading into the third period. "When you play a good team like Burnsville, you're not allowed to make many mistakes," Hastings coach Jeff Corkish said.
A broom provided Tim O'Brien's start in the automobile business. As a 12-year-old, he'd tag along with his father, Joe, to Midway Chevrolet on Saturdays to sweep the garage room floor.
Hastings had one of the best teams in the Suburban East Conference, Woodbury, on the ropes Thursday night. Late into the second period, Hastings held a 4-1 lead. But with just 34 seconds to play in the second period, Woodbury scored a big goal, giving them all kinds of momentum heading into the third period. The Royals then scored three unanswered goals in the third period and won, 5-4. Hastings coach Russ Welch was thrilled his team had taken the three-goal lead against the Royals.
Heading into a very challenging three-game stretch on the schedule, Hastings boys basketball coach Chad Feikema was optimistic. He wasn't necessarily thinking Hastings would beat Forest Lake, Stillwater or Cretin-Derham Hall, but he knew his team had a great chance to learn a lot against three very good teams. After a bumpy four-game losing streak, Hastings took on Woodbury here Tuesday night and won handily, 67-42. Hastings took a 32-15 halftime lead and didn't look back. Hastings had a very balanced attack, with senior Shane Monjeau leading the way for the Raiders.