Sprint depth a strength for Tiger girls track

Farmington has most of state runner-up relay team back

Isabelle Ferm is one of the top athletes on the Farmington girls track and field team. Photo by Jim Lindquist/sidekick.smugmug.com
Isabelle Ferm is one of the top athletes on the Farmington girls track and field team. Photo by Jim Lindquist/sidekick.smugmug.com

Track and field athletes from Farmington, Rosemount and Shakopee got outside Monday afternoon for what was pretty much a timed scrimmage, but the value still couldn’t be understated, Farmington girls coach Tom Hart said.

It was, after all, “track athletes finally getting on the track,” Hart said.

The Tigers were to have a meet at their track April 1, but bad weather postponed it. Later last week, high school tracks throughout the metro area were buried under 10 inches of snow from an early spring storm. To be outside three days after the storm was a blessing, Hart said.

Team scores weren’t kept at Monday’s meet, which helped each school tailor its participation to its needs. Shakopee didn’t send a girls team, Rosemount had no entries in the boys 1,600 meters, and Farmington ran seven teams – yes, seven – in the girls 4×100 relay.

“For me, just getting outside, with 100 percent of the girls participating, that’s what I was looking for,” Hart said.

The Farmington girls will be in a scored meet at Shakopee on Friday. That will give Hart a better idea of the team’s overall strength, but his initial impressions were positive.

“We have a lot of kids in the sprints,” the coach said. “We have some really young kids who look like they could really help us.”

The Tigers are so deep in the sprints that their best athlete, senior Isabelle Ferm, has suggested they could qualify for state in the 4×100, 4×200 and 4×400 relays, Hart said.

Farmington finished second at state in the 4×400 relay last year and returns four individuals who competed in that event. Ferm and juniors Alicia Hett and Megan Graham ran in the finals. Sophomore Jennifer Miller ran the relays in the state preliminaries in place of Ferm, who was nursing an injury.

Ferm also was Section 1AA champion in the 400 meters in 2013. Ninth-grader Emma Record is part of the deep group of sprinters. Destiny Schmitz, a junior, narrowly missed qualifying for state in the triple jump and could be a threat in the high jump. Lauren Peterson, a seventh-grader who qualified for state in cross country last fall, looks to be the Tigers’ top distance runner.

Like many Farmington teams, the girls track squad wants to win the Missota Conference title in their final attempt before the Tigers leave for the South Suburban Conference.

“I asked the girls about their goals and they said right away, ‘The conference (championship),’ ” Hart said. “We’ve been close a few times.”

Section 1AA, which includes state powers Lakeville South and Lakeville North, also should be good preparation for the Tigers’ move to the South Suburban. Both Lakeville schools are in that league.

“Generally, if you get through that section, you’re going to do well at state,” Hart said.

Farmington boys

The Tigers were 37th at state last season but took second in the Section 1AA meet. They could have the pieces in place to do better this year.

One of the key pieces is distance runner Justin Hyytinen, who qualified for state in the 1,600 last spring and for the state cross country meet last fall. Hyytinen, Jared Wolt and Devon Webb return from a team that placed fifth at state in the 4×800 relay.

Seniors Mason Auge and Tanner Grubb and junior Ryan Parco ran on sprint relays at the 2013 state meet.

Middle-distance runner Adam Dougherty and hurdlers Alex Hart and Nehemiah Rockett are among the Tigers’ other top returnees.

Farmington will compete in the boys division at the Shakopee meet Friday. Next week, both Farmington teams will have home invitationals, with the boys meet Tuesday and the girls competing Thursday.