25 June 2013

Boys Track: Back in front of the pack

Tyler Lerbakken: Track MVP (photo by Jim Lindquist)
The Tigers used their depth and talent to overcome a couple of serious injuries to key performers (Jack Erickson and Reid Taubenheim) and return to the lead pack in both the Missota Conference and Section 1AA races.

Coach Brian Helmstetter's squad (118 athletes strong) won the Missota Conference championship as well as the Missota Conference Relays title and finished runner-ups at both the Section 1AA True Team and Section 1AA Championships. The Tigers also sent four entrants to the Class AA state meet where they scored nine team points.

In addition, Farmington won the 2013 Missota Conference junior varsity meet which helps explain the extraordinary number (95) of Tigers earning varsity letters for the 2013 season. A complete list of the monogram winners appears at the end of this story.

"This season was the jump this team should have made," Helmstetter said. "These guys accelerated to the varsity at a young age because our numbers were down. They have had the experience and competition so this year was about performance.

"Last year we had depth but this year we had people make big individual improvements. It was a great season and I truly believe these boys understand what it is going to take in the off-season to further their success next year."

Ten Tigers earned all-Missota Conference honors this spring: Tanner Grubb (200-meter dash); Justin Hyytinen (1600 and 3200-meter runs); Nehemiah Rockett (300-meter hurdles); the 4x200 relay team of Mason Auge, Ryan Parco, Tommy Weigel and Grubb and the 4x800 relay foursome of Tyler Lerbakken, Adam Dougherty, Devon Webb and Jared Wolt.

Lerbakken (800-meter run); Rockett (110-meter hurdles); Wyatt Ferm (high jump); Tanner Thode (shot put); CJ Wynings (discus) and the 4x400 relay quartet of Lerbakken, Hyytinen, Weigel and Grubb received all-conference honorable mention.

The 4x800 team (Lerbakken, Hyytinen, Webb and Wolt) finished fifth at state while the 4x200 grouping (Auge. Parco, Weigel, Grubb) placed second. The 4x400 team (Lerbakken, Hyytinen, Weigel, Grubb) ranked ninth at the state finals.

Justin Hyytinen: 3 events at state meet (photo by J. Lindquist)
Senior pole-vaulter Connor Phu won the Field MVP Award while classmate Lerbakken was tabbed "Most Valuable" on the track. Wolt and Rockett shared the Most Improved Award and senior Mikkel Peterson took home the Tiger Award for dedication and work ethic.

The Tigers set three schools records this spring: 4x400 relay, 4x800 relay and the ninth grade 800-meter run (Webb).

Helmstetter said only have jokingly that just getting on the track for a meet due to the late arriving spring was a major highlight of 2013 but added the late start might have actually worked to his team's advantage.

"We had a lot of time to train and focus on different areas of track and field that benefited us later in the season," he said. "I thought our biggest accomplishment might have been going from sixth to first at the conference meet.

"We had many athletes score points at that meet. We were excited and nervous for each other, not knowing fully what were were capable of. Part of the fun was watching our unexpected success."

Helmstetter said his 2014 team will miss the contributions of his 18 departing seniors but is confident his program will continue to move forward.

"Winning attitudes are contagious and it has been nice to see the determination to get better build with the success these guys have had," he said. "Everyone wants to do his part to improve the team, so they are already working hard for next year."

Connor Phu: Field MVP (photo by Jim Lindquist)

 Varsity Letterwinners:

Seniors (18): Leslie Adjei, Charles Anderson, Athen Ashton, Josh Baker, Alex Chadwick, Zach Colaw, Jacob LeClair, Tyler Lerbakken, Joseph Lipham, Alex Lubbers, Mikkel Peterson, Tyler Petter-McCauley, Connor Phu, Blake Ross, Adam Wallenta, Clayton Webb, Tommy Weigel and Helbert Zelaya;

Juniors (32): Mason Auge, Michael Bakke, Alex Bauman, Dan Berg, Alex Burton, Spencer Kabran, Adam Closmore, Sean Dougherty, Jacob Earp, Mason Gaylord, Caleb Gochenour, Tanner Grubb, Jeffery Gutierrez, Jake Hoffman, Jacob Hove, Kade Kearney, Brendan King, Derek Klotter, Carter Lamers, Jake Lee, Godfrey Mpetey, Sean McHenry, Josh Patterson, Jake Rudeen, Hunter Sevenich, Cullen Smith, Riley Stevenson, Eric Stoeckman, Ben Strumberger, Nick Varner, Jared Wolt and CJ Wynings;

Sophomores (20): Jake Bauerle, Collin Berquist, Christian Brollier, Wyatt Ferm, Garrett Haugen, Mike Husnik, Justin Hyytinen, Long Lam, Matt Olund, Dominic Paduano, Ryan Parco, Luis Rodriguez, Nehemiah Rockett, Michael Sasso, Daniel Som, Zach Steffen, Tanner Thode, Matt Thompson, Peyton Woller and Nicholas Zellen;

Freshmen (25): Gavin Bassett, Caleb Bray, Jesse Chanthakhoun, Alexsandr Clemonts, Troy Cummings, Andriano DeOliveira, Nino Douanboutdy, Adam Dougherty, Dylan Gerlach, Josh Grimm, Alex Hart, David Husnik, Ryan Newton, Dylan Otterness, Jackson Oettinger, Robel Ponds, Adam Roschen, Kyle Rotvold, Jackson Schneider, Jake Schwartz, Kyle Smith, Dalton States, Matt Townsend, Devon Webb and Noah Willgohs.

Boys Golf: Young Tigers look to future

With a lineup as green as the fairways at Fountain Valley, coach Jon Holmes knew going in the spring of 2013 would be one of transition.

Six of the seven letterwinners from the last year's fifth place finishers in the Missota Conference were lost to graduation, leaving freshman Erik Holmstrom to shoulder much of the scoring load.

Holmstrom did his part, winning all-Missota Conference honorable mention honors, and despite their youth and the lousy spring weather, the Tigers managed to finish sixth in the conference race and advance to the final round of Section 1AAA team play.

"This season was a whirlwind," Holmes said.  "It went really fast once the matches started rolling, but with the late start, we were able to concentrate on other aspects of golf that in a typical spring season we wouldn't have time for. We were able to address conditioning,  nutrition and the mental part of the game."

Erik Holmstrom-ACHM
Three seniors--Grant Hauswirth, Garret Heidelberger and Nate Anderson--were among the seven players to earn varsity letters this spring. Others included Holmstrom, sophomore Jake Trippel, freshman Jake Jensen and eighth-grader Darby Grengs.

"We moved up to fourth place in our final conference meet and it's been four straight years now that we've qualified for the second round of the sections," Holmes said, "so we had some good things happen...Our younger players got some much-needed varsity experience."

The weather may have been the biggest handicap. The late-arriving spring kept the Tigers off the course early, leaving little time for practice once the busy meet schedule kicked in.

"We also missed playing at some pretty cool courses like Hazeltine and Stone Ridge due to the weather," Holmes said.

Holmes will field another young team in 2014 but he is encouraged by his squad's summer playing plans.

"This is the first year in my experience with the boys' program where we will have kids not only playing in junior tournaments, but also getting golf lessons from a PGA professional," he said.

"We need to play often and play under pressure. We need to get into as many tournament settings as humanly possible."

24 June 2013

Alumni Tracker: Ex-Tigers still on course

Sammy Schmitz
2009 FHS alum Sammy Schmitz who played in the Class AA State Championships as a prep continues to be one of the best amateur golfers in Minnesota. Last week the former Tiger advanced to the semifinals of the MGA Mid Players Match Play Tournament held at Island View Golf Club in Waconia...Two other players with Farmington connections also made the elite 32-player field, Tiger boys' golf coach Jon Holmes and Kane Bauer, grandson of former Farmington Bakery owner Tuffy Westenberg.

Greg Werner, another former Tiger state tournament golfer, wrapped up his stellar collegiate career at Minnesota State, Mankato with a 31st place finish in the 107-player NCAA Division II Central Regional Tournament played last month in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Greg Werner
2005 Tiger grad Ben Kampf. who later ran track and cross country for the University of Minnesota returned home to win his second straight Dew Run title, touring the flat and fast four-mile course in 20:19, more than a minute faster than the second place finisher...Kampf isn't his family's only member busy running this summer. His wife Heather Kampf,  ex-Rosemount and U of M runner, placed sixth in the 800-meter run at the US Track and Field Championships held this past weekend in Des Moines, Iowa.

Current and other former Tiger athletes were among top finishers in the 2013 Dew Run. Justin Hyytinen finished third overall in the four-mile event, four places in front of assistant coach Adam Lippold, a former Doane College (Nebraska) runner. 2013 Tiger grad Adam Wallenta ranked 12th in the 353-runner field. Other top 50 finishers included 2012 alum Bailey Opsal now running cross country at St. Scholastica College (37th); Tiger junior Maricia Pacheco (39th); Tiger boys' standout Tyler Lerbakken (45th) and sophomore-to-be Sean Dougherty (46th).

Lerbakken and Pacheco took sixth and 17th place respectively in the one-mile race. 2005 FHS male co-Athlete of the Year Scott Holmes won his age group and placed 35th while 2009 female Athlete of the Year Kirstee Rotty was an age group winner with a 48th place overall finish.

162 golfers played in the Second Annual Louie Schmitz Foundation fundraiser held last Friday at Southern Hills. The foursome of Steve Sabetti, Paul Rutt, Scott Finn and Shane Clausen claimed top scoring honors with a 16-under par round. Two of Schmitz's daughters and former Tiger athletes, Shelly Schmitz and Jody Schmitz Slette teamed up with Judy Jungwirth and Helen Nikiel to win the womens' division. Proceeds from the event go toward college scholarships and donations to local athletic associations to help needy youth pay participation fees. 2013 Tiger graduates Kevin Olund and Haleigh Zwart were awarded scholarships at the tournament.

1977 Tiger alum Doug Dingman's Prior Lake High School target shooters had another good showing at the Minnesota Clay Target League state championships held in Alexandria a couple of weeks ago. The Lakers finished fourth in the varsity division and runner-up in the junior varsity competition. Dave Warweg, another 1977 FHS grad, is one of Dingman's assistant coaches.

Former Tiger and state champion discus thrower Logan Hussung, a redshirt sophomore at the University of Minnesota, placed ninth in the shot put at the 2013 Big Ten Outdoor Championships held at Ohio State University last month...2012 Tiger graduate Blake Olmscheid had a productive freshman tennis season for St. May's University (Winona) this spring, finishing 6-4 in singles play and 6-2 in doubles competition for the Cardinals.

23 June 2013

Boys Lacrosse: Oh so close

Goalie Matt Heinzerling: Team MVP (photo by Jim Lindquist)
The Tigers made it two straight winning seasons, finishing 8-6 in year four of the program, but the final numbers don't begin to tell the story of what might have been.

All six Farmington came by a single goal, including a 12-11 setback to state tournament qualifier Rochester Mayo and a 9-8 loss to Rochester Century in the opening round of the Section 1 tournament.

On the bright side, the Tigers overcame two one-goal losses to open the season with a three-game win streak and won five of their last six regular season contests.

Twenty-five players received varsity letters for their efforts this spring, including nine seniors: Jake Bauman, Brendon Berg, Nathan Brunelle, Cole Ryan, Matt Heinzerling, Kegan Markwardt, Alex Osborn, Alex Schrafft and Joey Todd.

Underclassmen lettering included juniors Alex Aubrecht, Dan Block, Kevin Clifton, Chris Fitzgibbons, Caleb Hakala, Mitch Hilton, Alex Kelly, Corey Rudrud, Michael Thompson and Nick Workman; sophomores Nick Buhta, Richard Halvorson, Kyle Kratz and Gavin Quinn and freshman Mitch Grengs.

Corey Rudrud: Offensive MVP (photo by Jim Lindquist)
Goalie Heinzerling who posted seven of the Farmington wins received the team's Most Valuable Player Award. Rudrud took home the Offensive MVP Award and Aubrecht won defensive "Most Valuable" honors.

Clifton won the Team Player Award and Block received the team's Hustle Award. Block and Bauman made the all-Section 1 team with Berg and Heinzerling named to the all-section section second team.

With the nail-biter of a 2013 now in his rear view mirror, Coach Paul Sorensen said he is optimistic about his team's chances in 2014 and beyond.

Dan Block: Hustle Award winner (photo by Jim Lindquist)
"Our crop of talent is becoming deeper at every position thanks to Tony Grengs and our strengthened youth program," he said. "Our players realize now that lacrosse is a 365-day sport and are putting in the required time to better their understanding of the game and sharpening their skill sets. Making the varsity next year will be the toughest it has been."

While Sorensen said he feels his young program is developing nicely, he added that the road ahead will also get rougher as Farmington prepares to move to the rugged South Suburban Conference in 2014-15.

"It's no secret that the South Suburban showcases some of the best overall lacrosse talent in the the state," he said. 'We'll need to to be prepared mentally and physically for that challenge."

But the move to the South Suburban is still a year away and Sorensen and his Tigers have a special final year in the Missota Conference ahead, one that will recognize lacrosse as an official league sport for the first time.

"Chanhassen and Chaska are splitting their teams and Northfield will be adding lacrosse," Sorensen said. "With Holy Angels that will make five conference teams. That's very exciting for us."

22 June 2013

Girls Track: Success despite weather, injuries

Maria Kiminski: MVP, All-State, All-Missota (photo by Jim Lindquist)
Despite one of the latest-arriving springs in decades and injuries to key performers, the Tigers continued to find success.

Farmington finished runner-up at both the Missota Conference Championships and Missota Conference Relays (by one point), took third in Section 1AA meet and scored its highest finish ever finish (second) in a relay at the Class AA state finals.

"We had a successful season with lots of new faces contributing which was exciting," coach Tom Hart said. "We have started to show what we can do as a team and I look for us to build off that going into next season."

Twenty-five Tigers scored the required 25 points to earn varsity letters this spring, including six seniors: Alex Frost, Courtney Johnston, Maria Kiminski, Kesley Lindell, Nadia Lorencz and April Morris.

Underclassmen winning letters included juniors Kathryn Beckett, Morgan Cecchittini, Kelli Elmer, Isabelle Ferm, Aly Grebner and Maricia Pacheco; sophomores Madison Bowe, Sofia Chadwick, Nicole Doran, Megan Graham, Alicia Hett and Destiny Schmitz; freshmen Racquel Beckett, Jordan Walls, Leah Kiage, Jennifer Miller, Maricella Pacheco, Elizabeth Welter and eighth-grader Emma Record.

Kiminski received the team's Most Valuable Player Award while Schmitz was tabbed as "Most Improved." Frost won the Tiger Award for dedication and work ethic,

All-State 4x400 Relay: Megan Graham, Kiminski, Alicia Hett, Isabelle Ferm  
The 4x400 team of Kiminski, Hett, Graham and Ferm won all-state distinction for its second place finish at the state meet.

Those four along with Chadwick, Frost, Elmer, Doran, Cecchittini, Record, Graham, Schmitz, Miller and Grebner earned all-Missota Conference honors.

"The thing I enjoyed most about this season was our improvement and our depth," Hart said. "We had ladies step up in big moments...Our ability to adjust on the fly was incredible."

The Tiger coach also paid tribute to his team's loyal supporters.

"The parents' support at our meets (none at home) rivaled anyone's," he said. "The crowd cheering so loud for us was awesome."

Besides the weather, Hart said the only down sides of the spring came on the injury front. Lorencz, a Michigan State recruit who won two state titles as a junior, sprained her ankle late and could not recover enough to make a return trip to state. 

All-Stater Ferm repeated as Section 1AA 400-meter run champ (photo by Jim Lindquist) 
Ferm, another state meet veteran who still managed to defend her section 400-meter title, lower her own school record in the event and anchor the runner-up relay at state, ran through a nagging hip injury most of the year,

Hart said he will miss the contributions of his six graduated seniors next spring but he is optimistic his large group of returnees will carry on the program's rich tradition.

"We will return many athletes with experience," he said. "We had a few athletes this year who just missed qualifying for state and that hunger will drive them to success."

Destiny Schmitz: Most Improved (photo by Jim Lindquist)

20 June 2013

Softball: A return to State...and more

Ashley Betzold: All-Everything senior season (photos by Jim Lindquist)
Even with only two seniors on the varsity roster the Tigers put together another outstanding season in 2013.

Coach Paul Harrington's girls finished the year with a 20-7 record, repeated as Section 1AAA champions and earned a second straight berth in the state tournament. Farmington also compiled an 11-3 record and placed runner-up in the Missota Conference race.

"We had to replace our catcher and our entire outfield this season," Harrington said. "Those were some of the big questions we needed to resolve. Some of our kids willingly changed positions and some younger players stepped up and did the job...For as young of a team as we had, we had an awesome season." 

Harrington and his staff awarded 13 varsity letters at the team's post-season awards banquet with only two going to seniors: Ashley Betzold and Toni Hunsinger.

Underclassmen receiving letters included juniors Jordyn Keprios and McKenzie Nelson; sophomores Molly Berdan, Amber Doyle, Kendall Novak, Taylor Yousse, Ashley Ibinger and Jenny Gooddale (manager); freshman Carly Esselman and eighth-graders Maddie Muelken and Emily Berdan.

Amber Doyle: All-Missota, All-Section
Betzold was an all-state selection and made both the Minneapolis StarTribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press all-Metro squads. She and teammates Doyle and Esselman were also selected to the all-Missota Conference team. Hunsinger and Molly Berdan received all-league honorable mention. Betzold, Doyle, Yousse, Esselman and Molly Berdan each received all-section honors.

Betzold made a clean sweep of the team MVP awards, winning both offensive (.400-plus batting average) and defensive (19 pitching victories) categories.

"Ashley is a top-notch pitcher and hitter who did an awesome job of leading us to two straight state tournaments," Harrington said.

Molly Berdan and Esselman shared the Tiger Award for being team players and Emily Berdan was tabbed as the Most Improved Player.

Harrington said the weather-delayed season had many highlights but at the top of the list would have to be the miracle four-run, seventh-inning rally to defeat Hastings in the section tournament.

"Our kids and the fans who witnessed 'The Comeback' will remember it for a long time to come," he said.

Carly Esselman: All-Missota, All-Section
The Tiger coach also liked the spunk his team showed in the final game of the regular when it came back to shutout Missota Conference champion Shakopee in the second game of a doubleheader.

"That set the tone for the post-season," he said.

Harrington said that replacing Betzold and Hunsinger will be a big challenge but he expects more of the same from his 2014 team.

"Like other years, we will tear up last year's results and lineups and see who will win a spot," he said. "Regardless, the experience the girls gained this year should be a big help."

19 June 2013

Girls Lacrosse: Another winning season

All-State performer Rachael Welzin: 56 points (photo by Jim Lindquist)
After a sluggish 1-5 start the young Tigers came on strong to post their second straight winning season, finishing with a final 8-6 record.

Coach Dan Pickens' team closed the regular season on a six-game winning streak and for the second year in a row won its opening round post-season contest.

Perhaps the brightest news for Pickens and his young program is that only one player, Rathminee Hach, will be lost through graduation.

Pickens awarded varsity letterwinners to Hach and 16 other players at the team's post-season awards banquet: juniors Shaye Jenrich, Kylee Glen, Lindsay Benson, Mikayla Todd, Delaney Johnson, Kaeli Halverson, Rachael Welzin and Maddie Kohlbeck; sophomores Jess Herrera. Michaela Tonsager, Becky Genzler and Shelby Klotz; freshmen Jill Tollefson and Brooke Genzler and eighth-graders Amanda Davenport and Ashley Steffes.

Welzin had an outstanding junior season, finishing with 56 points on 42 goals and 14 assists. Those exceptional numbers and her inspired play earned her all-state recognition.

Shelby Klotz: 35 goals, 7 assists (photo by Jim Lindquist)
Klotz also had a big offensive year for the Tigers, piling up 42 points on 35 goals and seven assists. Goaltender Maddie Kohlbeck posted all eight wins will compiling a goals-against average of 8.80.

Pickens reeled off several other season highlights, including the late-season winning streak, the playoff victory over Rochester John Marshall, the wintery season "snownaumi" game with Prior Lake and Hach scoring her first career goal on Senior Night.

"I also appreciated all of the time we had working as a team indoors when the weather wouldn't let us practice outside," he said.

Pickens said he is looking forward to next season when Northfield and Shakopee are expected to add teams to make lacrosse an official Missota Conference sport.

"We only lose one senior and will have some girls moving up from a seventh and eighth grade team that finished fourth in the state," he said. "And our junior varsity lost just its second game in two years.

"We have been getting better and better each year and hopefully next year we will have something to celebrate. Our focus will be on the state tournament."

Maddie Kohlbeck: 8.80 goals-against average (photo by Jim Lindquist)

Girls Golf: A small step forward

Brianna Swenson qualified for section finals
The Tigers played an abbreviated season thanks to a seemingly never-ending winter but still showed some improvement, moving up to seventh place in the Missota Conference standings.

"We grew in numbers and got a lot of practice putting," coach Jon Stock said of the weather-hampered season. "By the end of the season the girls were getting up and down with ease."

Six players earned varsity letters for their efforts during the 2013 season: senior Alexis House; junior Brianna Swenson; sophomores Halea Wright and Kaitlyn Jokinen and freshmen Brooke McConnell and Sidney Comes.

Swenson finished atop the Farmington leaderboard in every meet this season and for the second straight year advanced to the final round of Section 1AA individual play.

Stock said the enduring winter provided the biggest disappointment of the 2013 season.

"The weather didn't allow us many days to practice," he said. "It pushed all of our meets into May so even when it was nice, we couldn't practice because we were competing."

But the second year Tiger coach added the best may lie ahead for the FHS girls' golf program.

"If we can keep our numbers and get some nice weather in April, we will be looking good," he said "We will have several girls competing for varsity spots and should have a few who routinely shoot under 100."

Baseball: Winters enjoyed final season

Mike Winters: 13 years as coach (photo by J. Lindquist)
Coach Mike Winters said his 13th and final season on the Farmington bench was an enjoyable one.

The Tigers finished the 2013 campaign with an overall mark of 7-11 and went 7-7 in Missota Conference play, good enough for a third place tie in the final league standings.

"The kids competed and worked all season long," Winters said. "I have no complaints, only praise for the 2013 Tigers."

The seniors did an unbelievable job of leading us through a difficult spring. They are all MVP's in my book."

Winters and his staff awarded 20 varsity letters at the team's post-season banquet with nine of them going to seniors: Spencer Merle, Kevin Olund, Jordan Lugowski, Jared Lipinski, Kyle Mayer, Zach Huber, Isaac Toenjes, Caleb Eiffert and Turner Olson.

Underclassmen receiving monograms included Johnny Dittman, Nick Schoening, Jordan DeCroock, JD Hinks, Landon Neilson, Ryan Giebel and Jordan Beschorner and sophomores Bobby Eckert, Zach Speikers, Parker Holmstrom, and Austin Martinsen.

Other team members included  Nick Hessa, Tyler Clayton, Edgar Espino, Buck Lester, Kyle Johnsoan and Trent Seal.

Spencer Merle: All-Missota, Leading Hitter (.404) (photo by Jim Lindquist)
Merle won all-Missota Conference honors for the second straight season and Lugowski joined him on the all-league team. Dittman and Eckert received all-conference honorable mention.

Merle was the team's leading hitter with a .404 average and took home the team's batting award. Lugowksi, who hit. 400, was named Mr. D (4 errors) for his defensive efforts and Lipinski (1.03 earned run average) received the Top Gun Award given the top pitcher.

Jordan Lugowski: All-Missota, Mr. D (photo by J. Lindquist)
Eckert who batted .306 won Rookie of the Year honors while Olson, Toenjes and Eiffert shared the Coaches' Award.

Winters said the 2013 season featured many highlights, starting with the pre-season trip to Arkansas and ending with conference sweeps of New Prague and Chanhassen.

"It was good to watch the kids overcome a difficult spring by working their butts off both indoors and outside," Winters said. "They did everything we asked with no questions. They were one of the best groups ever."

While Winters won't be back at the helm next spring he is confident his successor will have a good nucleus on which to build the program.

"We started from four to six underclassmen," he said. "and two of our top three pitchers as far as innings pitched will be back. That will make for a good core."

Boys Tennis: A rewarding spring

Bennett Lagro: MVP and Missota Conference honorable mention
The final numbers weren't dazzling but all things considered, Tiger coach Jack Olwell said the weather-ravaged  2013 spring season was a positive one.

"This was a rewarding season that just flew by," Olwell said. "Although we did not advance past the first round or advance individuals at our sub-section, I can see it is going to happen with this group of players. They are still going to the courts on their own even though the season has ended."

Farmington finished the year with a 3-9 dual meet record and ranked seventh in the Missota Conference with a 1-6 mark.

The team's youth is illustrated by the fact it had only three seniors among its 13 letterwinners: Austin Rau, Drew Corraro and Chris McGlauchlen.

Others earning varsity monograms included juniors Austin Tremmel, Trent Kortenbusch, Jon Zakoski, Ivan Rodriguez and Jake Spindler; sophomore Garrett Brown; freshmen Grady Hauswirth and Cooper Ericksen and seventh-grader Jake Bauer.

Senior ShyAnne Spurzem and junior Megan Stivers, both members of the Tiger girls' team, served as managers this spring and also received letters.

Other team members included junior Nick Makhoul; sophomores Chris Makhoul, Matt Iung and Alex Poirer and freshman Sam Nagle, Anthony Rattana, Zach Knutson, Hunter Kelzenberg, Cole Watson and Derek Cole.

Jake Bauer: Player of the Year
Lagro, an all-Missota Confeernce honorable mention selection, was named the team's Most Valuable Player while Bauer earned Player of the Year honors. Rodriguez won the Tiger Award for attitude and work ethic and Rau was an Academic All-State performer. Zakoski and Kortenbusch shared team captain duties.

"We won more matches than we did last year," Olwell said, "and that's with half of our team being new. We showed great improvement from the beginning of the season to the end."

Olwell said the only disappointments came from the weather that condensed the season and necessitated almost a match-a-day schedule over the final two weeks.

As for the future, Olwell said things are looking up.

"We are going to be much stronger and deeper next year," he said.  "Many players have tennis plans for the summer, fall, and winter - the time when players are made."

09 June 2013

Boys Track: 4x800 sets school mark; 5th at State

(l to r) Tyler Lerbakken, Justin Hyytinen, Devon Webb, Jared Wolt
In what has become an almost regular occurrence the past few weeks the Tigers established a new school record in the 4x800 relay on Saturday.

The big difference was this one came on the biggest stage of Minnesota high school track, the Class AA Championships at Hamline University.

The speedy quartet of Jared Wolt, Devon Webb, Tyler Lerbakken and Justin Hyytinen placed fifth in a talent-rich field, finishing in 7:57.89, lowering their own school mark of 8:03 in the process.

Coach Brian Helmstetter said his team's goal was to get under the 8:00 minute mark and offered the record finishing time could have been even lower had the race been run in one heat.

"This was the only relay run in two heats," he said. "Based on section times Stillwater and Eden Prairie (the champion and runner-up) ran in the first heat. If we would have been in with them we would have been pushed even more...I'd like to see this race run one one heat here."

(l to r) Mason Auge, Ryan Parco, Tommy Weigel, Tanner Grubb
The 4x800 wasn't the only Tiger relay team to place at state. The 4x200 foursome (above) of Mason Auge. Ryan Parco, Tommy Weigel and Tanner Grubb that grabbed the last qualifying spot in the preliminaries clocked 1:30.43 to place seventh.

"Their goal coming in was to make the finals, so to finish seventh is impressive," Helmstetter said.

The 4x400 foursome of Lerbakken, Hyytinen, Weigel and Grubb (bottom of page) turned in a ninth place effort in 3:28.37, six seconds slower than it ran in the prelims.

Hyytinen was the only Tiger to run as an individual at state, placing 14th in the 1600-meter run in a time of 4:23.58.

Farmington scored nine points in the meet, ranking it 37th among 63 schools registering points.

(l to r) Justin Hyytinen, Tyler Lerbakken, Tanner Grubb, Tommy Weigel

Girls Track: 4x400 relay state runner-up

(l to r) Megan Graham, Maria Kiminski, Alicia Hett, Isabelle Ferm
In many ways the 2013 season had been a frustrating one for coach Tom Hart and his Tiger girls' track team.

Intolerable weather conditions. Debilitating injuries to key performers. A fraction of a second or inches from qualifying for the state meet in multiple events.

But there was no sign of frustration on the faces of Hart or the Tiger 4x400 relay team on Saturday after Maria Kiminski, Alicia Hett, Megan Graham and Isabelle Ferm roared to a second place finish at the Class AA State Championships at Hamline University in St. Paul.

The speedy foursome clocked a season best 3:55.73 to finish 1.69 seconds behind champion Minnetonka. The runner-up finish was the best-ever by a Tiger girls' relay team at the state meet.

Kiminski and Hett ran strong opening legs to keep the Tigers in the hunt and then Graham and Ferm put together back-to-back 57 second-plus laps to record all of Farmington's 10 points in the meet.

Ferm's strong closing leg helped take the sting out of her 10th place finish in the 400-meter dash preliminaries the previous day, one spot short of making the finals.

Later on Friday Jennifer Miller stepped in for Ferm in the 4x400 prelims (after Ferm aggravated a nagging hip injury) to allow the Tigers to advance to Saturday's finals.

"Jennifer helped us get here and today we ran an amazing race," Hart said. "I told the girls beforehand that we could run 3:55 if everyone did what they had to do...and that's exactly what they did.

"They put themselves into a position to be state champions. You can't ask for much more than that. I am so proud of all of them"

08 June 2013

Tiger Scoreboard: June 8, 2013

Boys Track
State Class AA State Meet at Hamline University
Farmington 9 points (37th place among 63 schools scoring points)
4x800 relay: 5. Jared Holt, Devon Webb, Tyler Lerbakken, Justin Hyytinen, 7:57.89 (school record)
4x200 relay: 7. Mason Auge, Ryan Parco, Tommy Weigel, Tanner Grubb, 1:30.43
4x400 relay: 9. Lerbakken, Hyytinen, Weigel, Grubb, 3:28.58
1600 meter run: 14. Hyytinen, 4:23.58

Girls Track
State Class AA State Meet at Hamline University
Farmington 10 points (28th place among 60 schools scoring points)
4x400 relay: 2. Maria Kiminski, Alicia Hett, Megan Graham, Isabelle Ferm, 3:55.73

06 June 2013

State Softball: Orono takes Tigers out of tourney

Senior Ashley Betzold had a hit in both games at state (photo by Jim Lindquist)
The Tigers renewed acquaintances with old Missota Conference rival Orono Thursday afternoon, coming out on the short end of a 2-0 count to the Spartans in the consolation semifinals of the 2013 Class 3A state tournament played at Caswell Park in Mankato.

The loss eliminated Farmington, who fell to Suburban East Conference champion Forest Lake 3-1 earlier in the day, from the state meet. Orono advanced to tomorrow morning's consolation championship game.

The Tigers played well enough to win against the Spartans but couldn't come up with the key hit when they needed it. They made but one error in the field and pitcher Ashley Betzold allowed just six hits.

Becky Smith had a single, double and a solo home run and scored both runs for the Spartans. Orono pitcher Anna Berg recorded a dozen Farmington strikeouts.

The Tigers' biggest threat came in the fourth inning when Molly Berdan singled and Amber Doyle doubled to put runners on second and third base with one out. Toni Hunsinger and Kendall Novak grounded out to end the inning.

Farmington had just two two other base runners in the contest. Doyle walked in the second inning and Betzold singled in the sixth.

Betzold wrapped up her stellar career at Farmington with another solid effort, scattering six hits, striking out three and walking one. The loss also marked the end of the career for Hunsinger, the team's other senior. Both plan to attend St. Mary's University in Winona next fall.

Farmington closed its 2013 season with a shining 20-7 record. The Tigers finished runner-up in the Missota Conference, claimed their second straight Section 1AAA title and advanced to the state tournament for the third time in school history.

Senior Toni Hunsinger played on 2 Tiger state tournament teams (photo by Jim Lindquist)

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 Orono          010 001 x   2-6-0

State Softball: Tigers fall 3-1 in opener

Jordyn Keprios 2-2 in state tournament opener (photo by Jim Lindquist)
Forest Lake scored two runs in the second inning and added another in the fourth on the way to a 3-1 win over the Tigers this morning (Thursday) in the opening round of the 2013 Class AAA state tournament at Caswell Park in Mankato.

The Farmington run came in the top of the sixth when Ashley Betzold doubled off the center field fence, Amber Doyle walked, Toni Hunsinger singled and pinch-runner Savannah Greaves scored on a wild pitch.

The Rangers scored their runs in the second on two singles, a sacrifice and a fielder's choice. The third came in the fourth on a solo home run by Taylor Shortly who drove in all three Forest Lake runs.

Farmington got the tying runs on base in the top of the seventh when Jordyn Keprios singled and Emily Berdan walked before two strikeouts ended the game.

Keprios was a perfect 2-2 at the plate to pace the six-hit Tiger offense. Betzold, Doyle, Hunsinger and Molly Berdan had the other Farmington hits.

Betzold pitched well in defeat, scattering eight hits while striking out three and walking one.

The loss dropped the Tigers into the consolation bracket where they will square off against old Tri-Metro Conference rival Orono at noon today. The Spartans dropped a 2-1 decision to Elk River in their opening round game.

Farmington   0000010  1-6-1
Forest Lake   020100x  3-8-1

05 June 2013

Golf season hits the clubhouse

Erik Holmstrom
The Tigers boys' and girls' golf seasons came to an end Monday in the final round of the Section 1AA Championships played at Bellwood Oaks Golf Course and Cannon Valley Golf Club respectively.

The boys finished seventh in the final team standings at Bellwood while Brianna Swenson competed in the girls' individual tourney in Cannon Falls. The Tiger girls did not qualify for the final round of section team play.

Lakeville North claimed the boys team championship with a two-round team total of 613, thirteen shots better than runner-up Rochester Century. Winona took third with 629, followed by Owatonna 636, Albert Lea 657, Red Wing 663, Farmington 687 and Rochester Mayo 696.

Erik Holmstrom led the way for the Tigers with 80, followed by Garrett Heidelberger 85, Darby Grengs 86, Grant Hauswirth 88, Jake Jensen 88 and Nate Anderson 94.

"It was some much needed experience that our team earned," Tiger coach Jon Holmes said of his team's second round effort.  "We also got to send off a few of our seniors with one more shot at the tourney...We didn’t light it up by any means, but we gained some experience that will pay dividends next year."

Brianna Swenson
At Cannon Falls Swenson matched her first round score of 107 to finish at 214 in 43rd place among 49 competitors. The section finals appearance was the second in a row for the Tiger junior.

Schmitz Foundation Fundraiser June 21

Louis Schmitz
The Louis Schmitz Foundation golf scramble will be held Friday, June 21 at 11:00 a.m. at Southern Hills Golf Course north of Farmington.

The event serves as a major fundraiser for the foundation established in the name of the late Louie Schmitz whose name became synonymous with youth sports after his arrival in Farmington in the 1950's

Funds raised from the tournament will help support a scholarship program that will supply financial assistance for needy youth wanting to participate in sports sponsored by the City of Farmington, local sports associations and Farmington Community Education.

The Schmitz Foundation also provides scholarship funds for two Farmington High School seniors. Recipients of those awards will be announced at the post-tournament dinner.

Cost for the tournament is $100 per person and includes 18 holes of golf with cart and range balls, free beverages on the course, the post-tournament roast beef/chicken dinner, a silent auction and eligibility for a variety of raffle prizes.

The tournament is expected to fill quickly so early registration is recommended. For more information regarding registration, hole sponsorship or donating auction or raffle prizes, contact John Barger at 952-240-6793 or johnbarger@frontiernet.net OR Bobby Schmitz at schmitzr21@gmail.com

Information about the event is also available on the foundation's website at www.louisschmitzfoundation.org