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.