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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Twice during the second half of Friday's Senior Night game, Farmington running back CJ Record extended the football away from his body as he reached for the goal line. Both efforts came up just short - as did a late field goal attempt by Tyler Grubb - as the Tigers once again found themselves a play or two away from turning around their fortunes in a 16-6 Missota Conference loss to Chaska at Tiger Stadium. "We were right there. We had the opportunities and we couldn't take advantage," Farmington coach Mark Froehling said after his team's third straight tough loss.
A 1-3 showing at the competitive Burnsville Tournament has the Farmington volleyball team sitting at 8-16 heading into the final week of the regular season. But the Tigers still have something to play for. A sweep of Chaska and New Prague this week could vault them to third in the Missota Conference and earn them a home game in the opening round of the upcoming Section 1AAA Tournament. "We hope to continue the track we've been on, but rather than breaking through in one game, we'd like to break through in two or three games," head coach Mike Woody said.
The Farmington boys soccer program experienced two signs of its own progress in two very different ways last week. First, the Tigers finished in a three-way tie for fourth in the eight-team Missota Conference with a record of 3-4 a year after going 1-5 in the league. They did that by scoring back-to-back victories over Chaska and New Prague last Tuesday and Thursday. Second, the Tigers took to the Tiger Stadium turf one last time Saturday for a rain makeup against defending Class 2A state champion Apple Valley and played to a halftime score of 1-0.
Fifth-ranked Rochester Century backed up its status as one of the state's premier teams by blanking Farmington 7-0 in the first round of the section team tournament last Tuesday. The Tigers managed to score just three games in singles play -- one at No. 3 and two at 4 singles -- and three games in three doubles matches. "I thought we played pretty well and competed without being intimidated by their power games," Farmington coach Jack Olwell said. "This team beat our conference champion (Red Wing) 7-0, so I guess we are in good company.
Visitation nearly posted a perfect team score in winning the girls title with 20 points at last Tuesday's first Rogers Invitational at Fox Hollow Golf Club in St. Michael. But pacing the rest of the seven-team field with its top team finish of the year was Farmington, which placed five runners in the top 15 while pulling away from Benilde-St. Margaret's, 53-102, in the battle for second place. Leading the Tiger charge was freshman Maricia Pacheco, who completed the 4,000-meter course in 16 minutes, 41 seconds, to place fifth out of 54 runners.
Kaitlyn O'Reilly was part of four first-place finishes and Caitlin and Kirsten Kracke each contributed to three during Farmington's 100-80 Missota Conference swimming and diving win over Chaska at Dodge Middle School. O'Reilly opened with a winning 2:02.72 clocking in the 200 freestyle, then sandwiched a victorious 1:01.74 in the 100 backstroke with appearances in the first-place 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
Farmington spent the last week of the regular season building up its confidence with a pair of shutout victories. But any of the confidence gained with a 4-0 win over Chaska and a 7-0 blanking of New Prague gave way to uncertainty when starting goalkeeper Taylor Meyer and defensive specialist Shelby Calhoun were lost due to ankle injuries during Saturday's regular season finale against Apple Valley.
The Farmington football team is starting to get the hang of its new spread offense. The Tigers, who were shut out in back-to-back games at Chanhassen and at Shakopee earlier this season, have put up 43 points in their last two losses. The latest setback was a 21-16 nail-biter on the road against a conference-leading Northfield team that had outscored its previous four opponents by a combined 114-28. Northfield (5-1, 5-0) built a 14-0 advantage in the first quarter of Friday night's homecoming game courtesy of a pair of touchdown runs by standout back Davonte Jacobs.
Both the Farmington boys and girls soccer teams have aspirations of advancing past the first round after both suffered section-opening losses a year ago. The Tiger girls team played to a record of 9-7-1 during the regular season, earning them a No. 5 seed in Section 3AA and a Tuesday night (7 p.m.) road game against a Rosemount team that defeated them 2-0 back in early September. The boys team (6-10) was named the No. 7 seed in Section 1AA and will take on No. 2 Lakeville North at 7 p.m. on Thursday night.
Apple Valley set a state record in Saturday's regular-season finale at Tiger Stadium, defeating Farmington 5-0 for its 41st consecutive victory. The Eagles (17-0) haven't lost since the 2008 state tournament. They went 24-0 in winning the Class 2A state title last year and closed out the regular season with four second-half goals against the Tigers Saturday. Stillwater held the previous record with 40 straight wins from 1995-97