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Cross country: Hyytinen leads boys to 4th place

Another top-10 finish from Justin Hyytinen and a pack of four runners that crossed the finish line in a 10-second span helped the Farmington boys cross country team improve three places in the eight-team field at the Misssota Conference Championships last Tuesday at New Prague Golf Course.

The Tigers scored 109 points to edge Northfield (115) and Red Wing (121) in the battle for fourth place. Chaska defeated Chanhassen 50-72 for the team title and Shakopee followed in third with 74 points.

Hyytinen continued his impressive debut season by placing second out of 54 runners. The sophomore completed the 5,000-meter course in 16 minutes, 22 seconds, 27 seconds off the pace of conference champion Joey Duerr of Chaska. Hyytinen's silver-medal winning performance was the best by a Tiger runner at the conference meet since Ben Kampf won it in 2004.

Farmington's next two finishers were the only two carryovers from last year's seventh-place team, and both showed a lot of improvement. Senior Adam Wallenta ran a time of 18:31 on the course a year ago and came back to serve as the team's No. 2 runner with a 23rd-place time of 17:26 last Tuesday. Senior Tyler Lerbakken cut 38 seconds in placing 26th with a 17:30 clocking.

Senior Tommy Weigel was close behind in 27th with a time of 17:31 and freshman Alex Hart served as the team's No. 5 runner with a 31st-place time of 17:36.

Senior Caleb Eiffert (46th, 18:16) and junior Sean Dougherty (52nd, 18:35) also competed.

The Farmington girls matched their conference placing from a year ago with a sixth-place total of 152 points.

Junior Maricia Pacheco earned honorable mention all-conference honors with a 14th-place time of 15:31 on the 4,000-meter course. It was her best time of the season.

Sophomore Sofia Chadwick was 25th in 15:55 and senior teammate Maria Kiminski was five seconds back in 26th place.

Sami Hyytinen (43rd, 17:01) and Maricella Pacheco (44th, 17:02) provided the final two counting scores. Alexis Johnson (45th, 17:05) and Sarah Cummings (49th, 17:38) also competed.

The Tigers close out the season this afternoon at the Section 1AA Championships at Brooktree Golf Course in Owatonna. Hyytinen is expected to contend for Farmington's first individual state meet berth since Elliott Fenske in 2010.