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Track goes back-to-back

Saturday proved to be another banner day for the Farmington boys track team.

The Tigers defended last year's first-ever section championship by winning five events and racking up 136 points at the Section 1AA Championships at Lakeville South.

In the process, the Tigers qualified eight events for this weekend's Class AA State Meet at Hamline University in St. Paul.

Senior sprinter Josh Jackson qualified for state for the third straight year and will appear in three events, the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and 4x200. He won the section crown in the 200 with a time of 22.60 seconds, two-hundredths faster than runner-up Jacob Capek of Rochester John Marshall, then anchored the 4x200 relay to first place in a time of 1:31.37, two-tenths ahead of second-place Austin. Jackson was third against a competitive field with a time of 10.81 in the 100, an event he placed ninth in at state last spring.

Also qualifying in three events was Josh Zitzmann, who joined fellow seniors Jackson, Adam Sturm and Derek Waldbillig in the 4x200 and went solo for a pair of section titles in the hurdle races. Zitzmann, who ran on last year's eighth-place 4x200 at the state meet and qualified in the 300 hurdles, opened Saturday's finals with a winning time of 15.04 in the 110 high hurdles. Two events later, he bested the field in the 300 hurdles with a time of 40.41 that was five-hundredths of a second faster than runner-up William Darling of Austin.

Farmington's other three state entrants will compete in the field events. Junior Logan Hussung will enter among the favorites in the shot put and discus after hanging with the state's best in a stacked section field, while senior Mike Amofah ranks seventh among 18 state qualifiers with his section-winning long jump of 22-01. Amofah and Zitzmann helped pad the winning point total with a 3-4 finish in the triple jump.

Hussung finished fourth in the shot put at the section meet, but his toss of 54-06 beat every other thrower in the state, leaving him ranked fourth among state entrants. His spin of 154-08 ranks him ninth out of 18 in the discus.

The Tigers had a pair of events -- the 4x800 relay and the high jump -- come up just short of state berths.

The 4x800 team of seniors Ryan Monroe and Isaiah Rockett, along with Levi Freetly and David Zitzmann, came up 10 seconds short of state qualification despite running a school-record time of 8:08.12. Rockett and Freetly went on to join Tyler Grubb and Andrew Thomas for a third-place finish in the 4x400 and Rockett chipped in a fifth-place run in the open 400.

High jumper Jake Lippert matched the winning height of 6-2, but fell to third place based on his number of misses.

The Class AA State Meet prelims get under way at 9 a.m. Friday with the 3,200-meter run finals. Zitzmann will be Farmington's first competitor when the 110 high hurdles get under way at 9:55 a.m. Head coach Brian Helmstetter said his athletes aren't looking past Friday's prelims.

"We will look at Friday as the biggest meet of the year and if we perform to our ability, we will compete on Saturday," he said. "These guys are incredible athletes and they will be ready for prelims on Friday. The rest will take care of itself."