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Farmington's Hyytinen, Pacheco qualify for state cross country meet

Both the Farmington boys and girls cross country teams placed sixth and advanced an individual to the state meet at last Thursday's Section 1AA Championships at rain-soaked Brooktree Golf Course in chilly Owatonna.

The boys will be represented at St. Olaf College in Northfield Saturday afternoon by sophomore Justin Hyytinen, who ran a third-place time of 16 minutes, 18 seconds, for 5,000 meters in his first-ever section cross country meet. He's the latest in a line of individual state qualifiers for the Farmington boys, the most recent being Elliott Fenske in 2009 and '10.

"It was very exciting to watch Justin come in third place. He ran the race well. He knew how to start the race smart and kicked it in at the end," FHS boys coach Lisa Lippold said. "I am looking forward to watching Justin represent Farmington well at the state meet."

It had been much longer since the Tigers had a state qualifier on the girls side. Coach Lippold was the last Tiger runner to qualify for state in 1998 before junior Maricia Pacheco charged down the final stretch to earn the eighth and final state spot with a 12th-place time of 15:37 on the 4,000-meter course at Owatonna.

Pacheco's effort helped the Tiger girls improve 10 spots in the team standings with 198 points after coming in 16th out of 18 teams a year ago.

Sophomore Sofia Chadwick moved back into the No. 2 runner role and came in 20th with a time of 15:46.

The other three scoring runners ran as a pack and finished right in the middle of the 112-runner field. Eighth-grader Sami Hyytinen placed 54th in 16:40, senior Maria Kiminski 55th in 16:40 and freshman Maricella Pacheco 57th in 16:42.

Alexis Johnson (76th, 17:06) and Alexandra Laube (88th, 17:24) rounded out the varsity lineup.

On the boys side, the Tigers scored 196 points to edge Rochester John Marshall by one point in the battle for sixth place.

Senior Adam Wallenta served as the team's No. 2 runner in his final race, coming in 26th in 17:15. Alex Hart closed out a solid freshman season with a 47th-place time of 17:34 and senior Tyler Lerbakken was close behind in 48th in 17:34.

Junior Sean Dougherty provided the team's fifth counting score with a 72nd-place time of 18:02.

Seniors Clayton Webb (91st, 18:30) and Caleb Eiffert (97th, 18:45) also competed.

The Class 2A portion of the state meet gets under way Saturday afternoon in Northfield. The boys race is at 1 p.m. and the girls race will follow at 2 p.m.

Team standings

Boys: 1. Owatonna, 53; 2. Century, 125; 3. Red Wing, 151; 4. North, 154; 5. Northfield, 155; 6. Farmington, 196.

Girls: 1. South, 41; 2. North, 79; 3. Northfield, 137; 4. Albert Lea, 148; 5. Mayo, 179; 6. Farmington, 198.