Matt Steichen has been the sports editor at the Farmington Independent and Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa. He has previously been a sports writer at the Sioux City Journal and Le Mars Daily Sentinel and the sports editor at the Austin Daily Herald.
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The Farmington and Rosemount softball teams escaped the cold spring weather by moving into the Irish Dome for a scrimmage last Wednesday morning. No official score was kept, but the live-game action gave both coaches an opportunity to evaluate their teams and find things they need to work on as they prepare for the upcoming season. "It was a great experience to get out of the gym and play in some game-type situations," Farmington coach Paul Harrington said. "We know we have a lot of improvements to make to get where we want to be by our first game....
Records continued to fall for the Farmington boys and girls track teams at last Wednesday's University of St. Thomas indoor meet. The boys team set three indoor school records on the 200-meter Field House track in St. Paul. Tanner Grubb provided one in the 400-meter dash and came back to run a 52-second split in the 4x400 relay.
The Farmington girls lacrosse team has a lot going for it, including an experienced goalie, a solid group of returning midfielders and a talented crop of newcomers that helped the JV team go undefeated last season. One big question remains: Who is going to score the goals for the Tigers this spring? The team lost eight seniors to graduation from last year's 9-5 squad, including six that combined to score 127 of its 152 goals. "We lost about 85 percent of our scoring, so we will have to replace a lot of that," Farmington coach Dan Pickens said. "We will be quick to reload, however.
The Farmington boys and girls track teams got their first chance to face some competition Friday night at an eight-team indoor scrimmage at St. Olaf College. No official results were kept, but both head coaches were pleased with a good portion of the performances turned in by their teams. "St. Olaf went well and we had some nice improvements from last year already," Farmington boys coach Brian Helmstetter said. "Our relays ran real well and all three took first in their heats, but more importantly they had some nice timed performances....
The Farmington baseball team is going to have to overcome its own inexperience if it's going to be competitive in a talented Missota Conference this spring. The Tigers lost seven senior starters to graduation and return just four players who saw significant varsity playing time from last season's 7-13 squad. "Our questions marks are going to be our pitching rotation and our overall varsity experience," veteran coach Mike Winters said. "With the conference being as tough as it will be -- similar to basketball -- we know we have the talent to compete with every team.
Last year's success has raised expectations for the Farmington boys lacrosse team. The Tigers combined to win just one game in two seasons before emerging to go 7-5 in the regular season and defeat Rochester John Marshall for the program's first section victory last spring. Seventeen letter-winners are back from that team and looking to build off their breakout season. "We have a lot of returning players from that team....
Farmington native John Barger was inducted into the Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association Hall of Fame at a banquet March 7 at the River Centre Grand Ballroom in St. Paul. Barger was born and raised in Farmington. His family moved to Hallock before his senior year of high school in 1970 and he continued his hockey career at Mankato State. He started his 28-year coaching career at Northfield High School in 1977 and spent 26 years as a head coach, with 19 of those years at Jamestown, N.D., St. Louis Park and Burnsville.
Everything came together for the Farmington softball team during its run to the state tournament last spring. Now, Mother Nature is keeping the Tigers from fully preparing for a fitting encore. All three starting outfielders graduated from the 2012 squad that finished with a record of 17-6 and won a share of the Missota Conference championship, and the latest round of snow means it could be weeks before head coach Paul Harrington can get his newcomers outside the Boeckman Middle School gym to take fly balls.
Ninth-ranked Lakeville North scored 51 points in the first half and shot 54 percent from the field in ending Farmington's season with a 94-65 decision in the Section 1AAAA semifinals Saturday night in Lakeville. "We got off to a poor start and just could not recover," Farmington coach Shane Wyandt said. "They were very good and could have beaten just about anyone with how well they shot the basketball. We came out a little jittery on offense and for some reason we had some guys missing assignments on defense." Those missed assignments helped the Panthers free up for a 13 three-pointers.
More than 200 youth gymnasts came to Farmington Saturday and Sunday for the Division 4, 5 and 6 MAGA state championships. The Farmington Twisters and Rosemount Lucky Charms both competed in Division 6 Saturday morning. The Lucky Charms placed third with a score of 118.65 and the Twisters were sixth at 116.25. On Sunday, Rosemount's Shakin' Shamrocks placed third in Division 4 with a 123.55. "Congrats to all the girls. They did an amazing job," Farmington coach Lynn Bauman said. "I think everything went very well.