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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The Hastings Raiders football team is headed to the Section 3AAAAA championship game after shutting out rival Park 14-0 at Todd Field at McNamara Stadium. Saturday night's game was also the "Last on Grass" game, the last game played on grass at Todd Field as turf will soon be installed there, and the first 400 fans at the game were given towels commemorating the the event. Hastings travels to St. Thomas for a rematch with the Cadets Friday, Nov. 2, for a chance to go to state.
The Hastings Raiders volleyball team did it the hard way Tuesday night as they came back from behind two sets to none to Cretin-Derham Hall and won 3-2 to advance in the section playoffs. Hastings, the No. 10 seed in Section 3AAA, beat No. 7 Cretin-Derham Hall 19-25, 20-25, 27-25, 26-24, 18-16 in what was probably their closest match of the season. This comes after some expressed surprise as to the seeding of the two teams, since Hastings finished with a record of 11-16 while Cretin was just 5-18.
The Hastings Raiders volleyball team received their section seeding and opponent Friday afternoon. Hastings came away from the Section 3AAA seeding meeting with the No. 10 seed and their opponent is Cretin-Derham Hall, the No. 7 seed. Cretin was 5-18 during the regular season while Hastings was 11-16. Hastings will travel to Cretin-Derham Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 23. The winner goes on to face No. 2-seeded East Ridge on Thursday, Oct. 25.
History was made this past season on the grass of Todd Field at McNamara Stadium, though it passed unnoticed to many. During the Raiders win over the Hill-Murray Pioneers at the beginning of September, the third generation of a prominent Hastings family continued his family's legacy and accomplished a feat that surpassed what his father could do in a whole season.
Hastings football ended its regular season on a high-note Wednesday night with a 35-9 win at South St. Paul over the Packers. The win is also of historical significance for the Raiders as they have not beaten the Packers since making the switch to the Metro East Conference back in 2014 and through the creation of districts in recent years. It also seals a top-two seed and first-round bye in the Section 3AAAAA playoffs for the Raiders, who will play the winner of No. 3 Park and No. 6 Henry Sibley on Saturday, Oct. 27, at Todd Field at McNamara Stadium.
The Hastings Raiders boys' and girls' cross-country teams competed at the Metro East Conference championships Tuesday afternoon at St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park. The Hastings boys took fourth out of nine teams and the Raider girls were fifth out of seven teams. They were led by senior Eric Howd and sophomore Linnea Urban, both of whom took third and were named All-Conference. Also earning All-Conference honors were senior Megan Mattson and sophomore Nolan Myers, who both took 14th.
The Hastings Raiders girls' tennis team continued their postseason play last week with individual sections. Two doubles teams and two individuals competed in the Section 1AA individual sections held at the Lifetime Fitness in Lakeville. The singles players were sophomore Anri Sakakibara and senior Emily Beyer, and the doubles were senior Elizabeth Henrichs with junior Amy Roach and seniors Anna Lindner and Morgan Reinardy. The top two individuals/teams from each section advance to the state tournament.
There was a little extra motivation on Friday for the Hastings Raiders football team as they hosted the Apple Valley Eagles. The past two years, the Raiders have been eliminated in the section playoffs by the Eagles, including a 56-14 rout in Apple Valley last fall. However, Hastings was able to get a little bit of payback Friday night as they shutout the Eagles 34-0 in a game where the score could have been much worse. Friday night also saw history made as senior running back Corbin Leflay hit 1,000 yards rushing this season in just seven regular season games.
The Hastings Raiders boys' and girls' soccer teams both went one-and-done in section playoffs this past week. The Hastings boys were the No. 6 seed in Section 4AA and lost at No. 3 and Metro East Conference rival North St. Paul 2-1 in overtime on Tuesday after losing to them earlier in the season 8-2. Meanwhile the Raider girls were the No. 7 seed in Section 3AA and played the No. 2-seeded Rosemount Irish at Park due to field conditions. The Raiders fell 5-0 to the Irish amidst the rain and cold. The boys end the season with an overall record of 10-5 after taking third in the MEC and the girls finish with a record of 7-9-1.
The Hastings Raiders girls' tennis team started section play Tuesday evening after earning the No. 7 seed in section 1AA. They hosted No. 10 seed Waseca and cruised to a 6-1 victory. They then traveled to No. 2 Lakeville South on Thursday and lost to the Cougars 6-1. With team sections over, the Raiders will next compete in individual sections.