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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Farmington eighth-grader Taylor Venz looked far from intimidated in his first time competing at the Class 2A State Wrestling Tournament. Venz, the first Farmington eighth-grader to qualify for state, won two of his four matches in the 106-pound division last weekend at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. He finished the season with a record of 32-7. "Taylor wrestled very well at the state tournament. I was extremely impressed with the composure and maturity Taylor displayed.
The Farmington girls basketball team was four minutes away from pulling off a big upset against Rochester Mayo in last Wednesday's Section 1AAAA tournament opener. The Tigers committed some costly fouls and turnovers down the stretch and saw a six-point lead disappear in the final four minutes as the second-seeded Spartans advanced with a 47-42 victory in Rochester. "It was a great game. We had it within our grasp," said Farmington coach Sondra Chadwick, whose team finished 6-20 in her first year at the helm. "The team played outstanding defense in the game.
Farmington's Darren Beenken was one of 50 juniors -- and fewer than 10 quarterbacks -- to attend the invitation-only University of Minnesota football Junior Day last Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium. Beenken and the rest of the group began the afternoon by listening to an introductory speech from head coach Jerry Kill.
Farmington scored the first goal, but it was all Lakeville North from there on out in last Thursday's Section 1AA hockey opener at Ames Arena. The Tigers held a 1-0 advantage over nine minutes into their game against the second-seeded Panthers courtesy of a power-play goal by Sean Johnson (assists to Jack Buss and Jordan Lugowski) at 7:52. The upset bid was quickly halted as the home team scored six unanswered goals over the next 22 minutes and cruised to an 8-2 victory. Lakeville North and top-seeded Lakeville South square off in the section finals tonight in Rochester.
Less than a year ago, Taylor Venz was wrestling as a 91-pounder at national youth tournaments. Coming off a high school season where he went 3-4 while going up against varsity opponents in the 103-pound weight class, the seventh-grader knew he would have to put on some weight to be successful. Ten months and 15 pounds of muscle later, Venz is the first Farmington eighth-grader to qualify for the state wrestling tournament. He captured the Section 1AAA title at 106 pounds by going 3-0 last weekend at Shakopee. "Last year I was really small compared to the other guys I wrestled.
The Farmington basketball team is making a habit out of winning in dramatic fashion. The Tigers held on for a last-second win for the fourth time in five games Friday night, outlasting New Prague 45-44 at Tiger Gym. The home team led by a single point, 43-42, with 38 seconds left when Johnny Dittman found Mac Bassett for a lay-up on a long inbound pass to account for the game-winning points.
Farmington will try to pull a Rochester Mayo in the opening round of the Section 1AAAA tournament. Last year, Mayo was dealt an early-season 63-38 loss by Farmington, but adjusted their lineup and improved throughout the season before finally upsetting the heavily-favored Tigers in the section championship game. This year, the roles have been reversed. Farmington lost several key players from last year's team, and was still without standout senior Taylor Meyer when Mayo came to town and rolled to a 60-36 victory in late December.
Those who reminisce about the '90s may remember a No Fear t-shirt that proclaimed second place to be the "first loser." Nadia Lorencz doesn't look at it that way, even though she's made a habit of placing second on the biggest of prep stages over the last year. She narrowly missed state titles in the 100 hurdles and the long jump at the Class 2A State track meet last spring, and most recently she earned runner-up honors in the vault at last Saturday's Class 2A State gymnastics meet at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion.
Farmington will once again be well represented at the Class 2A State Swimming and Diving Championships. The Tigers, who placed 14th with six qualifying events at last year's state meet, will send five athletes in five events to this weekend's Class 2A State Meet after placing third at the Section 1AA Championships Saturday at the Rochester Recreation Center. Christopher Kirchmann, part of last year's 10th-place state relay, will return in four events this year.
The Farmington boys hockey team didn't build the momentum it had hoped heading into the Section 1AA tournament. The Tigers lost their final four games of the regular season, including three where they scored a combined four goals last week, as they slipped to sixth in the final Missota Conference standings. After Saturday's 5-1 loss at 4-20 Rosemount, the 7-16-2 Tigers were given the No. 7 seed in Section 1AA and a date with No. 2 Lakeville North tonight at Ames Arena. "It's been a tough road for the coaches and players.