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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It was a matchup of contrasting pitching styles Monday afternoon in Farmington. Both senior starting pitchers -- Farmington's Justin Tang and Prior Lake's T.J. Larson -- entered among the Missota Conference's leaders in wins and ERA. Tang had used his control and ability to change speeds to compile a 3-0 record, a save and a 1.82 ERA so far this season, but it was Larson, a power pitcher, who used seven strikeouts to hold Farmington to one unearned run over six innings and pick up his sixth win in Prior Lake's 6-4 victory.
Farmington didn't have the depth to hang with the likes of Lakeville North, Lakeville South and Rochester Mayo in the girls portion of last Tuesday's Section 1AA True Team Meet in Rochester. The Tigers continued to get strong performances in standout events like the 300 hurdles and the 4x200 and 4x400 relays -- all of which finished first -- but it was the teams that could place three competitors in the top 10 of the individual events that rose to the top in a meet where the top 27 finishers were awarded points.
Farmington's first-year boys lacrosse team finished five goals in back of a pair of opponents last week, dropping a 12-7 decision to Owatonna and an 11-6 verdict to Spring Lake Park. Quinn Malcolm accounted for three of the goals Monday against Spring Lake Park, giving him nine for the season. Matt Ackerman added two goals and Justin Rees scored once. Assists were provided by Nick Midboe (2), Alex Rojesky and Mitch Collier. Charlie Weierke played 40 minutes in goal and allowed nine of Spring Lake Park's goals.
Farmington outscored its opponents by a total of four runs last week, but had just two wins and three losses to show for it after a busy stretch of five games in five days. The Tigers split Missota Conference games with Red Wing and Shakopee last week before dropping a pair of two-run games to Woodbury and East Ridge at the Lakeville North Tournament. Tuesday's game against conference-leading and seventh-ranked Prior Lake was rained out, so the 8-6 Tigers will resume their schedule tonight with a home game against Northfield. Farmington 5, Red Wing 1 Kelsey Betzold was 2 for 3 with three
With youth comes inconsistency. That's become quite clear for first-year Farmington boys golf coach Jon Holmes, who has yet to fill out the same top six for any of his team's meets so far this year. The Tigers' latest lineup featured a junior and five sophomores and resulted in a ninth-place finish out of 10 teams at Saturday's Dakota County Invite at Emerald Greens Golf Course. "It seems as if right now everyone is able to shoot well or not so well," Holmes said. "Such is golf life when you have a young team.
It's been almost four years since the Farmington baseball team has put together this good a stretch of play. Going back to a 10-9 road victory over New Prague on April 27, the Tigers have won four of their last five games. The last time coach Mike Winters' team did that was from May 17-29 of the 2006 season. Winters said the team has been improving in all three phases of the game -- hitting, pitching and defense -- during its current run. "We've really been hitting and pitching well. At the plate we're doing a good job of staying back and going with the pitch.
Despite losing quite a few of its varsity players from last year's team, Northfield had no trouble disposing of Farmington, 7-0, in a Missota Conference tennis meet last Thursday at Boeckman Middle School. "This team was amazingly good for having graduated seven of their top 12 from last year," Farmington coach Jack Olwell said. Top singles players Seth Roberts and Ben Cline both lost by 0-6, 0-6 margins, while Blake Olmsheid and Simon Lindstrom managed a point in their singles losses. The doubles teams of Tyler Olson and Topher Kirschmann and Austin Rau and Scott Young were also handed 0-6
Farmington's inaugural lacrosse season has been filled with firsts. Two more noteworthy firsts were achieved last week when the Tiger girls picked up their first home victory, as well as their first win over a Missota Conference opponent, with a 9-8 rally past Holy Angels Thursday at Tiger Stadium. "To win the first-ever matchup against a team we will be playing for years was great," Farmington coach Dan Pickens said.
Both of Farmington's track teams finished in the middle of the pack at last Tuesday's Missota Conference Relay Meet at Shakopee Junior High School. The boys tied Shakopee for the most top-three finishes with 10, but ended up fourth in a tight team race with 149 points. Prior Lake topped Shakopee 169-164 for the team title and Holy Angels was third with 155 points. "We had a lot of great performances, but because the competition was so tight, we all needed to have a big day and our weak spots hurt us," Farmington boys coach Brian Helmstetter said.
Two relay wins and eight top-three individual finishes helped Farmington's girls track team finish fourth -- and just 6 1/2 points out of second -- against an impressive eight-team field at Saturday's Eden Prairie Booster Invitational. Host Eden Prairie won the meet, outscoring runner-up Moorhead 153.5-124.5. Wayzata was third with 122.5 points and the Tigers were right behind with 118 points. "We ran pretty well and raced extremely hard," Farmington head coach Tom Hart said.