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Farmington girls cross country: Revels wants pack behind Peterson

Several members of the Farmington girls cross country team met for practices three days a week all summer.

Head coach Heidi Revels is hoping they can continue running together when the meets begin this fall. The team’s No. 3, 4 and 5 runners finished in a span of just over 30 seconds at the Section 1AA Championship meet at the end of last season, and the result was a fifth-place finish that was the Tigers’ best in recent years.

“They started finishing closer together at the end of last year. When you finish closer together, you’re going to be better as a team,” Revels said. “There’s a lot of potential for the girls to move up and get better, but going into the South Suburban Conference for the first time is going to make things a little different. It will be interesting to see how we fit with those bigger teams.”

Eighteen runners reported for the first day of practice Monday, a few more than last season. Among those was returning state qualifier Lauren Peterson, who improved throughout the regular season last fall as a seventh-grader and emerged to finish sixth at the section meet. She has put in a lot of off-season work and is expected to once again set the pace for the Tigers.

“I think she is capable of making it to state again. With her experience, she has a higher comfort level and knows what to expect,” Revels said. “I think that’s going to help her a lot this year. She’s matured quite a bit and she’s been getting out there and running every day.”

Also returning to the lineup are eighth-grader Anna Palodichuk, who ran as the team’s No. 3 runner at times last season; sophomore Sami Hyytinen; senior Sofia Chadwick; junior Cella Pacheco; and eighth-grader Emily Schaffer.

“I was really happy to see how far they went on the first day,” Revels said. “They got a good start with all the miles they got under their belts before we even started.”

Among the new faces on the team are a pair of talented track runners — Morgan Mach and Jordan Walls. Mach ran alongside Peterson and Chadwick on the Tigers’ state-qualifying 4x800 relay and Walls competed in the hurdles and pole vault.

“It will be interesting to see if the new girls can compete with the varsity girls,” Revels said. “Mach has a good work ethic and wants to go out and do well and Walls ran all summer with the other girls and was with the faster group on the first day of practice.”

The Tigers begin the season next Thursday at the Twin Ports Invite in Duluth. They then compete Aug. 29 at the Rosemount Invite where they will go up against some of their new South Suburban Conference foes.