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Boys trrack and field: Tigers surprise at Missota Relay meet

Members of the Farmington boys track team were as surprised as anyone when they were crowned champions at last Tuesday's Missota Conference Relays in Shakopee.

Without winning any events, the Tigers racked up 177 points to win the meet by a comfortable margin over runner-up Chanhassen, which scored 161 points. Shakopee was third with 149 points, followed by Red Wing (147), Northfield (140), New Prague (108), Holy Angels (69) and Chaska (68).

"I think the boys were caught off guard with their finish, but were awfully excited when the scores were read at the end of the meet as the captains grabbed the trophy," Farmington coach Brian Helmstetter said. "This was a great meet to acknowledge the team concept and the fact that everyone competing has a place. It was a competitive and gritty night."

The meet format played right into the hands of the Tigers. Their depth allowed them to place high with their second and third field event performers and fill out competitive foursomes in all 11 relay races. In all, the Tigers finished with seven second-place finishes, five thirds, three fourths, two fifths and no sixths, sevenths or eighths.

"Tonight is a numbers game and we have a ton of depth," Helmstetter said. "Some of the schools have some great runners that will help them at the conference meet in May, but tonight it is about talent across the entire meet with the unique format of tallying up everyone's total and scoring each event as a team."

Four of the team's seven runner-up finishes came in the field events. CJ Wynings, Bret Hoffman and Joe Ouyang accounted for all three performances in the shot put and discus. Reid Taubenheim, Cullen Smith and Connor Phu teamed up for second in the pole vault and Smith, Justin Hett and Josh Baker combined for second in the triple jump.

On the track, the middle-distance runners shined. Chad Retterath anchored the 1,600 sprint medley to second place, Justin Hyytinen ran the 1,600 anchor leg for the second-place distance medley relay and the 4x800 foursome of Eric Stoeckman, Tyler Lerbakken, Jared Wolt and Trevor Breezley combined on a second-place finish.

Third-place finishes were turned in by the 4x100, 4x400, thrower 4x100, high jump and long jump.

The Tigers were back at Shakopee Thursday and finished first in what amounted to a practice meet with Chanhassen, Shakopee, Chaska and Northfield all competing with incomplete squads.

Nine first-place finishes helped Farmington rack up 184 points to runner-up Chanhassen's 76 1/2.

"The boys team was looking to solidify who was going to be our third athlete in some of the events on Tuesday's big True Team meet at Rochester and also who were going to be our four runners in the relays and I think we solved some of the questions," Helmstetter said.

Tanner Grubb stated his case for a spot in one of the Tigers' relays by returning after a two-week absence to win the 400 in 52.42. Retterath was right behind in 54.07.

Grubb's 400 was part of a Tiger sprint sweep as Thomas Weigel won the 100, Lerbakken cruised to victory in the 200 and the 4x100 took home the gold.

Also placing first were the 4x400 relay, Hyytinen in the 800, Sam Wyatt in the triple jump, Sean McHenry in the long jump, Baker in the 300 hurdles and Tanner Thode in the shot put.

McHenry was second in the triple jump, Wyatt was runner-up in the long jump and Smith turned in runner-up performances in the pole vault and high jump. Berg added a second-place finish in the 100 highs.