Cross country: Hoping for moreAdvancing to the state meet wasn't among the expectations for Farmington's cross country teams heading into last Thursday's Section 1AA championships.
By: Matt Steichen, The Farmington Independent
Advancing to the state meet wasn't among the expectations for Farmington's cross country teams heading into last Thursday's Section 1AA championships.
Nonetheless, head coach Keith Revels couldn't help but feel like his teams were capable of more after turning a pair of 11th-place finishes at Brooktree Golf Course in Owatonna. After a regular season in which several runners showed consistent improvement from meet to meet, the Tigers, for the most part, saw their individual times return to around their season averages as they fell behind Missota Conference foes they’d beaten consistently during the season.
"Overall, it was not the outcome we were hoping for, but that should not overshadow a season where our runners showed some great improvements," Revels said.
The Tiger boys scored 294 team points, 40 more than an eighth-place Northfield team they beat throughout the regular season. A large portion of those points would have been made up by sophomore standout Elliot Fenske, who battled a hip injury in placing 42nd in 17 minutes, 23 seconds. Fenske was 17th in the same race last season as a freshman.
"The boys struggled a bit on the day. (Elliot) has been nursing a bad hip that seemingly was getting worse as we got closer to the section meet," Revels said. "Obviously, it was a bigger factor than we had hoped. Being only a sophomore, he has another two seasons to make a run for a state meet qualifying spot."
Farmington's best performance of the day came from senior Ryan Monroe, who closed out his standout career with a time of 16 minutes, 52 seconds for 5,000 meters, good enough for 24th out of 111 runners. Revels said Monroe, a team captain and three-time all-conference performer, will be greatly missed next season.
"He will be sorely missed," Revels said. "He had a great career and we wish him the best this spring in track and on into a college running career. The good news is that Ryan is the only senior on the section roster, which hopefully will equate to continued improvement in the season ahead."
A pair of juniors, Nick Arenberg and Levi Freetly, should be ready to move up in the lineup next season after serving as the team's Nos. 3 and 4 runners this fall. At the section meet, Arenberg placed 66th in 17:52 and Freetly was 77th in 18:05.
Sophomore Matt Thomas completed the varsity lineup with an 85th-place time of 18:17. Freshman Chad Retterath was 91st in 18:32 and sophomore Carl Elmer placed 96th in 18:48.
Owatonna, led by individual champion Jacob Bastyr's sharp time of 15:53, won the team title 62-79 over runner-up Lakeville South. Missota Conference champion Red Wing finished fourth with 141 points.
Like the boys team, the Farmington girls slipped behind Missota rivals Red Wing and Northfield in finishing with 300 team points.
Sophomore Nicole Clifton continued her late-season streak of solid performances with a time of 16:02 for 4,000 meters. The effort earned her 32nd place out of 109 runners.
Freshman Bailey Opsal served as the team's No. 2 runner with a 54th-place time of 16:32 and Jackie Beckett, the team's lone senior and team captain, followed close behind with a 61st-place 16:39 clocking. Like Monroe, Beckett will look to cap off her distance running career with another strong showing on the track this spring.
"She was our top performer for most of the early outings and was an all conference honorable mention runner this year," Revels said. "She is poised for a great track season as well as a college career in track and cross country."
Beckett was followed by No. 4 runner Maria Kiminski, who closed the gap with a 69th-place time of 16:44. Seventh-grader Maricia Pacheco completed the counting scores with an 84th-place time of 17:32, giving the team a spread of 90 seconds from No. 1 to No. 5.
The varsity lineup was rounded out by two more underclassmen, Naomi Wood and Marissa Stewart. Wood finished 87th in 17:36 and Stewart was 96th in 18:17.
Lakeville North placed three runners in the top 10 to win the meet with 50 team points. Runner-up Winona scored 92 points, just two ahead of third-place Lakeville South.