Tiger track on pace for another record season
Lorencz, Parco are back after earning medals at state
The majority of the girls who helped the Farmington track and field team take several pounds of hardware home from the Class AA state meet last June are back for another run.
Last season Nadia Lorencz took home silver medals in the 100-meter hurdles and long jump. She said she plans on coming home with gold this time around.
“I want to win,” Lorencz said. “I’d like to jump a foot farther on long jump. That would be awesome. I’m working on my approach. I was a little out of control last year. I learned a lot at clinics in both events during the offseason. I actually lifted this year, too.”
Most of the top competition from 2011 has graduated, so if she continues her gains, count Lorencz as a favorite – provided she stays healthy. She’s currently dealing with a lingering back injury from gymnastics, but last season she had a hamstring injury and missed the first few weeks of track and field and by state she was fine.
Lorencz isn’t the only Farmington girl with high aspirations. Alyssa Parco is one of the top hurdlers in the metro after coming in third last season at state in the 300-meter race.
“I’m hoping to get my time down,” Parco said. “I’m working on my form and (to) get my speed up. Hopefully get a sub-44 (seconds).”
Last season she ran 44.81 at state, a half-second out of first.
Parco is also a member of the 4×400 relay that finished fourth at the state meet, along with Isabelle Ferm and Maria Kiminski.
They’re holding auditions for that final spot with Megan Graham and Kalli Opsal in the running.
“It’s going to create some great inter-team competition during the day and that’s only going to make us better,” head coach Tom Hart said.
With another strong leg on the relay, the girls would like to move higher on the podium by June.
“We’ve worked really hard. We spent three-four days a week in the weight room and went on really long runs,” Kiminski said.
Hart is confident they’ll contend again in 2012.
“They’re gamers,” Hart said. “The bigger the meet the bigger the result. It’s just not something I can teach them. They have that internally and it’s a great attribute.”
Behind the state medal winners is a new crop of young athletes hoping to continue Farmington’s winning ways.
There’s been an influx of talent in nearly every event.
“There’s a lot of potential,” Kiminski said. “We have a lot more throwers and (distance runners) and some really fast younger girls. There’s a better balance than we’ve had before.”
The throwers, Alysha Grebner and Alexis Smrekar, are getting some help from Smrekar’s mother, Julie, a volunteer coach who set records of her own in high school at Minnetonka.
Kelli Elmer, who was an All-Missota sprinter, is back along with seniors Kayla Watne, Jessica Arey, Abby Haugen and Elizabeth Okikiolu, who should help out in sprints and jumps.
The Tiger track team lost many seniors, but several underclassmen have lined up to take their place.
The boys team has 102 members out this spring, most in school history.
“From the organization standpoint it’s a little more difficult, but it’s an awesome problem to have,” coach Brian Helmstetter said. “From the success they had last year, they go into the halls and say they had a lot of fun.”
He also said other athletes have taken notice of the cross-training track has to offer.
“We help athletes that want to be better athletes,” Helmstetter said. “We know this is the second or third sport for a lot of the kids. We’ll make them a better basketball player, better soccer player.”
The Tigers had an influx of freshmen last season, who are now older, bigger and faster.
“They’re still pretty young, but now they’re experienced,” Helmstetter said.
Middle distance, sprints, hurdles and throwing events have benefited from the surge.
Tyler Lerbakken leads a group of middle-distance runners with Chad Retterath, Trevor Breezley, Tanner Grubb and Mason Gaylord.
Throwing has been popular at Farmington for a while, thanks to the success of Trey Davis and Logan Hussung, alumni who now throw for the University of Minnesota.
“A lot of the young guys in that group know those guys,” Helmstetter said. “They come back two, three times a year. It’s pretty meaningful to see guys with hardware from the Big Ten Conference.”
Joe Ouyang and C.J. Wynings hope to continue Farmington’s dominance in throwing.
Sprinters Alex Chadwick and Jack Erickson, and pole vaulters Reid Taubenheim and Connor Phu, hope to increase Farmington’s point totals.
Justin Hett has hopes to break into the top three in the conference in jumping events, along with long jumper Dan Berg.
“Things look promising,” Helmstetter said. “A conference title and section title are a little out of reach, but we’ll make some noise.”
Andy Rogers can be reached at email@example.com or facebook.com/sunthisweek.