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 wrestling team was rewarded for its effort after a grueling opening week to the dual season. After dropping four straight duals to state-ranked teams between Friday night's home double dual with Albert Lea and Anoka and the first two rounds of Saturday's Prior Lake Duals, the Tigers ended their two-year losing streak with a 39-30 victory over Montgomery-Lonsdale/LeCenter. "We were tested this weekend with some really tough competition.
A short-handed Farmington boys swimming and diving team opened the season with a third-place finish at Saturday's seven-team Prior Lake Invitational. The host Lakers won the meet, outscoring runner-up Cretin-Derham Hall 478-392. The Tigers were third with 288 points, followed by Watertown-Mayer-W-D-Holy Family (250), Apple Valley (214), White Bear Lake (198) and Shakopee (190). "The meet went pretty well," Farmington coach Ryan Hamen said.
Farmington led by nine points early in the second half Friday night before turnovers and poor shooting allowed Hastings to rally for a 62-55 non-conference win. The Tigers opened the second half with a 10-2 run, but made just two field goals over the final nine minutes as the Raiders got back in the game. The visitors led for the final time at 50-48 before the Raiders closed the game with a 14-5 run. "They hit a couple of threes and capitalized on some poor turnovers on our part and the game started to get out of control," Farmington coach Shane Wyandt said.
Farmington's two games last week provided perfect examples of the extremes at which a talented, but young and inexperienced hockey team can play. The Tigers ended their longest losing streak in recent memory, a six-game skid, with a 1-0 upset of 15th-ranked (Class 2A) Eden Prairie last Tuesday at Schmitz-Maki Arena.
Already playing with a short bench, the last thing the Farmington girls basketball team needed Friday night against Rochester John Marshall was foul trouble. The Tigers charged to an early 16-15 lead in their home opener before starters Mariah Mincke and Sofia Chadwick were whistled for their third fouls. The Rockets responded by going on a 13-0 run to end the first half and never trailed the rest of the way as they picked up win No.
The Austin Winter Warm-up was just what the Farmington gymnastics team needed to get its season started Saturday afternoon. The Tigers looked a little rusty as they suffered multiple falls in all four events, but coach Lynn Baumann was still pleased with the difficult routines her gymnasts attempted while finishing second out of seven teams with 132.7 points. The host Packers won the meet with a score of 137.3. "We had a very up and down meet, literally.... In saying that, this is why I like going to Austin. (That's why) they call it the Winter Warm-up," Baumann said.
The Farmington girls hockey team saw its losing skid stretch to six games after three more setbacks last week. The Tigers (1-6) scored just one goal during the slide, a first-period score by Haley Doll Saturday in an eventual 3-1 loss to 10th-ranked (Class 2A) Lakeville South at Haase Arena. Before that, the Tigers were shut out 2-0 last Thursday at New Prague and 1-0 in overtime last Tuesday at Wayzata. Senior goaltender Jessica Erchul gave up two early goals against the Cougars, but kept the game close by stopping 32 shots.
Saturday's finish at the Lakeville North Invite showed Farmington wrestling coach Chad Olson how much his team has improved over the last year. The Tigers finished 10th at the meet for the second straight time, but this year it came against a field of 16 teams rather than 14. Six of the team's wrestlers placed in the top six, up from four a season ago, and the Tigers combined to score 72 1/2 points. "It was a tougher tournament with more teams and we placed six wrestlers," Olson said. "Overall, we wrestled really well.
The Farmington boys hockey team is starting the 2011-12 season with games against six straight Section 1AA opponents. The Tigers are hoping wins will be easier to come by in the next four than they were in the first two. After skating to a 2-2 tie against an equally inexperienced Rochester John Marshall team in last Tuesday's season opener, the Tigers allowed four straight goals in an eventual 6-2 loss to Rochester Century back at Schmitz-Maki Arena Thursday. "Century's core group were juniors last year and are mostly intact -- and it showed," Farmington coach Keith Revels said.
For the first time in the history of NCAA Division II women's volleyball, Concordia University (34-2) captured a fifth consecutive NCAA Division II Championship by defeating top-ranked, previously unbeaten and tournament host California State University San Bernardino (32-1) in straight sets (25-20, 31-29, 25-18) on Saturday night at Coussoulis Arena. The Golden Bears have now won 30 consecutive NCAA Tournament matches and have eliminated CSUSB in four consecutive years.