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Farmington senior Tyler Lerbakken moves up in the pack during the 4x800 Saturday at Hamline University in St. Paul. The Tigers finished fifth in the event and set a school record.

Boys track: Tiger relays shine at state

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high school Farmington, 55024
Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

The Farmington boys track team accomplished its goal of getting all three of its relays to Saturday's finals at the Class 2A state track meet.

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The 4x800 came away with the highest finish, breaking its own school record with a fifth-place time of 7 minutes, 57.89 seconds. Jared Wolt got the team out to a good start with a strong first 600 meters, but faded to the middle of the pack on the final straightaway. Devon Webb and Tyler Lerbakken each gained some ground to get the team back into the battle for third in the heat and Justin Hyytinen closed with a 1:56 split to give the Tigers third in Heat 2 behind state champion Eden Prairie and Bemidji. Roseville and Stillwater battled it out in the first heat and came home in 7:54 to earn third and fourth, respectively.

"They are excited with what they accomplished. I think they could have fought for third if the two teams from the other heat were in theirs, but No. 1 and 2 were too talented to have a chance at it," Farmington coach Brian Helmstetter said.

The Tigers' 4x200 qualified for the finals with a time of 1:30.10 and just about matched that in the finals, running a 1:30.43 that was good enough for seventh. Mason Auge, Ryan Parco, Thomas Weigel and Tanner Grubb each ran legs of the relay.

"They ran about as well as they could," Helmstetter said. "They cut their overall time down by about 4 1/2 seconds over the last couple meets so I am proud of the work they have put in to get the baton around the track as clean as they did."

The Tigers closed out the day with a ninth-place finish in the 4x400 finals. Their time was five seconds slower than the school-record 3:22.25 they turned in a day earlier in the prelims. Lerbakken, Hyytinen, Weigel and Grubb competed in the relay.

"On finals day they looked awfully tired," Helmstetter said. "They were all a little beat up from the previous races in the day and looked like it as they were running."

Hyytinen was especially fatigued going in, having just run the 1,600 as Farmington's lone representative in the individual events. Coming off his 4x800 anchor leg, he ran a 14th-place time of 4:23.64.

"Running 4:20 was a goal, if not the school record of 4:18, which is well within his reach if fresh," Helmstetter said. "He ran well and has a new focus over the summer, which is picking up his mileage and getting himself focused and ready for cross country."

The Tigers scored nine points to place 37th out of 63 scoring teams.

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