Matt Steichen has been the sports editor at the Farmington Independent and Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa. He has previously been a sports writer at the Sioux City Journal and Le Mars Daily Sentinel and the sports editor at the Austin Daily Herald.
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Today marks the official start of the spring sports season for Minnesota State High School League softball and track teams. For photos from the first day of softball and track practices at Farmington and Rosemount, and previews of the upcoming softball seasons, check out Thursday's print editions of the Farmington Independent and Rosemount Town Pages.
All five Rosemount wrestlers won their opening matches, four made it to the second day of competition and one made it all the way to the finals at last weekend's Class 3A State Wrestling Meet at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Senior standout Adam Jackson, state runner-up last year at 160 pounds, found himself in the same position this year at 152 pounds. Jackson trailed TJ O'Hara of Tartan 1-0 in the second period of the 152 finals when O'Hara countered a takedown attempt by Jackson and rolled him over for a two-point takedown and a three-point near fall.
Two of the top teams in the state assured Rosemount would take a losing streak into this week's Section 4AAAA tournament. The Irish closed out the regular season by falling to Tyus Jones and fifth-ranked Apple Valley 79-58 Friday night at Apple Valley. Three nights earlier, they were dealt a 64-40 setback at second-ranked and South Suburban Conference champion Lakeville North. The Irish finished with a record of 11-15, earning them the No. 6 seed in the section and a first-round road game Wednesday night at Cretin-Derham Hall.
Just like the Rosemount girls hockey team, the Rosemount girls basketball team's season came to an end with a trip to Apple Valley. The sixth-seeded Irish scored just 14 points in the first half and shot 26 percent from the floor in a 69-39 loss to the third-seeded Eagles last Wednesday night in the opening round of the Section 3AAAA tournament.
Rosemount senior Adam Jackson capped off his standout career with his second straight runner-up finish at the Class 3A State Wrestling Meet. Jackson lost to TJ Ohara of Tartan (40-2) in the 152-pound final Saturday night at Xcel Energy Center. He finished the season with a record of 41-4.
After an undefeated run through the South Suburban Conference, a third-place finish at the True Team State Meet and a fifth-straight Section 3AA championship, the Rosemount swimming and diving team finished right where it was expected to. Ranked fourth in Class 2A in the initial coaches poll back in early December, the Irish kept up their end of things with a fourth-place total of 178 points last Saturday at the Class 2A State Championships at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center.
Rosemount stayed out of last place with a 60-55 victory over Burnsville in Friday's regular season finale. The Irish entered a game behind both Burnsville and Lakeville South in the South Suburban Conference standings. The win drew all three teams to matching 4-14 league records, but the Irish stayed out of last place by virtue of their season sweep of the Blaze. Head coach Sam McDonald's team finished with an overall record of 9-17, earning the No. 6 seed in Section 3AAAA. The Irish faced third-seeded Apple Valley (14-12) in the opening round Wednesday night.
A Friday night game with 1-22 Burnsville was good therapy for a Rosemount basketball team coming off a disappointing Senior Night loss to Eagan earlier in the week. Ten players got in the scoring column as the Irish scored 43 second-half points and rolled to a season sweep of the Blaze with a 73-43 blowout victory at Burnsville. The team shot 45 percent, made seven three-pointers, converted on 16 of 20 tries from the free-throw line and turned the ball over just five times. Senior Matt Nelson led the way with 17 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots.
Competing in the same section as two of the top wrestling programs in the state -- and one of the best programs in the nation in Apple Valley -- has made it tough for Rosemount to advance its grapplers on to the state tournament the past few years. The Irish caught a break this year as second-ranked Hastings was moved to Section 1AAA.
The Rosemount boys hockey team spent the final week of the season on an emotional roller coaster. After ending a month-long losing streak with a 5-1 victory over Farmington in last Saturday's regular season finale, the Irish made it two in a row with their biggest victory of the season, a 4-3 win on the road at Woodbury in the opening round of the Section 3AA tournament. The Irish didn't have long to savor the victory, however, as third-ranked Eagan put an end to their season with a 12-0 rout last Thursday. The Irish (6-21) finished with six wins for the second year in a row.