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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Fourteen letter-winners are back from last year's boys track team, but it's the other 67 athletes that have head coach Brian Helmstetter intrigued. They comprise the largest-ever turnout for the track team at Farmington and Helmestetter is eager to see what they are capable of. "As a team it is a rebuilding year, but I am excited to see how these young guys will fit in the team picture. We have huge numbers in the ninth and tenth grade classes. It will be fun to watch them mature," Helmstetter said.
Most of the spots on the field are up for grabs, but the biggest question mark is in the center of diamond for the Farmington baseball team. The Tigers lost nine seniors from last year's team that finished 9-14 overall and 5-9 in the Missota Conference. Those seniors combined to pitch 140 2/3 of the team's 144 innings. "We're looking at everybody to pitch," head coach Mike Winters said. Winters began surveying his mound options Monday as 54 players reported to the high school for the first practice of the season.
Otto Pfefferle's alley-oop slam dunk on the first trip down the floor set the tone for Northfield's 57-52 win over Farmington in opening round of the Section 1AAAA Tournament last Wednesday night at Tiger Gym. Pfefferle finished with a game-high 24 points, 12 of which came during an opening run that saw the fifth-seeded Raiders charge to a 19-4 advantage. The 6-foot-8 senior was tough for the undersized Tigers to stop this season as he scored a season-high 28 points in Northfield's 63-59 overtime win Feb. 18 in Northfield and 21 points in the Raiders' 50-49 overtime loss Jan.
The graduation losses of four all-conference seniors has left second-year head coach Rob Laden with plenty of spots to fill in his varsity lineup this season. The Tigers return just one of their four infielders from last year's team that finished 13-10 overall and placed third behind Prior Lake and Shakopee in the Missota Conference.
All season long Farmington took advantage of its size and athleticism to produce high-percentage inside shots and dominate on the offensive glass. The Tigers used that formula to pile up a school-record 23 wins against three losses, win a share of the program's first-ever Missota Conference championship and advance as the No. 1 seed all the way to the Section 1AAAA championship. But with a trip to the Class 4A State Tournament on the line Friday night, it was Rochester Mayo that owned the paint.
Farmington's shooting started out cold and never warmed up Friday night at the Rochester Rec Center. Second-seeded Rochester Mayo scored the game's first seven points and never trailed as it advanced to the Class 4A State Tournament for the ninth time with a 49-35 upset of the 23-3 Tigers. Farmington, gunning for its first-ever state tournament berth, made just 2 of its first 18 shots before battling back to tie the game at 17-17 on a three-pointer by Shelby Calhoun later in the first half. Mayo (21-6) responded with the final six points of the half to take a 23-17 advantage into intermissi
Otto Pfefferle's alley-oop slam dunk on the first trip down the floor set the tone for Northfield's 57-52 win over Farmington in opening round of the Section 1AAAA Tournament Wednesday night at Tiger Gym. Pfefferle finished with a game-high 24 points, 12 of which came during an opening run that saw the fifth-seeded Raiders charge to a 19-4 advantage.
Trailing 10-8 six minutes into Saturday night's Section 1AAAA semifinals, the Farmington girls basketball team didn't panic. Instead, the Tigers held Rochester Century scoreless for the next nine minutes and went on a 22-2 run that put them control in an eventual 64-29 rout at Tiger Gym that moved them within a game of the program's first state tournament berth. "We started out slow. Century mixed up defenses a little and it took a little bit to adjust," Farmington coach Jason Berg said.
Suffering through a five-game losing streak to end the regular season, Farmington's boys basketball team got a little bit of good news earlier this week. The Tigers found out that -- after closing out the regular season with a record of 9-17 -- they would get to play in front of the home crowd one more time. The Section 1AAAA seeding awarded them the No. 4 spot, meaning they earned the right to host rival Northfield, the fifth seed, in the opening round of the tournament Wednesday night at Tiger Gym.
The thought of being a state champion started to creep into Tyler Magalis' mind at the Class 2A State Meet in 2008. The freshman had just finished 11th in the 1-meter dive behind six seniors, two juniors and two sophomores. Magalis had already been training as a swimmer for six years, and he figured three more years of training as a diver and it could be him at the top of the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center podium by 2011. "I knew if I kept improving and gave it all I had, by my senior year I'd have a shot at getting the championship," Magalis said. He was right.