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 news just keeps getting better for the Hastings High School softball team. Over the weekend, the Raiders beat the state's No. 1-ranked team during a tournament in North St. Paul. That win has moved the Raiders up the rankings into the No. 1 spot. "It's crazy," HHS coach Dean Robinson said. "There's no place I'd rather be right now. It's just incredible. It proves what hard work does. The girls know what it takes to get to the places they want to go. The last three or four years, they've been battling and getting better.
The Hastings boys and girls track teams took a road trip to Irondale for a unique Friday night meet. Hastings placed sixth at the meet. "We were hoping to finish in the middle of the pack," Hastings girls coach Greg Sandkamp said. "There were some really good teams there." The meet combines the boys and girls events, and all the results are put together for one team score. "Our kids really love this meet," Sandkamp said.
One year ago, the Hastings boys tennis team lost to Cretin-Derham Hall in a Suburban East Conference match, 1-6. "We thought that was our worst match last year," Hastings coach Mick Willette said. This year, things were much different.
David Vogelgesang sure knows how to snap a losing streak. The Hastings High School senior threw a no-hitter against White Bear Lake Friday and the Raiders won, 11-2. The team had started 0-4 on the season. "That was a big day for our kids," Hastings coach Paul Hartmann said. "David came out and pitched really well. We had a tough week. It just seemed like we took out all the frustration from our previous four games on White Bear Lake on Friday." Vogelgesang got into some trouble in the first inning when he walked the first two batters and threw a wild pitch.
Regular season golf meets don't get much bigger than the one the Hastings Raiders played in over the weekend. In the two-day, 24-team Tri-State Invitational, featuring some of the top teams from Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota, Hastings had two golfers place in the top 17. Alex Wagner, a Hastings High School sophomore, placed sixth overall with a two-day total of 147. Par was 142.
Talk about a nice start! How does 5-0 sound? And talk about a wild finish! How does a two-run rally in the bottom of the 10th sound? Yes, it was quite a week indeed for the Hastings softball team. The Raiders improved to 5-0 overall with three wins in seven days, including Monday's extra-inning affair against Park. The score was 0-0 in the 10th, and Park came up to bat in the top half of the inning. They scored one run, so it was do or die time for the Raiders. Linnea Haler led off the inning with a walk. Shawna Middleton hit a ball over the shortstop's head.
Encouraging signs were all over the place Thursday for the Hastings High School boys track team. The Raiders won five events at a meet in Cottage Grove, their first outdoor action of the season. Kyle Francis won the pole vault, clearing 12-6. "That's a good early start for him," HHS coach Jason Koch said. "Last year he went 13-6. We got some new poles for him this year. Hopefully he can take it up a little higher and get up to 14 feet, at least, this year and get a trip to state." Dan Guelle had a great day on the track and in the field events.
The 2009 spring season isn't off to the best of starts for the Hastings High School baseball team, but Raiders coach Paul Hartmann still has high hopes for the team. He's encouraged by what he saw from his team in a close 7-6 loss to Forest Lake April 9. The Raiders fell behind 5-0 to Forest Lake before battling back. "We got off to a poor start," Hartmann said, "but our guys did a very nice job of battling back. Our guys really showed a lot of heart. They showed some resilience.
Heading into the Hastings golf season, it looks like the boys high school team should have a great season. And, if what Alex Wagner did a couple weeks ago is any indication, those high hopes are realistic. Wagner had a hole-in-one during tryouts at Bellwood Oaks. He aced the fourth hole using a pitching wedge. Not a bad way to secure a spot on the varsity roster, eh? More good stuff: Shea Sajevic, Hastings, is a first baseman on the Augsburg College baseball team.
New Hastings boys track coach Jason Koch should have plenty of credibility with members of his team. The Hastings High School biology and chemistry teacher is just a few years removed from a very successful collegiate track and football career at St. Cloud State University. Koch owns a school record at SCSU and was a decathlete. Koch spent last season as an assistant to Joe Haas. When Haas accepted the position of athletics director at Delano, Koch went for the Hastings job and landed it. "It's something I've always wanted to do," he said. "I've always wanted to be a head track coach.