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Girls track: Ferm, 4x400 advance to state

Farmington junior Izzie Ferm runs down the final straightaway during the 400-meter dash finals at the Section 1AA Championships Saturday at Lakeville South. Ferm won the event and also qualified for state as part of the Tigers' 4x400 relay.

Farmington will have a chance to improve on both of last year's sixth-place finishes when the Class 2A state track meet gets under way tomorrow at Hamline University in St. Paul.

Izzie Ferm was sixth as a sophomore last year in the 400, and helped the Tigers' 4x400 relay reach the same spot on the podium. Ferm sewed up her return trip with a section-winning time of 57.43 seconds Saturday at Lakeville South. She also anchored the 4x400 to a second-place and state-qualifying finish as the Tigers placed third in the final team standings with 58 points at the Section 1AA Championships.

Lakeville South dominated on its home track with 190 points and Lakeville North took runner-up honors with 123 points. The Tigers edged Rochester Century by two points in the battle for third.

"Third place was a great finish for our team," Farmington coach Tom Hart said. "We had some great performances and kids make it to the finals who really stepped up their game."

The 4x400 foursome of Ferm, Maria Kiminski, Alicia Hett and Megan Graham cut over a second off their seed time to stay within two seconds of first-place Lakeville South. They rank sixth among the 16 state-qualifying relays and will likely have to run 4-flat or better to make it to the podium.

The Tigers were on the verge of qualifying for state in the three other relays and ended up placing third in each of them. The 4x800 foursome of Alex Frost, Sofia Chadwick, Hett and Kiminski cut three more seconds off their season-best time with a 9:38, and Morgan Cecchettini ran legs on the 4x100 and 4x200, which each earned bronze medals. She was joined by Kelli Elmer, Nicole Doran and Emma Record in the 4x100 and Racquel Beckett, Jennifer Miller and Graham in the 4x200.

Cecchettini took a break from her relay schedule to earn a ninth-place finish in the 100.

The Tigers got multiple top-10 finishes from five other athletes: Nadia Lorencz, Destiny Schmitz, Maricia Pacheco, Aly Grebner and Record.

The results were most frustrating for Lorencz, the defending state champion in the 100 hurdles and long jump. The senior sprained her ankle a few weeks ago and still wasn't at 100 percent when she finished fourth in both events in Lakeville.

Schmitz also just missed the state meet in the triple jump, where she tied for second, but lost a tiebreaker to Lindsey Smits of Lakeville North after both jumped 35 feet, 2 3/4 inches. She was awarded third based on her next-best jump and added a seventh-place effort in the high jump.

Grebner provided the Tigers' lone scoring in the throws. She placed seventh in the shot put with a toss of 34-7 and added a 10th-place spin in the discus.

Record, an eighth-grader, placed eighth in both the 100 and 200, and distance runner Pacheco scored ninth in both the 1,600 and 3,200. Her 1,600 time of 5:29.27 was a personal best.