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Class AA State Girls Track & Field

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"I thought the girls performed very well," Farmington coach Tom Hart said. "Overall, finishing in 20th place as a team was quite an accomplishment for these ladies."

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Despite cold and rainy conditions Saturday morning, the 4x800 relay team set the tone in the first event of the day. The foursome of senior Jackie Beckett, eighth-grader Maria Kiminski, sophomore Nicole Clifton and senior Kaitlin Mincke came through with their best time of the season and broke the school record set by last year's fifth-place state relay, earning third in a time of 9 minutes, 27.49 seconds.

Minnetonka ran away with the event in 9:20.56, while runner-up Mounds View, the eventual team champion, edged the Tigers by under a second. Event favorite Eden Prairie faded to fourth as Mincke crossed the finish line with a strong anchor leg.

Mincke rested for just under three hours before coming up with another strong two-lap run in the open 800. She qualified for the finals with a personal-best time of 2:16.87 on Friday, then came back with a sixth-place time of 2:18 in Saturday's tougher weather conditions.

The wet track moved the pole vault indoors and Farmington senior Katrina Fitzgerald took advantage with a personal-best height of 10 feet, 9 inches. Eden Prairie's Bryanna Sudman won the event at 11-3, followed by Fitzgerald and four others at 10-9. The senior slipped to fifth due to number of misses, but Hart said her effort in her first career state meet was "very impressive."

Another first-time state qualifier, freshman Alyssa Parco, was less fortunate in her debut. Parco was running third in her heat of the 300-meter hurdles, but stumbled over one of the hurdles on the straightaway and ended up reaching the finish line last in a time of 51.33. Hart said it was an example of Parco's determination that she was able to get up and finish the race.

Parco, Kiminski and Clifton are among the many athletes Hart is expecting more big things from as he tries to keep the Farmington girls track program heading in a positive direction.

"The entire Farmington team needs to be recognized as they were a great bunch of athletes who brought their A game every night and gave no excuses," he said. "The underclassmen returning will have a chance to create a legacy of their own just like this group (of seniors) has."

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