A top 10: The past five years of FHS sportsIndependent sports editor Matthew Steichen is celebrating his fifth anniversary covering Tiger sports by counting down the best Farmington High School teams of the past half decade.
Independent sports editor Matthew Steichen is celebrating his fifth anniversary covering Tiger sports by counting down the best Farmington High School teams of the past half decade.
Boys cross country, 2007
A 40-second spread between its top five runners allowed the 2007 Farmington cross country team to defeat Hutchinson by a single point and earn its first Missota Conference championship at St. Catherine’s in St. Paul.
Ryan Monroe earned all-conference honors, as did freshman teammate Elliot Fenske, who would go on to become an individual state qualifier his junior and senior seasons.
Sophomore Sam Larkin emerged to place 12th and Erik Huls was right behind in 13th. Nick Arenberg battled through injury to provide the final counting score with a 20th-place finish.
The 2007 Tigers also won a team title at Pine Island and placed second at Northfield and at their home meet before coming in seventh, their highest finish ever, at the Section 1AA meet in Owatonna.
Boys swimming, 2011
A state championship performance by senior Tyler Magalis in the 1-meter dive led the 2011 Farmington boys swimming and diving team to 14th place, its best-ever team finish at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center.
Magalis, a four-year state qualifier, ran away with the event with a total of 461.35 points.
The Tigers competed in six events and scored 62 points.
Senior Brian Huls scored All-State honors with a pair of top-10 finishes, placing ninth in the 50 freestyle and eighth in the 100 freestyle. The team also competed in two relays and got a school-record swim from Allen Berg in the 500 freestyle.
The 2011 Tigers also qualified for the True Team state meet for the first time ever and won the program’s first-ever Missota Conference championship.
Girls basketball, 2011
The 2011 Farmington girls basketball team started the season 11-0, won a share of the Missota Conference and ran up a record of 23-3 before suffering a heart-breaking defeat to Rochester Mayo in the section finals.
The Tigers were led by a group of six seniors: Shelby Calhoun, Jamie Kenealy, Jordan Bridges, Elena Koch, Sarah Silber and Jessica Gaalswyk. Kenealy, Bridges and Koch, all measuring around six feet or taller, gave the team a front line that was difficult to defend and score against. The team allowed an average of just 39.8 points per game.
On the perimeter, the Tigers looked to 1,000-point scorer Taylor Meyer, who led the team with averages of 14 points and eight rebounds per game.
The team earned a No. 1 section seed for the first time ever and set a program record for victories.
Girls swimming, 2011
The Farmington girls swimming and diving team has continually raised the bar for itself over the last five years.
The Tigers placed secon at the True Team section meet and third at the conference meet last fall before capping of the season with a 13th-place total of 72 points at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center.
The team earned All-State honors and set new school records in four events at state.
Sophomore Kaitlyn O’Reilly earned All-State in three events, including the 200 medley relay, which was the school’s first All-State relay. She was also seventh in the 200 IM and third in the 100 backstroke.
Zoe Avestruz, a freshman, swam in the 200 IM and also earned All-State honors with an eighth-place swim in the 50 freestyle.
Boys basketball, 2009
Like the football team the previous fall, the 2009 Farmington boys basketball team put together a memorable regular season that would ultimately end with a disappointing loss in the section tournament.
The Tigers started the season 7-6 before going on a tear, winning 11 in a row and 13 of 14 games to fnish the regular season with a record of 20-7. The team wound up 12-2 in the Missota Conference to capture the school’s first league title since 1962.
Inside-outside threat Jake Lippert led the team with an average of 14.8 points per game. Fellow senior Josh Zitzmann added 13 per game and seniors David Steege and Brent Beenken each added eight per game. Connor Duffy, Justin Lavey and Kyle Winkelman added key minutes.
Coach Paul Harrington’s first season with his alma mater was a memorable one.
The Farmington softball team followed up a couple of seasons where it finished right around .500 by going 11-3 to win a share of the Missota Conference title and and advancing to the state tournament for the second time ever with a record of 17-4.
Junior Ashley Betzold led the Tigers both on the rubber and at the plate. She picked up all 23 decisions in the center of the diamond, hit over .400 for the season and hit two home runs in one game at state.
Allie Rice added some pop in the middle of a lineup mostly comprised of speedy singles hitters, bombing four home runs and hitting over .400, as well.
Toni Hunsinger and Brooke Searles were also first-team all-conference picks and Taylor Haakana and Amber Doyle were honorable mention selections.
There was a time in the not-too-distant past when the Missota Conference didn’t provide much of a challenge for the Farmington football team.
In the fall of 2008, the Tigers wrapped up their third undefeated run through the league in four years with a 27-0 shutout of Shakopee in Week 8. Other scores from the regular season included 41-13, 44-0, 34-14, 35-7 and 41-12.
It took a talented Lakeville South team to finally hand the Tigers a loss, 34-23, in the Section 1AAAAA playoffs.
Quarterback Brent Beenken finished with over 1,000 yards through the air and 17 touchdowns to five interceptions. Derek Waldbillig added over 1,000 yards on the ground and Josh Zitzmann was a dual threat at receiver and on punt and kick returns.
Nick Albano and Dan Tutewohl paced a defense that allowed 73 points in eight games.
Girls track, 2012
It wasn’t uncommon for Farmington outscore many of its opponents with just five or six of its athletes during the spring of 2012.
With double state champion Nadia Lorencz, sprinter/hurdler Alyssa Parco and sophomore sensation Izzie Ferm leading the way, the Tigers scored points in bunches. All three were Missota Conference and Section 1AA champions, helping the Tigers place second and third, respectively, at those meets.
The team also shined at state, placing fourth for the second straight year with 40 points.
Lorencz scored the school’s first girls state track championships in the long jump and 100 hurdles, Ferm reached the podium with two top-eight individual finishes and Ferm and Parco joined Alicia Hett and Megan Graham for a sixth-place effort in the 4x400.
After back-to-back 20-win seasons ended with disappointing section tournament losses, the Farmington volleyball team finally broke through for its first state tournament appearance in the fall of 2009.
The Tigers advanced to state with a five-game thriller over Rochester Century in the section title game, and then defeated Alexandria in the consolation bracket at Xcel Energy Center.
Versatile four-year starter Danielle Dombeck led a nine-member senior class that also included Alexia Rains, Rachel Sand, Lauren McHenry, Erin Wynings, Elizabeth Pappenfus, Samme Skokan, Meredith Gulsvig and Emily Baago.
The team often dominated front-row play thanks to All-Stater Katie Habeck. The junior earned all-tournament honors and went on to establish school records for blocks and kills.
Girls hockey, 2008
The 2007-08 season was supposed to one of transition for the Farmington girls hockey team. After a second-place state tournament finish in February of ‘07, the team said goodbye to an eight-member senior class, as well as long-time coach Keith Revels, who stepped down following the season. The Tigers also faced a new challenge as they would make the jump to Class 2A for the 2007-08 season.
None of those changes fazed the Tigers, who went on to place fourth at Xcel Energy Center in their first season under current head coach Jon Holmes. A mixture of experienced seniors and talented young players proved to be a winning combination as the Tigers went 19-9-2, with the 19th and final victory being a 1-0 upset of Eagan in the opening round at state.
Seniors Rachel Ripley, Heidi Hegseth, Brittany Brown, Chelsea Anderson and Kelsey Carey provided leadership as the team overcame a 7-6-2 start to win 12 of its next 13 games. The freshman tandem of Krystal Baumann and Hannah Alexander added a spark on the offensive end and eighth-grade goaltender Jessica Erchul emerged for 35 saves in the first-round upset of the Wildcats.