Hastings grad trip to Treasure Island with grandfather pays big!

No background in college basketball required – Sticha picks the Final Four


Sydney Sticha got some really big news on her drive from Hastings to class in Red Wing on Monday of last week.
The 2023 Hastings High School graduate and current nursing student had accompanied her grandfather, Gary Reuter of Hastings, to Treasure Island Resort and Casino a few weeks back. She was asked to enter the $64,000 Bracket Battle to pick the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Final Four.
Sydney, 18, has no interest in college basketball, so she made a guess. Make that four guesses.
That random choice of North Caroline State, Purdue, University of Connecticut and Alabama paid off big. She got a call from Treasure Island Monday that out over 3,500 entrants, hers was the only perfect one.
She won the $64,000.
“I was on my way to class in Red Wing, and my phone rang. I never answer random phone calls, but I saw that the number was from Red Wing, so I thought maybe it had something to do with my class. I answered, and it was Adam from the casino. He was just asking me about my weekend and how it was and if I watched any March Madness. I told him no, I don’t really follow basketball. I don’t know anything about that,” Sydney said. “I told him I was on my way to class right now, and I can’t talk. He said he wanted me to pull over. I said OK, and he told me, ‘You just won $64,000.’ Now, it was also April Fool’s Day, and I was like, ‘No way. This is a scam. Are you joking?’ I was kind of freaking out. I just thought it was a scam. He said, “Nope. This is 100 percent legitimate. You won!’”
She called her mom and still wasn’t sure the news was true.
“I ended up going to class. I called my mom right away after to tell her about it. She said, ‘Don’t get your hopes up too much. You never know.’ I called the number back, and it was Treasure Island, and I talked to Adam again and realized it was true. I was super excited. I still can’t really believe it. At first, I was not really processing it. I went down the next day to pick up my check and I saw the big check with my name on it and said, ‘Oh my goodness! This is real!’”
Sydney offered to split the money with her grandfather, who enjoys spending time at Treasure Island.
“He was so excited for me. He wanted me to enter this, and he’s the one that got me into it,” she said. “I asked if he wanted to split it with me, and he said no, maybe you could split it with your sister, so I decided to do that.”
Sydney’s half will go to pay off the car she recently bought. “Then I’ll use the rest for school,” she said.
Sydney spent a few moments sharing her story with the Hastings Journal on Sunday, a day before the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Championship game. So, we had to ask who she was picking to win it?
“Purdue,” she said with the confidence of someone who had correctly arrived at the Final Four.
At least she was right on the $64,000 answer!