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 common saying is that defense wins championships. While the Hastings football team is still a ways away from playing for said championship, their defense stepped up when they were needed most to help Hastings win their first-round section playoff game. The Raiders beat the Henry Sibley Warriors in West St. Paul Tuesday, Oct. 24, 16-14 in a game that came down to the last 30 seconds and a goal-line stand. With the win, Hastings advances to the section 3-5A semifinals and travel to Apple Valley on Saturday.
The Hastings boys and girls cross-country teams both had strong showings Tuesday, Oct. 24, at St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park for the Metro East Conference Championships. The Raider boys took second behind St. Thomas Academy thanks to strong performances by seniors David Nogle and Griffin Myers, who finished back-to-back in the fifth and sixth, respectively. Meanwhile, despite missing one of their top runners in Linnea Urban and being stretched thin numbers-wise, the girls took fourth out of eight teams. Boys all finish in top half of field
The Hastings girls' tennis team finished a successful season. The Raiders earned the seventh seed in section 1AA and beat No. 10-seed Winona in the first round of sections 7-0. They then fell to a very good Owatonna team, which was the second seed, 5-2. Their season then moved on to individual sections, where they entered two doubles teams and two singles players.
Almost every time the Hastings offense started to gain some momentum, either a mistake or turnover prevented them from converting the opportunity into points. The result was a 21-7 loss to the South St. Paul Packers in the regular season finale Wednesday night, Oct. 18, at McNamara Stadium at Todd Field. Had the Raiders come out with the win, it was speculated that they would be able to host a home section playoff game next week. However, the loss helped put Hastings as the fifth seed in section 3AAAAA and now they will have to travel to no. 4-seeded Henry Sibley on Tuesday, Oct. 24.
The Hastings boys' and girls' soccer teams ran into some very good opponents in the opening round of section 4AA playoffs last week, which resulted in shutout losses for both teams and the end of their seasons. The boys finish their season with an overall record of 9-6-2 including the playoffs, which featured a six-match winning streak toward the end. Meanwhile, the girls end their season 7-10 after a very up-and-down campaign.
The Hastings Raiders football team fell behind Apple Valley quickly and was never able to mount a comeback. The Raiders trailed 14-0 at the end of the first quarter and 21-0 just minutes into the second. With the Oct. 13 loss, Hastings is now 2-5 overall and 1-3 in the Suburban Maroon subdistrict.
Hastings girls' swimming and diving continues to be on a tear after notching two more dual meet wins to close out the month of September. The Raiders routed Simley 100 to 81 and then blew out Hill-Murray by a near-identical score of 105-81.
Hastings' offense looked the best it has all season and the defense forced two turnovers in the rain and mud to defeat Tartan 27-14 Friday, Oct. 6, during homecoming. The Raiders' power running game proved invaluable in the slippery muck and they thoroughly dominated the line of scrimmage the entire game. With the win, Hastings is now 2-4 overall and 1-2 in the Suburban Maroon subdistrict.
The Hastings volleyball team took a step forward last Tuesday night, Oct. 3, during their match against Bloomington Kennedy on Dig Pink night. The Raiders showed tremendous energy and played their best volleyball of the season in front of a large home crowd and raucous student section. Hastings won two straight sets to come from behind and force a game five before falling to Kennedy 3-2. The Raiders also lost the South St. Paul on Thursday, Oct. 5, before traveling to a tournament at St. Michael-Albertville. Hastings is now 1-19 on the season with three matches left before section playoffs begin.
Todd Field was the recipient of a drastic makeover last week in honor of the Hastings 2017 homecoming football game against the Tartan Titans. The same group of parent volunteers who began painting the Hastings Raiders "H" at midfield toward the end of last season, and has continued this season, decided to step their effort up several notches in time for last week's football games.