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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The Farmington boys track team turned in a slew of season-best performances at last Thursday's Pat Foley Classic, giving head coach Brian Helmstetter lots of options as he fills out the lineups for the approaching Missota Conference and Section 1AA Championships. The Tigers won 10 events and set three meet records at the four-team invitational in Northfield. "The meet was awesome -- fast times and long distances throughout. Nice weather will do that to an athlete this time of year," Helmstetter said.
Before the start of last week, the Farmington baseball team had already won as many conference games -- five -- as it had in any of its previous six seasons. A pair of doubleheader splits with Chaska and first-place Shakopee to close out the Missota schedule earned the Tigers a fifth-place finish and a .500 record in the league for the first time since winning the title in 2006. "I'm proud of our guys who finished 7-7 in a tougher-than-normal Missota Conference, as well as a mentally draining spring," head coach Mike Winters said.
Forget the two games where the Farmington boys lacrosse team outscored its opponents a combined 27-2. The highlight of last week for head coach Paul Sorensen came after the Tigers fell behind by three goals in the second half on the road at Owatonna. Trailing 7-4, the Tigers closed out the game with seven unanswered goals to secure an 11-7 victory last Thursday. They also walloped a winless Rochester John Marshall team 13-1 last Tuesday and took care of 1-9 St. Cloud Tech 14-1 Monday at Tiger Stadium. "I want to say we are playing extremely well, but that wouldn't be the whole truth.
The Farmington boys golf team turned in consistent scores to finish sixth in a pair of Missota Conference meets played back to back last week. Their scores were similar at each of the meets, but their coach's perception of his team's play varied from one meet to the next. Farmington shot a 330 May 14 at its home course, Fountain Valley, and followed it up with a 329 the next day at Stonebrooke. Coach Jon Holmes called the Fountain Valley performance "so so," but seemed more optimistic about his team's performance at Stonebrooke.
A lot of good came from last Thursday's doubleheader against Shakopee, even if Farmington didn't get the sweep it needed to share the Missota Conference title with the Sabers for the second straight year. The Tigers saw a late lead slip away in a 3-2 loss to the sixth-ranked (Class 3A) Sabers in Game 1, but battled back to salvage a split and end Shakopee's 14-game winning streak with a 1-0 shutout victory in Game 2. Starting pitcher Ashley Betzold took the mound for the second time on a warm afternoon and held the 17-1 Sabers to two hits while striking out three.
The way head coach Paul Sorensen sees it, his Farmington boys lacrosse team could easily be 7-0. All four of the Tigers' losses have come by one goal, including both of last week's setbacks. Holy Angels Avenged a one-goal loss a week earlier with an 8-7 triumph over the Tigers last Tuesday at Tiger Stadium, and Hastings defended its home field with a 7-6 win Friday night. "Both games were there for the taking, but we just came up short both times," Sorensen said. "Attention to detail in close ball games relies on focus on the small things.
The Farmington boys tennis team closed out a hectic week by finally putting a Missota Conference match in the win column Friday afternoon. In their fifth match in five days, the Tigers swept four singles matches and closed out a 1-6 season in the league with a 5-2 win over New Prague at the Boeckman Middle School courts. The top three singles players all won in straight sets. Bennett Lagro held on 6-2, 6-4 at No. 1 singles and Jake Bauer and Ivan Rodriguez each cruised 6-1, 6-0. Bauer closed out the regular season with the Tigers' best individual record at 5-7. At No.
Chanhassen was able to silence Farmington's bats last Thursday, but it didn't take long for the Tigers to get back to making plenty of noise at the plate. After being swept 2-1 and 3-2 for their first two Missota Conference losses of the year, the team bounced back by edging Rochester Century 6-5 on Friday. The Tigers hit their stride at the plate Monday when they piled up 18 runs in four innings in an 18-0 shutout of Rochester Mayo.
The Farmington boys and girls lacrosse teams have both had problems getting out to fast starts this season. Early deficits cost the boys team in both of its losses last week. The Farmington girls also faced multiple-goal deficits in its last two games, but were able to rally and pick up a Missota Conference win last Tuesday against Holy Angels in Richfield. The Tigers trailed the Stars 6-2 after a sluggish first half, but after talking things over with coach Dan Pickens, reeled off four unanswered goals to tie the score within the first two minutes of the second half.
The Farmington boys track team made huge strides at this year's Section 1AAA True Team meet. Sixth out of nine teams a year ago when they scored 584 points, the Tigers placed second with 828 points last Tuesday at Lakeville North. Owatonna won the nine-team meet with 882 1/2 points. Justin Hyytinen and Tyler Lerbakken were both triple winners for the Tigers. Hyytinen swept the distance races, winning the 1,600 in 4:28 and the 3,200 in a personal-best 9:52 before joining Lerbakken, Tommy Weigel and Tanner Grubb in the first-place 4x400 relay (3:32).