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Undefeated boys lacrosse team ranked fifth clamors for respect

Farmington wasn't ranked in the preseason top 10 by the Minnesota State High School Boys' Lacrosse Coaches Association.

Now the Tigers have spent the past two weeks at No. 5 — a confidence boost for an upstart program needing the encouragement.

"We used to be the punching bag in the South Suburban Conference," coach Mitch Grengs said. "Even when we went to the state tournament in 2022, people thought we were a one-hit wonder. We're trying to show people that we can be a successful program each season."

If Farmington's 11-0 start can't alter public opinion, the Tigers' next two opponents offer opportunities to enlarge the bandwagon. They play at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at defending state tournament champion Lakeville North and close the regular season against top-ranked Prior Lake.

"It's good we play Lakeville North right before the Section 1 playoffs, because that gives us a chance to see their players and what they like to do," Grengs said. "And both these games are good for us because North and Prior Lake are well-established programs. And we have been trying to get our kids to understand, 'You guys are winners, too.' "

Grengs appreciates having what he considers to be "the most evenly balanced team in the state." Four players — Jack Rosa, Caden Hennes, Parker Nivala and Tommy Lund — have produced anywhere from 32 to 35 points.

"Our offense moves the ball like no other," Grengs said.

Only Rosa, a senior midfielder, has made a college commitment, to Division II Maryville University in Missouri.

Speaking of recruiting, Grengs takes pride in having convinced three seniors to make their lacrosse debuts two seasons ago as sophomores: Darius Johnson, Drew Willis and Caleb Carlson.

Junior goaltender Hayden Houghton has posted an 11-0 record.

As for the treacherous double-dip of top teams to close the regular season, Grengs joked: "All the stars aligned for us to have the great season we had. And now we get to play our two toughest opponents in back-to-back road games. We will be watching our guys to see not only how they play but how they carry themselves."

State rankings

By the Minnesota State High School Boys' Lacrosse Coaches Association (records through Monday)

1. Prior Lake 8-0; 2. Bloomington Jefferson 8-1; 3. Benilde-St. Margaret's 8-1; 4. Stillwater 10-1; 5. Farmington 10-0; 6. Eagan 7-1; 7. East Ridge 9-1; 8. Wayzata 9-1; 9. Lakeville North 6-4; 10. Edina 6-3.