Cross country: Tiger runners gear up for section meet at ShakopeeThe Farmington boys and girls cross country teams prepared for today's Section 1AA cross country meet by competing at the Shakopee Invitational last Tuesday at Memorial Park.
By: Matt Steichen, The Farmington Independent
The Farmington boys and girls cross country teams prepared for today's Section 1AA cross country meet by competing at the Shakopee Invitational last Tuesday at Memorial Park.
The Tiger boys placed fourth out of 12 teams with 117 points, one point off the pace of third-place Chaska. They beat five other Missota Conference teams — New Prague, Prior Lake, Red Wing, Northfield and Shakopee.
Eden Prairie put four runners in the top eight en route to 28 points and the team championship, while Bloomington Jefferson, led by individual champion Jake Sandry, earned second on the team race with 72 points.
"Eden Prairie literally ran away with the title. One would hope that was their top dogs out there," Farmington coach Keith Revels said. "Red Wing was obviously resting their top fellas and were down in the standings."
Farmington sophomore standout Elliot Fenske capped off his breakout regular season with a seventh-place finish in the field of 85 runners. He completed the 5,000-meter course in 17 minutes, 5 seconds, which was just two seconds back of sixth place and 10 seconds away from the top three.
Senior Ryan Monroe followed with another solid effort in the final regular season meet of his career, placing 15th in 17:25, and juniors Nick Arenberg and Levi Freetly followed in their usual roles as the team's Nos. 3 and 4 runners. Arenberg was 26th in 17:56 and Freetly less than a second back in 27th.
Farmington's final scoring spot was occupied by freshman Chad Retterath, who crossed the finish line 42nd in 18:20. He was followed closely by a pair of sophomores, Carl Elmer and Matt Thomas, who were 49th and 50th, respectively, in 18:39.
"The boys ran to status quo," Revels said. "All seven boys maintained positions for sections (today). The boys were seventh last year and with a good day we can improve that a spot or two. We want to remain in the top half of a tough field."
Last year, the Tigers entered with hopes of finishing in the top five, but Monroe and Arenberg fell back into the pack and the team ended up scoring 204 points and finishing a spot behind a Red Wing team they beat at the Missota Conference Championships. Defending section champion Owatonna is back to defend its home turf after graduating none of their top five runners from a year ago, while runner-up Lakeville North and third-place Lakeville South both return six of their top seven.
Clifton leads seventh-place girls
Another breakout performance by sophomore Nicole Clifton highlighted a seventh-place finish for the girls team last Tuesday afternoon in Shakopee.
Clifton placed 17th out of 81 runners in a time of 15:57 for 4,000 meters, her fifth straight clocking under 16:15 dating back to the Pine Island Invitational in September. Senior teammate Jackie Beckett was seven places back in a time of 16:10 and freshman Bailey Opsal rounded out a strong top three with a 37th-place time of 16:25.
Eighth grader Maria Kiminski once again occupied the team's No. 4 slot, crossing the finish line 52nd in 16:53, and seventh grader Maricia Pacheco was fifth for the team and 68th overall in 17:43. Emily Gerster (72nd, 17:57) and Maddie Strid (73rd, 18:30) completed the Tiger varsity lineup.
"We have a nice top four and need one more gal to join the party," Revels said. "Marissa Stewart and Naomi Wood ran strong in the JV race and would have been fifth and sixth varsity runners for the day. Those two and Maricia Pacheco, barring any unforeseen circumstances, will be trying to close the gap on our top four (today)."
The Tigers were 11th out of 16 teams at last year's Section 1AA meet in Owatonna, scoring 319 team points. However, Opsal was the only runner to break the 17-minute mark at the meet and the Tigers have consistently put four runners under that time this season.
The section looks as strong as ever with defending champion Lakeville North, third-place Waseca, fourth-place Lakeville South and sixth-place Rochester Mayo all returning their entire lineups.
"It would top off a season of great gains to see them crack the top half of the section," Revels said.
The Section 1AA championships get underway at 3 p.m. at Brooktree Golf Course in Owatonna.