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 poor early-season weather that postponed several meets is still affecting the Farmington tennis team. Three meets that were originally rained out were rescheduled for last week, leaving the Tigers with a stretch of eight meets in 11 days. That has allowed the team little time to practice or prepare for the upcoming section individual and team tournaments. "We certainly are busy," Farmington coach Jack Olwell said. "Any changes in our lineup or experiments in doubles partnerships must be done during matches.
Victories in the 4x400-meter relay and the long jump led Farmington to a fifth-place finish at the Missota Conference Relay Meet last Tuesday in Shakopee. Alyssa Parco and Erin Hickey were part of both gold medal-winning performances, first teaming up with school-record holder Nadia Lorencz for a combined distance of 47 feet, 4 3/4 inches to win the long jump by nearly four feet. Parco and Hickey then joined teammates Izzie Ferm and Maria Kiminski for a time of 4:04.43 that left runner-up Shakopee 3 1/2 seconds back.
The visiting Tigers didn't quit, and ended up putting a scare into second-place Shakopee Friday afternoon. The Tigers overcame an early 6-0 deficit and ended up tying the score at 6-6 before falling, 7-6, in eight innings. "We got down six early and did a great job of fighting back," coach Mike Winters said.
Perhaps only the Minnesota Twins can rival the number of injuries to key players sustained by the Farmington boys lacrosse team this season. Eight games into the program's second varsity season, the Tigers are without five players who began the season in the starting lineup.
Despite cold and rainy weather prevailing throughout much of the meet, Farmington was able to turn in 22 personal-best performances while placing sixth out of nine teams at Saturday's Eden Prairie Invite. The Tigers closed out the meet with their highest finish as the foursome of Jeff Hanson, Tyler Lerbakken, Tyler Grubb and Tanner Grubb combined on a second-place time of 3:34.03 in the 4x400-meter relay. "The 4x400 relay sent us off feeling pretty good about where we are," Farmington coach Brian Helmstetter said.
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.