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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11:12 a.m. - The grounds crew has been working overtime and we're just about to get the opening round of the Class 3A state tournament started at Caswell Park in North Mankato. Heavy rain from about nine to 10 left all six fields very wet, but an hour of maintenance has them all in playing condition. The Tigers are in the first-base dugout and warming up in the outfield grass. First pitch is expected within the half hour. The winner will take on the winner - and the loser will take on the loser - of the other first-round game between Bloomington Jefferson and Mankato East.
It was a successful start to the season for the Farmington VFW baseball team last week. Post 7662 opened its schedule with a come-from-behind 8-6 win at Rosemount last Tuesday and went on to score at least seven runs in its first four games as it chalked up four straight victories. The pitching and defense started to get on track, as well, during a 7-3, 8-5 doubleheader sweep of Prior Lake over the weekend. Farmington trailed 6-5 in the sixth inning of its opener before Nathan Kraml ripped a go-ahead two-run single.
The biggest meets of the season continued to bring out the best in the Farmington girls track team at the Section 1AA Championships. Coming off a Missota Conference meet where they won six events and placed second as a team, the Tigers once again claimed six first-place finishes - three of which set new section records - and qualified seven events for the upcoming Class 2A State Meet while placing third as a team Saturday afternoon at Lakeville South. The host Cougars ran away with the meet, scoring 171 points to runner-up Lakeville North's 109.
Tommy May will end his Farmington High School golf career at the state tournament. The FHS senior qualified for next week's competition with a two-round total of 149 that tied him for fourth place at the Section 1AAA tournament played Thursday and Monday at Bellwood Oaks Golf Club in Hastings. He shot a 74 on the par-73 course in last week's first round and followed up with a 75 Monday. "Tom showed some real character (Monday) by fighting and grinding around the course to shoot a 75," golf coach Jon Holmes said.
The Farmington boys track team saved its best for last at Saturday's Section 1AA Championships. None of the team's events had finished any higher than third before the 4x400 relay team raced around the track in 3 minutes, 29.58 seconds in the meet's final event to grab second place and earn a spot in this weekend's Class 2A State Meet.
Paul Harrington has participated in plenty of state softball tournaments since graduating from Farmington High School in 1974. He was a player-coach for Farmington's men's fast-pitch teams that placed in the top two at the state tournament eight times from 1977 to 2001. He got into high school coaching in the mid-90s and went on to guide the Totino-Grace program to five state tournament appearances in 11 seasons. Now, Harrington is taking his alma mater to state.
The Farmington boys and girls track teams combined to qualify eight events for the upcoming state meet at Saturday's Section 1AA Championships at Lakeville South. Seven of those performances were turned in by the Tiger girls, who set three section meet records in the process. Junior Nadia Lorencz set new section marks while winning the 100 hurdles and triple jump and also qualified for state in the long jump. Senior Alyssa Parco will make another trip to state in the 300 hurdles after setting a new personal-best and running a section-record time in the event.
Allie Rice and Ashley Betzold smashed home runs and Betzold threw seven strong innings as the Farmington softball team qualified for its second-ever state tournament with a 5-1 victory over Rochester John Marshall in the Section 1AAA championship game Thursday night at Todd Park in Austin. Betzold doubled with two outs in the first inning and Rice followed with an opposite-field home run that gave the Tigers all the runs they would need. Rice and Toni Hunsinger each added RBI singles in the fifth to make it 4-0 and Betzold smashed her third hit of the game over the left field wall in the six
The Farmington softball team carried a late-season offensive surge right into the Section 1AAA tournament. After scoring 20 runs over two wins that clinched a share of the Missota Conference title, the Tigers opened section play by plating 21 runs in back-to-back victories over seventh-seeded Winona and sixth-seeded Rochester Mayo last week. The second-seeded Tigers then knocked off Hastings, the defending state champions, 4-3 in Tuesday's semifinal at Todd Park to advance to today's championship round.
The Farmington boys and girls track teams accumulated their points in very different ways at Friday's Missota Conference Championships. While the girls were scoring big in a few events, and none in several others, to earn a second-place team finish, the boys were scoring a few points in just about every event while placing sixth with 82 points at Tiger Stadium. Chanhassen won the conference championship 206 ½-142 ½ over runner-up Shakopee. The Tigers scored in 17 of the meet's 18 events - they went without a point in the 1,600 - and notched three second-place finishes.