Track and field: Numbers continue to rise
Fourteen letter-winners are back from last year's boys track team, but it's the other 67 athletes that have head coach Brian Helmstetter intrigued.
They comprise the largest-ever turnout for the track team at Farmington and Helmestetter is eager to see what they are capable of.
"As a team it is a rebuilding year, but I am excited to see how these young guys will fit in the team picture. We have huge numbers in the ninth and tenth grade classes. It will be fun to watch them mature," Helmstetter said. "We also have some new faces in the older classes, so our team success is a big question mark as we don't have much experience back, but there is some promise."
Helmstetter knows what he has in several seniors who will be looked upon to lead his young team.
Senior Tyler Grubb placed in three events at the Missota Conference Championships last season and leads a group of returning sprinters that also includes CJ Record and Charlie Wicks.
In the throws, the Tigers will look to a pair of returners to make up for the points lost to the graduation of state discus champion Logan Hussung. John Schimmel and Dillon Pariseau have both looked strong after putting in a lot of work this off-season, according to Helmstetter.
Other returning field event specialists include high jumper Sam Hanson, pole vaulter Drew Cayard and jumpers Zach Wyatt and Justin Hett. Hanson already tied the school record with a high jump of 6 feet, 2 inches at last weekend's indoor meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield and has a good shot at making it to state, according to Helmstetter.
Hurdlers Tyler Beckett and Justice Detzel and distance runners Carl Elmer, Chad Retterath and Tyler Lerbakken are also returning letter-winners.
The Tigers compete again Thursday, April 7 at the St. Thomas Academy Triangular.
Four state qualifiers return
The Farmington girls track program also boasts its highest-ever participation numbers this year, but there's a bit more established talent at coach Tom Hart's disposal.
Four of five state qualifiers are back from last year's team that placed third at the Missota Conference Championships, fifth at the Section 1AA Championships and 40th at the Class 2A State Meet.
Leading the way is junior Alyssa Parco, already a two-time state qualifier in the hurdles. She was Section 1AA champion in the 300 hurdles and went on to place seventh at the state meet. Parco also helped the Tigers to a seventh-place state finish in the 4x200 relay, which also included Erin Hickey, Maria Kiminski and Amy Kiminski.
Hickey and Maria Kiminski helped the Tigers set a school record in the event and are back to lead the team's sprinters this season.
Also back with state experience is Nadia Lorecz, who battled injury while placing 17th in the event at state as a freshman last season. Lorencz was also a point-scorer in the triple jump and high jump at the conference meet.
Jessica Arey just missed qualifying for state in a pair of events last year. She ran a leg of Farmington's 4x100 relay at the section meet and emerged to placed fourth in the 300 hurdles.
The Tigers open the season Saturday, April 9, at the Holy Angels Indoor Meet at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.