17 June 2012

Boys Track: Up and coming

All-Missota Conference pole vaulter Reid Taubenheim (photo by Jim Lindquist)
The record number of Tiger athletes (102) didn't produce any conference or section championships but it did lay a foundation for what coach Brian Helmstetter hopes will be a long run of competitive teams.

"Overall, this was a successful year for Farmington track and field," Helmstetter said. "Our numbers were awesome and we were still (by age) bringing a JV team to all of the varsity meets.

"I am very proud of how we competed and the experience that we got. The athletes are excited about the sport which gets others excited. This was a big step toward the future."

As a team, the young Tigers finished sixth in the Missota Conference and ranked ninth at the 14-team Section 1AA Championships. They also pulled off a major upset, using their superior depth to post a first place finish at the Missota Conference Relays where each event is scored as a "relay."

A whopping 57 runners, throwers and jumpers were awarded varsity letters for their efforts during the 2012 season and only nine of that number were seniors: Aaron Bendix, Trevor Breezley,  Justin Hett, Bret Hoffman, Troy Hoffman, Tyler Jarvis, Reece Lindquist, Joe Ouyang and Chad Retterath.

Junior lettermen included  Leslie Adjei, Athen Ashton, Josh Baker, Alex Chadwick, Tyler Lerbakken, Joe Lipham, Alex Lubbers, Connor Phu, Blake Ross, Clayton Webb, Tommy Weigel, Alec Wilson and Sam Wyatt.

More than half of the letterwinners came from the sophomore and freshmen classes that won both the Missota Conference junior varsity and ninth grade team championships.

The 21 tenth grade winners included Mason Auge, Michael Bakke, Dan Berg, Alexander Burton, Jack Erickson, Mason Gaylord, Tanner Grubb, Jeff Guiterrez, Jacob Hoeve, Derek Klotter, Jake Lee, Sean McHenry, Josh Patterson, Jacob Rogers, Nickolas Ruark, Hunter Sevenich, Cullen Smith. Eric Stoeckman, Reid Taubenheim, Jared Wolt and CJ Wynings.

A record-high 14 freshmen also earned their first track letters: Collin Berquist, Christian Brollier, Jacob Gerdes, Michale Husnik, Justin Hyytinen, Long Lam, Matt Olund, Ryan Parco, Nehemiah Rockett, Luis Rodriguez, Jake Roepke, Daniel Som, Tanner Thode and Tyler Thronson.

Five freshmen school records fell by the wayside this spring. Rockett broke both the 110 and 300-meter marks and Thode and Roepke set new standards in the shot put and discus respectively. The fifth new school-best went to the 4x400 relay team of Parco, Rockett, Hyytinen and Rodriguez.

Pole vaulter Taubenheim was the lone Tiger to gain all-Missota Conference honors, The 4x800 relay team of Retterath, Stoeckman, Lerbakken and Hyytinen and the 4x400 relay foursome of Retterath, Lerbakken, Weigel and Grubb each received all-league honorable mention.

State meet qualifying 4x400 relay team
The 4x400 quartet also took second at the Section 1AA Championships and qualified for the state meet where it came within a fraction of a second of breaking the school record.

Helmstetter said he saw his young team make tremendous strides in all areas this spring but a couple stood out.

"The 4x400 relay team came on strong toward the end of the season and they are only going to get faster," he said. "Our throwers are also walking a little taller now after a very good year and our young hurdlers improved greatly and all have one or more years remaining ."

The Tiger coach said the big numbers should pay dividends down the road but he needs to see improvement in the jumps and sprints if the Tigers are going to make noise in the big meets.

"As of next year, I can no longer say we are a 'young' team," he said. "We will need to see improvement in some areas...I know they're good athletes not competing in the spring. We need them out for track.

" I believe strength is the key to the boys' improvement--that along with a true understanding of goal setting and achieving. It isn't easy to just step on a track and win; they need to earn it during the off season. "

Season Best Performances
4x800 relay: Lerbakken, Stoeckman, Retterath, Hyytinen, 8:27.0
1600-meter run: Hyytinen, 4:31
800-meter run: Hyytinen, Retterath, 2:05
110-meter hurdles: Berg, 15.2
4x100 relay: Chadwick, Erickson, Klotter, Auge, 46.42
200-meter dash: Weigel, 23.53
100-meter dash: Erickson, 11.69
400-meter dash: Grubb, 52.48
3200-meter run: Hyytinen, 10:01
4x200 relay: Parco, Weigel, Erickson, T. Hoffman, 1:34.88
300-meter hurdles: Rockett, 43.1
4x400 relay: Lerbakken, Retterath, Weigel, Grubb, 3:29.76
Long jump: Hett, 19-8
Triple jump: Hett, 40-9
High jump: Berg, 6-0
Shot put: B. Hoffman, 45-2 3/4
Discus: Wynings, 133-2
Pole Vault: Taubenheim, 13-3