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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Farmington broke out of its season-long scoring funk for at least one night, dropping five goals on Northfield in a 5-2 Missota Conference victory Friday night at Schmitz-Maki Arena. The Tigers scored more than three goals in a game for the first time this season as they won their third in a row since being swept at the Louis Schmitz Holiday Classic two weeks ago.
Taylor Meyer's return to the lineup provided an immediate spark for the Farmington girls basketball team. The senior did exactly what first-year head coach Sondra Chadwick had hoped -- she helped the players around her perform at a higher level -- despite a narrow 70-68 loss in the Tigers' Missota Conference opener Friday night in Red Wing. Meyer, a 1,000-point career scorer and three-time all-conference selection, scored 18 points and hauled in nine rebounds in her first time on the court in a live game since suffering an ACL injury last summer.
Farmington placed fifth out of 16 teams with a score of 132.525 Saturday at the Faribault Invitational. Defending state champion Northfield won the meet with a score of 147.18, nearly seven points ahead of runner-up Lakeville North. Cambridge-Isanti, Owatonna and Farmington rounded out the top five, followed by Waseca, Forest Lake, Elk River, Rogers, Faribault, Martin County West, Byron-Lourdes, Rochester Century, Breck, Rochester Mayo and Rochester John Marshall. "The girls had a fun meet," Farmington coach Lynn Bauman said. "Everyone stayed very positive and supportive of each other....
After a disappointing team showing in the first two rounds, the Farmington wrestling team came back to earn seventh at the eight-team Tiger Duals Saturday at Tiger Gym. The Tigers started their opening dual against Park of Cottage Grove by winning the first four weights, building a 20-0 lead. The Wolfpack chipped away by winning five of the next six matches and took advantage of forfeits at 182 and 195 pounds to rally for a 40-26 victory. The Tigers then won four of their first six matches against Lake City before once again fading late.
A 43-13 disparity in free-throw attempts proved too much to overcome for Farmington in its final non-conference game of the season Thursday night. Twenty-seven turnovers just added to the Tigers' frustration as they slipped to 4-8 with a 74-66 loss to Owatonna at Tiger Gym. "We made critical mistakes that you cannot make against a good team," Farmington head coach Shane Wyandt said. "Turnovers have been a main thorn in our side all year -- when we limit those, we can be pretty good.
A talented field of teams pushed Farmington down to seventh place at last Friday's Apple Valley Invitational. The Tigers placed four events in the top 10 as they scored 1,525 team points. Stillwater outscored Lakeville South 2,342-1,971 for the team title in a meet that also included teams from Anoka, Lakeville North, Cretin-Derham Hall, Eau Claire, Rochester Mayo and Apple Valley. Junior Evan Carufel supplied the highest Farmington finish with a fourth-place score of 292.20 points in the 1-meter dive. Teammate Nick Stephan was the only other top-10 individual place-winner.
The Farmington girls basketball team won't take a winless record into the start of the Missota Conference season. The Tigers ended a 10-game losing streak by knocking off host Orono 54-31 in the third-place game of the Orono Tournament Thursday. The 54 points was a season high and the 31 allowed a season-low. "We have been putting a greater focus on our full-court defensive pressure and that is creating more scoring opportunities for us in transition," head coach Sondra Chadwick said.
Darren Beenken caught fire in the third-place game of the Hastings Holiday Classic Tournament last Thursday. The junior guard scored 18 of his team's first 20 points of the second half as the Tigers broke a 41-41 halftime deadlock to beat winless Burnsville, 79-68. Beenken threw down a slam dunk and nailed four three-pointers in the second half as he finished with a career-high 34 points. Burnsville crept back within four points in the closing minutes, but Jacob Hanson, Alex Chadwick and Johnny Dittman combined to connect on eight free throws to seal the team's third win of the season.
Three gymnasts captured first-place finishes for Farmington as the Tigers got together over their holiday break to score 133.75 points and edge host Rosemount by less than a point Thursday night. "It's always hard to have a meet during the holidays,"Farmington coach Lynn Bauman said. "We tried our best and pulled out a win. The girls were positive and made a big improvement on the beam." Kathryn Beckett led the Tigers with a second-place finish in the all-around.
Farmington started out the Missota Conference season in fine fashion Friday night. The Tigers scored three goals in the second period and pulled away from Shakopee 4-1 in their league opener at Shakopee Ice Arena. "It's nice to start out the conference season with a win," Farmington head coach Keith Revels said. "We continue to play better in our defensive zone, limiting quality opportunities.... We are working hard, playing physical and finishing around the net." Jason Thomas opened the scoring with his first goal of the season (assist to Kevin Olund) 11:53 into the first period.