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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Hastings junior Trevor Caflisch is in the middle of the Raiders' nordic skiing season and continued his dedication over the holiday break. Caflisch competed in three nordic ski races and came home with a trio of top-five finishes. He raced in the Winter Warm-Up in Elm Creek on Dec. 22 and took second and then spent two days in Hayward, Wis., where he won the Spooner Holiday Dash on Dec. 28 and finished fourth in the Double Pole Derby on Dec. 29.
Skiing needs snow and snow is one thing in short supply over the last few weeks. The Hastings boys' and girls' nordic ski teams were able to compete before the holidays started at Theodore Wirth Regional Park in Golden Valley for a Metro East Conference meet. The boys were runners-up with 443 points behind Henry Sibley while the girls finished third with 423 points behind Mahtomedi and Henry Sibley. Sophomore Linnea Urban took first in the girls' race with a time of 13 minutes on the dot and junior Trevor Caflisch won the boys race in 12 minutes, 43 seconds.
The Hastings Raiders boys' and girls' alpine skiing teams opened their competition Dec. 21 at the 2018 Wild Invite held at Wild Mountain in Taylors Falls. The girls finished in 15th with 365 points out of 24 teams while the boys were runners-up with 493 points, just eight points behind the winner Brainerd. Senior Alexa Kimmes was the top finisher for the girls in 15th with a combined time of 1 minute, 14.19 seconds, while junior Sam Molitor took ninth overall with a time of 1:04.10.
The Hastings Raiders girls' hockey team has had an up-and-down season so far and that continued as they competed in the Louis Schmitz Holiday Classic at Schmitz-Maki Arena in Farmington. The Raiders—winners of two of their last three games—went 0-3 in the tournament with losses to host Farmington, Lakeville North and Hutchinson. With the losses, Hastings is now 5-9-1 with 10 games left and they sit at 1-2-1 in the Metro East Conference.
The Hastings Raiders boys' hockey team continued its tremendous play at the South St. Paul Premier Tournament Dec. 26-28 and they came away with the tournament championship. The Raiders faced tough competition throughout as they beat host South St. Paul, Woodbury and Eagan. With the three consecutive wins Hastings is now 8-2 overall and tied atop the Metro East Conference with Hill-Murray. The Raiders' next game is home against Owatonna on Saturday, Jan. 5.
The Hastings Raiders boys' basketball team started the season off 2-1 and with wins over Red Wing and Park, but since then they have lost five in a row, most of which were non-conference match-ups. They were edged out by Eagan 72-68, lost to Eastview 78-68 and fell to Rosemount 82-63 Dec. 21, all on the road. Hastings then came home to host their annual holiday tournament but lost in the first round to Irondale 83-65 on Thursday, Dec. 27. The Raiders are 2-6 overall and head into the heart of Metro East Conference play after the New Year.
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:
The Hastings Raiders wrestling team traveled to Rochester this past weekend for the prestigious Minnesota Christmas Tournament. An individual tournament that hosts some of the best competition from Minnesota, Wisconsin and the midwest in general, it always proves a tough test for everyone who competes. Last year, Trey Rogers won his Santa hat by taking first at 195 pounds while T.J. Pottinger took sixth. This year, senior Godswill Pepple took fifth for the Raiders at 220 pounds and earned 21 of Hastings 54 team points, which put them in 33rd.
The Hastings boys' swimming and diving team started its dual season this past week with a 101-80 loss to Cretin-Derham Hall on Tuesday, Dec. 11, and then a 90-88 win over Henry Sibley Thursday, Dec. 13. The Raiders hosted Tartan on Tuesday, but do not compete again until Jan. 3 when they host South St. Paul.
Paige Peltier, a Hastings native and junior at Cretin-Derham Hall, was surprised Dec. 6 at a Cretin boys' basketball game when she was named a girls' soccer Allstate All-American. During halftime of the game, she heard a message over the school intercom from former national team player and Olympic gold medalist Julie Foudy congratulating her on her award. The athletic department at Cretin-Derham Hall and Peltier's family were able to surprise her with the award.