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 girls golf team played as if it was eager to get started when the season finally opened Monday afternoon at New Prague Golf Club. The Tigers finished seventh out of eight teams, but cut 39 strokes off their score from last year's season opener with a total of 441 strokes. "The good news is that we improved by 39 strokes off our first outing last year," Farmington coach Rob Carpentier said.
Farmington's best early-season performers fit right in among the other top performers from around the state at Friday's Hamline Elite Meet in St. Paul. The Tigers sent four events to the meet and all four finished in the top 10. Sophomore Nadia Lorencz accounted for two of the efforts, placing third in the long jump and sixth in the triple jump. Her triple jump of 35 feet, 7 inches, broke her own school record set two weeks ago at the Tiger Invite and her long jump of 17-10 was just short of her own school record.
After plating just three runs in three games over the weekend, Farmington generated seven runs on 11 hits Monday night and was in position to pick up its second win of the season. The Tigers led 7-5 through six innings and starter Zach Wallace had just retired the first batter of the seventh. The next batter followed with a single and that's when the game began to unravel.
Farmington dropped another deceptively close meet Monday night against Minnehaha Academy. The Tigers once again won two matches and had a couple of close matches not go their way in a 5-2 non-conference loss in Minneapolis. The doubles team of Jeff Zakoski and Brian Waldbillig picked up its second straight win, 6-7 (5), 6-2. The tandem provided the Tigers' lone victory by a 6-4, 2-6 (10-6) score in Friday's 6-1 loss to Bloomington Kennedy. "They get better each match with Brian using strong ground strokes to set up Jeff at the net," Farmington coach Jack Olwell said.
A big first quarter propelled Farmington to a historic win Friday night. The Tigers surged to a 7-0 advantage and went on to capture the first win in the two-year history of the boys lacrosse program, 12-4 over the Huskies in Owatonna. "Overall it was our best and most complete game in two years," said coach Paul Sorensen, whose team lost to Owatonna 13-6 last season.
The Farmington girls lacrosse team was motivated to win -- and to stay warm -- Monday night. Eight players scored and the Tigers netted their first win of the season, 14-6 over Rochester Century at Tiger Stadium. "Even though it felt like Nov. 2 rather than May 2, we came out to win. The girls knew the only way to stay warm was to run as fast as they could and they did," Farmington coach Dan Pickens said.
Ashley Betzold must enjoy pitching against Holy Angels. The sophomore shut out the Stars for the third time in her young varsity career Tuesday afternoon, holding them to five hits while striking out six in a 4-0 Tigers victory in Richfield. In four career starts against Holy Angels, Betzold is 4-0 and has allowed two runs in 28 innings. She was given a lead to work with on Tuesday when Paige Lindrud led off the third with a walk and Aleah Williamson followed a Holy Angels error with a two-run single.
Farmington was a couple of tight doubles matches away from knocking off unbeaten Chanhassen Thursday night in Chanhassen. The Tigers' duo of Peter Folz and Tyler Olsen picked up a hard-earned 6-2, 6-4 win at No. 2 doubles, but Chanhassen claimed three-set thrillers in the other two doubles matches and held on for a 5-2 win in the match. Farmington's Jeff Zakoskie and Brian Waldbillig lost 5-7, 6-4, 4-6 at No. 2 doubles and the No. 3 doubles team of Austin Tremmel and Colton Sanders fell, 3-6, 6-4, 5-7. "We put quite a scare in them.
This spring's weather hasn't been kind to the Farmington boys track team. Snow kept the team from practicing outside during much of March, then cold weather and rain led to the postponement of the Mega Meet in Lakeville April 15 and the Farmington Invite last Tuesday. The Tigers finally got back on the track for their first meet in nine days last Thursday at Rosemount, and were promptly greeted by cold wind and rain early on in the meet. "It was great getting a meet in and a chance to compete," Farmington coach Brian Helmstetter said.
Putting together two strong halves of play continued to be an issue for the Farmington girls lacrosse team Monday night. In the Tigers' season opener at Lakeville South, they forced overtime after falling behind 7-4 in the first half. Against Rochester John Marshall last week, they hung within a goal in the first half before being outscored 7-1 after the break.