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Cross country: Farmington runners struggle at state meet

The state cross country meet didn’t go as planned for either of Farmington’s entrants on Saturday.Farmington’s Justin Hyytinen takes off at the start of Saturday’s Class 2A state meet.

Coming off a second-place time of 15 minutes, 53 seconds at the Section 1AA Championships, Justin Hyytinen figured to be a contender for all-state honors. The junior was in the top 15 when he reached the mile marker in 4:51, but quickly faded back into the pack and reached the finish 83rd in a time of 16:53 on the fast 5,000-meter course at St. Olaf College.

Hyytinen was 29th last year at state with a time of 16:11.

“I was right where I wanted to be at the mile marker. At the beginning of the year I came through at 4:50 and felt decent. Today was terrible. It was the worst time I’ve run in my life,” he said. “I didn’t feel good at all. I was out of breath 200 meters into the race. I don’t know what was happening. I could tell something wasn’t right – I just felt crappy today.”

The day unfolded in a similar fashion for Farmington girls runner Lauren Peterson. The seventh-grader broke out with a season-best time of 14:52 at the section meet, and started strong at her first state meet before struggling through the final mile.

Peterson reached the mile marker in 5:49 and ended up placing 131st in a time of 16:03 on the 4,000-meter course.

Both runners said they are planning to spent a lot of training in the off-season to prepare for another run at the state meet next fall.