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Farmington cross-country teams shine at state meet

Sophomore Anna Fenske was passed coming down the home stretch but was able to edge out her opponent in a photo-finish to take third. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 7
The Farmington girls' got off to a strong start and finished fourth as a team, just 13 points out of third place. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 7
Junior Noah Revels continues to improve as he helps lead the Tiger boys. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 7
Fenske (third from right) and Peterson (second from right) pose with the rest of the girls' Class AA top-10 at the awards ceremony. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 7
Junior Aaron Kruse was the top finisher for the Tigers for the second meet in a row. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia5 / 7
Senior Lauren Peterson finished her high school cross-country career with her second runner-up finish in six years qualifying for the state meet. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia6 / 7
The Farmington boys stay together at the start of the race on their way to a 12th-place finish. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia7 / 7

The Farmington Tigers boys' and girls' cross-country teams both put together some incredible performances Saturday at the Class AA state meet on the campus of St. Olaf College. The Tigers girls took fourth overall and were just 18 points out of third and the podium, led by a second and third-place finish from senior Lauren Peterson in her last prep race and a resurgent sophomore Anna Fenske. The boys took 12th behind great performances from juniors Noah Revels and Aaron Kruse.

Girls shine and the future is bright

Two years after finishing first-second at the state meet, Peterson and Fenske reversed their roles as they finished second-third behind Minneapolis Washburn's Emily Covert. Peterson (and Covert) broke the state meet's course record (set by Covert last year) with a time of 17 minutes, 28.8 seconds, while Fenske edged out the fourth-place runner in a photo-finish after being passed in the final 50 meters. She ended up with a time of 17:54.1.

The Farmington girls as a team took fourth and were just 13 points behind third-place Edina. Seventh-grader Mariah Fenske took 19th with a time of 18:30.6, sophomore Laura McGregor finished 52nd in 19:01.9 and seventh-grader Marianah Scott placed 78th (19:26.0). Sophomore Maleah Scott took 105th with a time of 19:45.8 and seventh-grader Lily Peterson finished 133rd in 20:11.1. The field featured 16 teams and 175 runners.

"We were looking really good with about 600 (meters) to go and even if we don't make the podium, I'm so ecstatic with how the girls competed today," said head coach Adam Lippold after the girls' race before results had been posted. "Maria Fenske and Marianah Scott, those two are rock solid girls. I was just hoping that one of them would have a good day and both of them turned in a great day. It's going to be fun watching them grow and see how they progress. Little Fenske brought it today and is going to be the biggest difference-maker in the final results I think."

Peterson and Fenske both said that it was cool to go second-third in Peterson's last race after finishing first-second two years ago.

"It's pretty awesome, we went one and two a couple years ago, so to go two and three my final year is really awesome," Peterson said.

"It's super fun to be able to train with her and to race with all these amazing girls," Fenske said. "It's just awesome that we could come out as close to the top as we could get."

Peterson ends her prep cross-country career on a high note after making the state meet six-straight years with four top-10s and two second-place finishes.

"I'm really happy with it,' she said about this year's finish. "I just can't believe it's over now and I won't be coming back next year."

Peterson was the varsity lineup's lone senior this season as the Tigers return six of their state tournament runners next season. Her and Fenske also found themselves as the team's most experienced runners this fall and leaders of a very young team.

"We can give them advice and help them out and they can also give us advice, I think together as a whole it just really works," Peterson said about this year's team working together. "We motivate each other to do well every day."

"It's really great to have as good of a team as we have," Fenske said. "We've had a decent team but it's never been this good, this competitive. So it's super fun to have that great of a team and they're still young, so they have so many more years and it was just their first year and it's already been amazing."

An extra dimension to this year's young team is that both Peterson and Fenske had the chance to compete with their seventh-grade sisters, Lily Peterson and Mariah Fenske.

"It's been good, but just different in a good way," Anna said about competing with Mariah this season. "I've never run with my sister competitively in a sport. It's been cool, it's been a learning experience with everything that happens at home and at practice, but it's been fun."

"Yeah it's been fun," Peterson said. "There's been a lot of ups and downs with it a little bit this year, but it's fun knowing that you have a sister that loves the sport as much as you do and she's out on the field with you."

Boys meet expectations, look toward next year

Lippold said that the boys' 12th-place finish was in-line with their goals for the state meet.

"You know you always try and set really high goals coming into a race like this so they're not selling themselves short," he said. "Aaron Kruse, Noah Revels, Brennen Peterson all ran fantastic races. Nolan Levack and Regan Sevenich both ran really well to round out our top five. I think we placed right where we are, we're really close to those tenth-and-11th ranked teams and we've got another year to get better and I loved the way we ended the season."

Kruse was Farmington's highest finisher in 44th with a time of 16:19.8 and Revels was not far behind in 48th with a time of 16:21.9. Peterson took 92nd with a time of 16:44.9, senior Nolan Levack finished 122nd in 17:02.7 and fellow senior Regan Sevenich placed 131st (17:09.3). Senior Trevor LaVigne was 171st with a time of 18:03.6.

Kruse has really come on this season, especially the section and state race, which he attributes to being healthy and a few adjustments to his running style.

"Well last year I did have mono, it was kind of rough especially in the early fall," he said. "This season, working really hard over the summer, working with the team and just really focused on this championship season."

"Just realizing going out harder was really important, running under 5:15s was definitely the turning point there," Kruse said about what changed toward the end of the season. "I didn't do that earlier in the season and once I started doing that, times got faster."

This year's state meet could have been a sort of second-chance for Revels after he lost his shoe to start last year's race. This year he battled an injury but said overall he was happy with how he raced.

"Definitely had a pretty good race this year, wasn't planning exactly to go 16:20s, I was hoping for breaking 16 (minutes) or low 16s, but I got spiked in the first mile and then my knee is all messed up," he said. "I'll take it though, it was a good race."

From last year's state meet to this year's, Revels said he has improved his finishing the most with help from Kruse.

"I think I've improved on my last mile more than anything," he said. "Just stay consistent, having my teammate Kruse push my through the last mile finally, having someone up with me is cool."

The Tiger boys' lose half of their varsity lineup this spring as Levack, Sevenich and and LaVigne all graduate. However, they will return Revels, Kruse, Peterson and junior Caden Speikers.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a RiverTown Multimedia sports reporter covering Hastings, Farmington and Rosemount athletics. He graduated from Drake University with a journalism degree in 2014. 

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