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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It looks like the team race at Saturday's Class 2A State boys cross country meet may wind up being a battle for second. Stillwater has been ranked first throughout the season and the Ponies did nothing to make anyone believe otherwise at last week's Section 4AA Championships. They defeated runner-up White Bear Lake 28-81 and posted an average time of 15:59 - and spread of just 37 seconds - between their top five counting scorers. If the Ponies' top four runners can match their section times of 15:40, 15:51, 16:02 and 16:07, they could bring in all four ahead of the No.
It took one of the state's best teams and one of the state's best players to knock Rosemount out of last week's Class 2A State Tennis Tournaments. Rosemount, competing in the team tournament for the second time in three years, advanced past Brainerd 4-3 in the opening round last Tuesday before falling to eventual runner-up Rochester Mayo 6-1 in the semifinals. The Irish then lost a 4-3 nail-biter to Elk River in the third-place match last Wednesday, leaving them with a program-best fourth-place finish in the eight-team field at the University of Minnesota's Baseline Tennis Center.
Rosemount was without Natalie Busher, Meghan Schuster, Jillian Blanc and Laurel Officer when it took the floor for last Wednesday night's Section 3AAA tournament opening round game at Burnsville. Those four players -- along with Nicole Valentini, who returned for the section match --missed most of the second half of the season with injuries.
Rosemount locked up a share of its first conference title since the 1980s by beating Eastview 103-83 in the final dual meet of the regular season last Tuesday at Rosemount Middle School. The Irish finished in a three-way tie with Lakeville North and Prior Lake as all three teams finished with 8-1 records in the South Suburban Conference. "Winning the conference is a big accomplishment and the girls were very proud of themselves for all their hard work and effort throughout the season," Rosemount coach Tami Carlson said.
Turnovers were Rosemount's undoing throughout the regular season, a nd that didn't change in Saturday's Section 3AAAAA semifinals. The top-seeded Irish turned the ball over five times and fourth-seeded Eastview turned all five into touchdowns as it advanced to face Prior Lake in the section finals with a 49-13 victory at Irish Stadium. The Irish finished the season with a record of 5-4. In the five victories, the team had just six turnovers.
Rosemount lost to Rochester Mayo 6-1 in the semifinals, then finished fourth at the Class 2A state meet after a 4-3 setback against Elk River in the third-place match Wednesday at Baseline Tennis Center. Ally Baker and Kirsten Hoffmann each won singles matches against Elk River. Layna Mestad and Abby Kohagen added a victory in doubles play. Rochester Mayo went on to lose 5-2 to Edina in the Class 2A championship. Top singles player Virginia Norder is back in action today in the Class 2A state singles tournament. She opened with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Natalie Phippen of Stillwater Area.
Rosemount will once again send a large group to the Class 2A State Cross Country Meet Saturday. The Irish boys, ranked second in the state, defended their section title 58-66 over runner-up Burnsville and Liz Evenocheck and Hannah Grim snuck into the top 10 in the girls race to qualify for state as individuals at Wednesday afternoon's Section 3AA Championships at the University of Minnesota Les Bolstad Golf Course in Falcon Heights. The boys team brought its No.
Turnovers have been a killer for the Rosemount football team this season. The Irish have turned the ball over 16 times - courtesy of nine fumbles and seven interceptions - in eight games. Ten of those giveaways have come in their three losses: four fumbles in a Week 4 setback to Lakeville North; a fumble and an interception the next week at Lakeville South; and three interceptions and a lost fumble in a 28-7 home loss to Eagan in last Wednesday's regular season finale at a chilly Irish Stadium.
The Rosemount girls swimming and diving team was excited to qualify for the True Team state meet, but actually competing in the meet made for a long week for the ninth-ranked (Class 2A) Irish. Coach Tami Carlson's squad qualified by winning its first True Team section meet last Saturday, then hosted Bloomington Jefferson on Tuesday before traveling to downtown Minneapolis for the Class 2A State meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center Wednesday and Thursday.
Rosemount managed to build some momentum for the Section 3AAA tournament while splitting its final two regular season matches last week. The Irish beat Woodbury last Tuesday, and then closed out a 13-14 regular season with a 3-0 loss at fifth-ranked (Class 3A) Lakeville North on the road Wednesday night. The team ended up with four wins in its final six matches, giving head coach Smokey Vitek confidence heading into Wednesday night's Section 3AAA first-round game at eighth-seeded Burnsville. "We played well against Woodbury and pretty well against Lakeville North," she said.