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Cross country: Runners show progress at Shakopee meet

Both the Farmington boys and girls cross country teams saw some good things while finishing in the middle of the pack at last Tuesday's Shakopee Invitational.

The boys finished sixth out of 11 teams, but tightened the time among their top five runners down to 1 minute, 18 seconds. The fourth-place girls received a season-best time from Bailey Opsal and played three runners in the top 17.

Opsal finished eighth out of 67 runners with a 4,000-meter time of 16 minutes flat.

"Bailey Opsal had her best race of the season. She's been working hard for it," Farmington girls coach Heidi Revels said. "It's a good place for her to be this time of year, with our two biggest races left."

Nineteen seconds behind Opsal was freshman teammate Maricia Pacheco, who came in 15th. Two spots back was Maria Kiminski, who completed the course in 16:22.

The Tigers had a 30-second drop-off after that, with No. 4 runner Sofia Chadwick coming in with a 31st-place time of 16:53. Another eighth-grader, Victoria Jacoby, completed the varsity top five with a 41st-place time of 17:29.

Natalia Sitzman rounded out the varsity lineup with a 56th-place time of 18:22.

Both Marissa Stewart and Marcella Pacheco will be back in the varsity lineup this week as the Tigers compete in the Missota Conference Championships in New Prague. Revels expects Shakopee and New Prague to set the pace in the nine-team field.

"It's going to be tough competition," she said. "We hope to move up in the standings and with the time improvements that the girls have had, I think we can do it."

The Tiger boys also hope to carry their success at Shakopee into the conference meet. The boys finished sixth out of 11 teams at the meet, but they were just one point out of fifth and finished ahead of league rivals Chanhassen and Northfield.

Senior Elliot Fenske was once again the pace-setter, completing the 5,000-meter race in 17:12 to earn fifth place out of 77 runners.

After Fenske, the Tigers brought in their next four counting runners in a span of 15 seconds. Senior Carl Elmer led the charge with a 26th-place time of 18:15 and teammate Lincoln Kirchoff crossed the finish line six seconds later to earn 33rd place. Dan Block was one second and one place behind Kirchoff (34th, 18:22) and Ben Olson came in 39th in 18:30.

Non-counting varsity scores were turned in by Adam Wallenta (43rd, 18:41) and Alec Wilson (61st, 19:19).

"Our pack is coming around a little bit," boys coach Keith Revels said. "Hopefully another step in the right direction next week. Our pack and New Prague's pack are very tight. We're hoping to get past them next week. If we have a good day I think we can do it."