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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All the optimism surrounding the Farmington boys lacrosse team looked justified after Monday night's season opener. The third-year program started the season with a victory for the first time ever as it blew by Simley 15-3 at Tiger Stadium. Mitch Collier paced a list of six Farmington goal-scorers with five goals and an assist. Matt Ackerman scored a career-high four goals and supplied two assists and Trevor Howard set a team record with eight points, backing up two goals with six assists. Brendon Berg scored a pair of goals and single goals were supplied by Cory Rudrud and Jacob Bauman.
Missota Conference rival Shakopee nipped Farmington 75-71 to win the two-team girls race at the season-opening Farmington Co-Ed Meet last Tuesday at Tiger Stadium. Returning all-stater Nadia Lorencz and Maria Kiminski won two events apiece as the Tigers claimed titles in half of the meet's 18 events. Lorencz, the Class 2A state runner-up in the 100 hurdles and long jump last spring, breezed to first-place finishes in both events.
Farmington won four events and came in third in the team race in its outdoor debut last Tuesday at Tiger Stadium. The Tigers scored 48 points, while Burnsville outscored Shakopee 75-63 for the team title at the three-team co-ed meet. The 4x200 relay team of Mason Auge, Sean McHenry, Tyler Lerbakken and Mason Gaylord scored the team's first victory with a time of 1 minute, 38.44 seconds. Freshman Justin Hyytinen followed that up by turning heads with a winning time of 4:42.54 in the 1,600.
Four Farmington errors led to two unearned runs and double plays killed rallies in the sixth and seventh innings as the Tigers dropped a 5-4 contest to Missota Conference rival Holy Angels Monday night at Feely Fields. "This is the type of game we needed to win, we just didn't execute defensively," veteran Farmington coach Mike Winters said. "We were in positions to make plays and didn't follow through. We need to clean that up.... Our pitching and hitting were fine." The Stars extended their lead to 5-1 with three runs against Farmington starter Jonathan Ellis in the top of the sixth.
No score was kept, but Farmington girls lacrosse coach Dan Pickens liked what he saw from his team in its first scrimmage of the season Friday night at Tiger Stadium. The Tigers scored plenty of goals and played stride-for-stride with an Eastview team that won three games last season in the South Suburban Conference. "I thought our girls looked good. Our scoring was very spread out. We got some scoring from the usuals and also from a bunch of newcomers," he said. "I try not and put too much stock in the goals scored for and against in the early season scrimmages.
Confidence is not usually a characteristic associated with a team that has lost 24 of its last 25 games. But for the Farmington lacrosse team, there's no shortage of confidence heading into the upcoming season. After taking their lumps in their first two seasons as a varsity program, the now-experienced Tigers look poised to make big strides in their level of play and put a few more games in the win column.
Paul Harrington got his first chance to see the majority of his new team in action Saturday afternoon and, for the most part, the veteran head coach liked what he saw. No scores were kept, but Harrington said the Farmington softball team played Burnsville and Hermantown "even up" and "had the advantage" against De La Salle in three 70-minute scrimmages at the Eden Prairie Dome. "The two things I liked were that the physical errors and the mental mistakes were very minimal. It was good to see," said Harrington, whose team was without three letter-winners who were gone over spring break.
Hometown: Swanville, Minn. College: Saint Cloud State University Family: Parents: Ernesto and Randi Valencia. Siblings: Mari, Rita, Juan, David and Eric. Eleven nieces and nephews. Years at Farmington: First What's your favorite part of being an athletic trainer? Assisting the athlete with injury care and prevention to ultimately allow them to compete at their highest potential. At the high school level, athletic trainers are exposed to many different sports.
Last year's team finished with a record of 1-10, but you lost four of those games by a single goal and three others by four or fewer goals. What does the team need to improve upon to come out on the other side of those close games this year? Very good point. We just need to keep plugging away. We had some tough breaks last year, including losing our starting goalie in the third game of the season. Luckily, Kaitlyn Lacroix stepped in very well. We need to create more offense this year. We have the players to do it, we just need to execute.
A large group of returning letterwinners and an influx of talented young players are making it a difficult week for Farmington baseball coach Mike Winters. Fifty players reported to Tiger Field for the first day of practice Monday afternoon, including 12 returning contributors from a team that went 4-17 a season ago. In all, 12 seniors and nearly 40 sophomores and juniors are vying for the 14 or 15 spots Winters has available on his varsity roster.