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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On a boat in the middle of one of the lakes in the Jefferson chain near Mankato, the Farmington High School Fishing Team will compete in the first tournament of its inaugural season on June 21. The team is less than a year old and was founded last September by Andy Boyum of Mankato, a Farmington resident who has loved fishing almost his entire life and has been a competitive fisherman on and off since he was 14. He said he first came up with the idea for the team after a fortunate misunderstanding.
He's known as Benny to hockey fans across generations in Hastings, but his name is Steve Benson and after almost two decades with the Hastings girls' hockey program—with a few small breaks—he has decided to step back from the program. Benson's daughter Sam was a senior on the team this past winter and he coached that senior group their whole careers. With Sam graduating, Benson said his plan is to sit back and enjoy his time with family and some neglected hobbies, though he did not rule out the possibility of a return.
Hastings sophomore Linnea Urban is in the middle of an incredible athletic year for the Raiders and recently added yet another accolade. Just days after competing at the state Nordic skiing meet for Hastings this past February, Urban raced in the final of four junior national Nordic ski qualifying races and qualified for the U.S. Junior National Nordic Ski Championships in Anchorage, Alaska, as part of the Midwest Junior National Nordic Ski team.
While the Farmington Tigers wrestling team had a great deal of success this season, one individual's biggest accomplishment came off of the mat. Over the past two years, Matt Clark has embodied the Tigers' mission to develop young men not only as wrestlers, but off the mat as well.
A rough first-period quickly snowballed for the Farmington Tigers girls' hockey team in their state quarterfinal game against the Andover Huskies. After a slow start for both teams as they felt each other out, Andover exploded for four goals over the last 12 minutes of the first period and the Tigers struggled to recover. The second period saw Farmington commit a couple costly penalties that resulted in two Huskies' power-play goals to start the period and the chances for a Tiger comeback dwindled. Trailing 7-0 heading into the third period, Farmington got on the board with a goal from senior Jenna Gerold and 7-1 was the final.
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 School Board held a special session Nov. 26 to discuss an investigation into alleged misappropriation of funds by assistant principal and head wrestling coach Josh McLay. On Wednesday during its normally scheduled meeting, the board summarized the investigation’s findings and announced its decision regarding McLay’s employment with the school district.
The Farmington Tigers boys' and girls' cross-country teams both put together some incredible performances Saturday at the Class AA state meet on the campus of St. Olaf College. The Tigers girls took fourth overall and were just 18 points out of third and the podium, led by a second and third-place finish from senior Lauren Peterson in her last prep race and a resurgent sophomore Anna Fenske. The boys took 12th behind great performances from juniors Noah Revels and Aaron Kruse.
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.