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Top Sports Stories of 2018

Nick Dittrich qualified for his third state golf meet last summer and took 20th. He also recently just announced he is joining the Bemidji State University Beavers men's golf team. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 8
Sydney Radke and Addie Buck were recognized by Rep. Tony Jurgens for helping to save the life of a man who collapsed in his driveway while clearing snow. Photo courtesy of Jason Wenisch2 / 8
Trevor Caflisch qualified for the state nordic ski meet in a photo finish last winter and aims to finish in the top-25 this year. Photo courtesy of Shannon Caflisch3 / 8
A group picture of the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly-renovated Pioneer Park basketball courts, featuring youth Hastings basketball players, Timberwolves rookie Keita Bates-Diop and their mascot, Crunch. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 8
Trey Rogers gives a smirk and a whoop after winning the 195-pound state championship last winter. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia5 / 8
Krystal Carlson scored over 2,000 points in her prep career at Hastings and is off to a great start at the University of Sioux Falls. Photo courtesy of Beck Photography6 / 8
The Miesville Mudhens were Class B state runners-up this past summer after winning the previous two state championships. Here Brad Goulet rounds third against Chanhassen. Goulet was one of three Mudhens to be named to the All-Tournament team. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia7 / 8
Josie Pechous was one of three seniors on the girls team who helped the girls team compete in last season's alpine state tournament. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia8 / 8

The past year saw Hastings Raiders athletics achieve great things both on and off the field of play. From state championships to new records and hall of fame inductions to saving lives, it has been a memorable 2018 for Raiders sports teams. There were so many stories that could have made this list, but check out below 10 of the best sports stories of 2018:

Trey Rogers wins state championship

Trey Rogers put together a perfect season his senior year for the Hastings Raiders wrestling team, culminating with a state championship at 195 pounds. Rogers was 53-0 last season and put on an offensive clinic every time he stepped onto the mat. On top of his state championship, Rogers also won his first Santa Hat by winning the Minnesota Christmas Tournament at the start of the season against some of the best wrestlers in the midwest. He is the first Raider wrestling state champion since 2011 when Zach Rohr won it all at 145.

Rogers beat Treighton Thompson of Minneapolis South by fall in 1 minute, 46 seconds in the first round. In the quarterfinals he won by tech fall (23-8) over Nick Staska of Owatonna, in the semifinals he won by fall over Jared Stewart of Lakeville South in 3:42. Finally, in the championship match, Rogers beat Jacob Scherber of Buffalo by a 17-7 major decision.

Rogers is in his first year at Hofstra University as part of the Hofstra wrestling team, a Division I program that is part of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). He is listed at 184 pounds and so far is 8-10 on the year, including a fourth-place finish at the Army West Point Black Knight Invitational before Thanksgiving.

Krystal Carlson passes 2,000 points

Krystal Carlson destroyed the Hastings record books her last two years playing basketball for the Raiders. After becoming the all-time leading scorer in Hastings basketball history (both girls and boys), Carlson continued to build on that record before she achieved a milestone that very few players ever come close to—2,000 points points scored. Carlson went over 2,000 points in a home game against the Tartan Titans where she scored 20 points. She ended her prep career with 2,251 points, a record that at most schools would never be broken, but will most likely be threatened by Carlson's long-time teammate and current junior Mallor Brake.

Carlson is in her freshman year at the University of Sioux Falls where she is playing basketball for the Division II Cougars.

So far this season for Sioux Falls, Carlson has played in all 11 games and started seven of them and is fourth on the team in scoring with 6.0 points per game and second on the team in minutes played.

Corkish enters Hall of Fame

Former Hastings girls' hockey coach Jeff Corkish was inducted into the Minnesota Girls Hockey Coaches Association Hall of Fame last February during the girls' hockey state tournament. Corkish was the Raiders head coach for 17 years and took over the program for the 1999-2000 season along with long time assistant Steve Benson, just a couple years after girls' hockey was started in Minnesota.

In his time at Hastings, Corkish not only helped build the high school programs but also was instrumental at the youth level where he stays heavily involved to this day. He said his award was not for him, but rather everyone involved in helping to build the program into what it is today, especially those players who not only practiced and played but were role models to younger girls, helped recruit and put themselves out there in the community.

Corkish stepped down as head coach after the 2015-2016 season in order to watch his own kids play, but did not rule out making a coaching return in the future, stating he has always been interested in coaching at the college level.

Caflisch qualifies for state

Now-junior Trevor Caflisch qualified for the nordic skiing state meet last winter by the thinnest of margins. He was in the last qualifying spot as he came down the home stretch at the section meet last February when another skier caught him. Right as they were about to cross the finish line, Caflisch lunged forward for a photo finish, or in this case a video finish. Officials had to review video several times to determine that Caflisch had qualified for the state tournament for the first time.

The next week he competed at Giants Ridge in Biwabik, Minn., and once again had to overcome adversity. Caflisch broke a pole in the morning race but was able to pass several competitors in the afternoon to finish 133rd. However, he was also battling the flu at the time and was not 100 percent. After training over the summer, Caflisch and head coach John Dewall have high hopes for him this upcoming season and the goal to finish in the top-25 of the 2019 state meet.

Both alpine ski teams go to state

The Hastings Raiders boys' and girls' alpine ski teams had a season for the ages last winter as both made the state tournament. The boys finished fourth, just two points out of third place, and head coach Jim Peine said they could have placed even better if not for a series of mishaps. Meanwhile, the girls took sixth as a team. Jacob Peine placed in the top 10 and earned all-state honors, while Kayla Boogren and Shannon O'Connor finished well enough to be all-state honorable mention. This season, only one skier from each state team will return—Alexa Kimmes and Sam Molitor.

Radke, Buck save man

Now-senior hockey players Sydney Radke and Addie Buck showed their skills not only on the ice, but off last January when they saved the life of a man who had collapsed in his driveway. Radke was on her way to pick up Buck before school during a cold spell when she saw two men at the end of a driveway, one of whom was on the phone. Something about the situation struck her as odd, so after picking up Buck they stopped at the house where they discovered a man had collapsed in his driveway while the man on the phone had been talking to emergency services. Radke immediately started administering CPR while Buck helped keep the man warm.

Media outlets throughout the area soon picked up on the story and eventually the two were recognized during a Hastings city council meeting and were also honored by Rep. Tony Jurgens (R-Cottage Grove). Radke also used the opportunity to emphasize that everyone should receive CPR training as you can never know if you might need it. Both girls are now leading the Raiders girls' hockey team, which is 5-6-1 heading into the holiday break.

Hastings swimmers qualify for state

The Hastings boys' and girls' swimming teams had a total of three swimmers qualify for the state swim meets in 2018. Last March, senior Jackson Gergen made it in the 50-yard freestyle and 100 breaststroke, while fellow senior John Rupp went in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke. Gergen finished 12th in the 50 freestyle finals while narrowly missing the cut for finals in the 100 breaststroke. Rupp took 11th in the 100 freestyle and then 13th in the 100 backstroke. Gergen is swimming for Luther College as a freshman this year,

Then this past fall, seventh-grader Ashtyn Stewart made the state meet after taking second in the 100 butterfly at the Section 1AA meet. While unexpected, head coach Katie McAlpin said it would be a valuable experience for the young swimmer when she makes it back. At the state meet, Stewart was just two spots away from making the consolation finals.

Dittrich makes state for third-straight year

Nick Dittrich had a tremendous senior season with the Raiders boys' golf team as he won tournament after tournament and qualified for the state tournament for the third-straight year. He won several regular season tournaments as well as a Metro East Conference championship and was co-medalist at the Section 1AAA tournament.

Dittrich put together two rounds of three-over-par 75. After going 38-37 on day one, he started day two off with a stellar 34 before finishing the back nine with a 41. He finished 20th with a total of 150, 11 strokes behind the winner. The year before, he tied-for-30th. Dittrich's golf game was characterized by an easy swing and even easier demeanor as he always seemed calm and controlled on the golf course. He also just announced on Dec. 21 that he is joining the Bemidji State Beavers men's golf team.

Pioneer Park renovation

This past spring, Hastings won an online vote for the Minnesota Timberwolves to renovate the Pioneer Park basketball courts. Over the course of a couple days in late July the Minnesota Timberwolves FastBreak Foundation—as part of its Our Courts, Our Future program partnered with Rebuilding Together, Twin Cities—resurfaced, resealed and painted the courts as well as installing new backboards and rims.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was then held featuring John Thomas, the vice president of community engagement for the Timberwolves, Timberwolves rookie Keita Bates-Diop, who talked about growing up and playing on courts just like those at Pioneer Park, and Hastings Mayor Paul Hicks.

Bates-Diop and representatives of the Timberwolves, accompanied by members of the Hastings boys' varsity basketball team, held a clinic for kids in attendance. Diop and Timberwolves mascot Crunch also signed autographs and took pictures.

Mudhens are Class B runners-up

The Miesville Mudhens went for the rare three-peat this summer as they sought to win the Minnesota Baseball Association's Class B state tournament for the third-straight year. This summer's state tournament proved to be a mirror-opposite of last year's—in 2017 they lost to the Chanhassen Red Birds before coming back up through the consolation bracket and beating the Red Birds twice to win the championship. This year they beat the Red Birds, who then came up through the consolation bracket and beat the Mudhens twice for their own championship. Miesville finished their season as Class B runners-up and with an overall record of 34-5. Matt Van Der Bosch, Brad Goulet and Jordy Horsch were all named to the All-Tournament team.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a RiverTown Multimedia sports reporter covering Hastings, Farmington and Rosemount athletics. He graduated from Drake University with a journalism degree in 2014. 

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