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Cross country: Tigers go back-to-back

Members of the Farmington girls cross country team, from left, Maria Kiminski, Bailey Opsal, Nicole Clifton and Maricia Pacheco take off at the start of Tuesday's New Prague Invitational. Matthew Steichen/Independent

Apparently the runners on the Farmington boys cross country team didn't lose any confidence while they were finishing among the middle of the pack in the team standings at large early-season meets like the Dakota County Invite and the Lakeville North Invite.

The Tigers emerged from a pack of seven teams to win the team title at the Pine Island Invitational last week, then made it two straight victories by topping the 11-team field with 47 points at last Thursday's New Prague Invitational.

It was also two straight victories for junior Elliot Fenske, who led from start to finish in running a 5,000-meter time of 16 minutes, 49 seconds to top the field of 68 runners at New Prague Golf Course.

Two other Farmington runners cracked the top 10 -- senior captain Nick Arenberg earned fifth in 17:46 and sophomore Chad Retterath moved up to seventh with a time of 17:57. Retterath ran past three competitors in the final 100 meters to crack the top 10 and break the 18-minute barrier.

Senior Levi Freetly provided a solid No. 4 score with a 13th-place time of 18:28 and Carl Elmer came through with the final counting score by completing the course in a 21st-place time of 19:03. Elmer stepped up in the absence of Lincoln Kirchoff, who is out with an injury.

"We needed someone to fill the fifth spot and Carl Elmer answered the call," said head coach Keith Revels.

Alec Wilson (25th, 19:24) and Josh Ruthenbeck (47th, 20:22) rounded out the varsity lineup.

"Another solid performance for the boys," Revels said.

Le Sueur-Henderson finished second in the team standings with 69 points, followed by third-place New Prague with 75 points.

The Farmington boys also won the JV race thanks to a 1-2-3 finish. Matt Thomas earned his varsity spot back with a winning time of 18:58, Alex Winkles was second at 19:35 and Justin Rees was third in 19:39.

The Tigers have this week off to rest up and prepare for next week's Missota Conference Championships at St. Catherine's in St. Paul.

Girls team places second

After the boys finished winning their second straight meet, the Farmington girls backed up their first-place finish at Pine Island with a runner-up showing at the New Prague Invitational.

Host New Prague dominated the meet, placing its five runners in the top 12 en route to a total of 37 team points. Farmington outclassed the rest of the field with 95 points, edging out third-place East Ridge by 12.

Junior Nicole Clifton returned from illness to pace the Tigers, running to a 12th-place time of 16:45 on the 4,000-meter course. Eighth-grade teammate Maricia Pacheco occupied the No. 2 spot, running a time of 16:52 for the second straight meet to finish 15th out of 72 runners.

Sophomore Maria Kiminski crossed the finish line 12 seconds later in 17:04 to earn 18th place and No. 4 runner Bailey Opsal came in 23rd in 17:16.

Farmington's fifth counting score came from another sophomore, Marissa Stewart, who earned 27th with a time of 17:28. Sophia Chadwick (37th, 17:57) and Victoria Jacoby (48th, 18:40) also competed in the varsity race as Maddie Strid sat out with an injury.

"The girls have been working hard in practice and it is starting to pay off for them," coach Heidi Revels said.