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 girls' hockey team ended their regular season last week on a bit of a downward slide. The Raiders lost six of their last seven down the final stretch, including two last week against Simley and Woodbury. The Raiders head into Section 3AA playoffs with an 8-15-1 overall record and as the No. 8 seed they'll travel to Eagan on Wednesday, Feb. 6, to take on the No. 1-seeded Wildcats in the first round of section playoffs. Should the Raiders win, they would next play on Saturday, Feb. 9, against the winner of No. 4 Apple Valley and No. 5 Eastview.
Hastings wrestling has a rich history, but it had been lacking until the end of December when seventh-grader Skyler Little Soldier became the first Hastings female wrestler to record a varsity takedown, pin and win in the history of the program. Little Soldier wrestled at the Bi-State Classic Dec. 28-29 in the 113-pound weight class and went 1-2 in the tournament. All three of the records she set came in her second match against Gabe Weiks of Athens when she got a takedown and then pinned Weiks 44 seconds into the third period.
Audra Richards was hired as an assistant for the Hastings Raiders girls' hockey team two years ago, and it's tough to imagine someone more qualified or passionate to help teach the Raiders all about hockey. Richards has played at nearly every level of hockey imaginable—from youth, high school and juniors to Division 1 collegiate hockey—and now she has embarked on a new journey of professional women's hockey in the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL), inspired in part by her time coaching the Raiders.
The Hastings Raiders boys' hockey team is in the midst of a tremendous season and at the forefront is the play of sophomore goalie Tyler McCarville. When the season started the starting goalie job was up for grabs between McCarville, fellow sophomore Simon Hedin and senior Parker Johnson. However, after the first couple of games McCarville separated himself from the others and has not looked back. Since getting his first start in the 10-0 win over Dodge County, McCarville has gone 12-2 when between the pipes with five shutouts.
Playing under a new head coach and adjusting to entirely new systems and philosophy can be difficult for the best of teams and the Hastings Raiders girls' basketball team is no exception. However, things seem to be clicking for the Raiders in 2019 after a rough start of the season saw them lose their first 11 games, as they have now won three of their last four games as of Jan. 17. They now sit 3-12 and are 2-2 in the Metro East Conference. Their three wins have all come at home to North St. Paul, Woodbury and Mahtomedi.
The Hastings Raiders girls' basketball team has bounced back from a rough December, are 3-2 so far in 2019 and are winners of three out of their last four games. That third win came Tuesday night at Hastings High School as the Raiders came back from behind against the Mahtomedi Zephyrs to force overtime and went on to win 67-62. Hastings is now 3-12 overall but 2-2 in the Metro East Conference, whis puts them in a tie for third with Henry Sibley and Tartan.
The Hastings Raiders girls' hockey team is approaching the last quarter of its season and looks to continue the momentum it has gained the past week-and-a-half where it won two out of three games. After losing three-straight at the Louis Schmitz Holiday Classic over the winter break, the Raiders have responded with wins over St. Paul/Henry Sibley and Irondale before falling to the Simley Spartans. Hastings is now 7-10-1 overall and 2-3-1 in the Metro East Conference, which puts them in the bottom half of the MEC but still with plenty of room for improvement. In their final seven games, the Raiders have four conference matchups against Mahtomedi, North St. Paul/Tartan, Simley and Hill-Murray. Looking ahead to section playoffs, they currently sit at second-to-last in Section 3AA according to QRF but can improve that with a win over section-opponents Eastview and Park still this regular season.
The Hastings Raiders boys' and girls' alpine skiing teams competed in two meets this past week at Welch Village. On Tuesday, Jan. 9, they participated in a Metro East Conference meet where the boys took first and the girls second. Then this past Friday, Jan. 11, they hosted the Welch Invite that featured representatives from 21 different teams for both the boys and girls. The Raider boys took second as a team while girls finished 11th. Both teams return to Welch on Thursday, Jan. 17, for another MEC meet. They then go to Buck Hill on Saturday, Jan. 19.