Alec Hamilton is a sports reporter and general assignment reporter at the Hastings Star Gazette. He is a journalism graduate of Drake University.
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The Hastings wrestling team started its season 2-2 this past weekend with a Metro East Conference win over Tartan on Friday, Dec. 1, and then went 1-2 at its own Raider Duals event. The Raiders beat Tartan 53-18, lost to 12th-ranked in class AAA St. Francis 51-22, beat a solid Coon Rapids team 39-26 and then fell to third-ranked in AAA Prior Lake 37-32.
Sophomore Mallory Brake reached 1,000 points last Tuesday, Dec. 5, in Hastings' win over Eagan. Brake, having played varsity since seventh grade, need 23 points to hit 1,000 on the nose headed into the game against Eagan. She reached the mark with a free throw in the second half and the game was halted to recognize here achievement. Brake is the seventh girls basketball player in Hastings history to score 1,000 points or more and is the 15th between the boys and girls programs combined to do so.
With competition set to start this week, the Hastings gymnastics team is focused on exceeding the goals it set for the season, something that is their primary focus every season. "Last season was great, we set goals and exceeded all of them," head coach Jeanne Kasel said. "Our junior varsity team really stepped up last season and pulled us to finish third in the conference, and our varsity team did the same. The girls set goals each week and at least 85 percent of the time we would reach or exceed them."
The Hastings boys and girls hockey teams both went 1-1 this last week. The boys stayed at .500 on the season with a win at home against Henry Sibley and a loss on the road at Bloomington Jefferson. Meanwhile, the girls also won their home game against North St. Paul/Tartan before losing at Mahtomedi. A tale of two games
The Hastings wrestling team is coming off a successful season where they took fourth at the Class AAA team state tournament and had three wrestlers place at the individual state tournament. "I thought it was a successful season, the kids really grew as the season went on and I think we peaked at the right time," head coach Josh McLay said about the 2016-17 season. "That's what it's all about in this game, getting the kids to wrestle at the top of their ability when it counts, which is the state tournament."
It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Farmington and Rosemount U-12B girls' hockey teams last Wednesday, Nov. 29, at Schmitz-Maki Arena in Farmington. Their game was chosen as the Minnesota Wild's Youth Hockey spotlight game, where the Wild organization picks a youth hockey game, comes to the arena and gives the players involved as close to a professional hockey experience as possible. Mike Cassano, the director of player development for the Farmington Youth Hockey Association, detailed all the effort that went into making the event happen.
The Hastings girls' basketball team won its first two games of the season thanks to some stifling defense and well-rounded offense this past week. The Raiders beat St. Croix Lutheran on the road Nov. 28 and held Lutheran to just 29 total points for the 58-29 victory. Then on Thursday, Nov. 30, they hosted the Rosemount Irish, the team that knocked Hastings out of the section playoffs last season. However, this year's Rosemount team is very different from last year's and the Raiders easily handled them to the tune of 64-43.
The Hastings boys' basketball team started its season in exciting fashion this past weekend with two close wins at a tournament in Red Wing. The Raiders beat Hudson (Wis.) 95-94 on Friday, Dec. 1, and won on a 3-pointer by junior forward Matt Schlottman with under 10 seconds left. They then beat Stewartville 69-65 on Saturday, Dec. 2, in the championship game where Schlottman hit key free throws at the end to help seal the victory. Hudson "It was a fast-paced game, both teams played fast and shot a good percentage," head coach Chad Feikema said.
Four Hastings Raiders athletes signed their letters of intent to play collegiate athletics at the NCAA Division I, II or National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics next year. T.J. Pottinger will play DI lacrosse at Furman University in the Southern Conference for the Paladins. Pottinger is a two-year captain for Hastings wrestling and was a captain this past season for the football team. He will primarily serve as the faceoff man for Furman.
The Hastings girls' hockey team is 1-4 through its first five games as it battles through a tough portion of the schedule made up of section opponents. After dropping its first two games to Park and Apple Valley, the Raiders were able to bounce back against Woodbury before then dropping two more to East Ridge and Eagan.