Farmington cross country took 13th place at the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division I Girls Cross Country State Championship at Michigan International Speedway Nov. 5.

Farmington cross country took 13th place at the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division I Girls Cross Country State Championship at Michigan International Speedway Nov. 5.

Photo provided by Jeremy Auer


Farmington’s Molly Baracco shines at cross country state finals

Team takes 13th

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Farmington Press | Published November 17, 2022

 Farmington sophomore Molly Baracco competes during the MHSAA state finals.

Farmington sophomore Molly Baracco competes during the MHSAA state finals.

Photo provided by Jeremy Auer

FARMINGTON — Sophomore sensation Molly Baracco had a season to remember in 2022.

After securing her first-ever cross country win by almost 30 seconds at the regional championship at Kensington Metropark Oct. 28, Baracco went into the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division I Girls Cross Country State Finals comfortable and confident.

“I felt a lot more comfortable, because last year, I was a freshman, so I didn’t really know what was going on,” Baracco said. “This year, I knew what to expect, and I was more comfortable, and I think that helped me.”

At the MHSAA Division I State Finals on Nov. 5 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Baracco finished in 13th place out of 267 racers, vastly improving over her 96th-place finish in the 2021 state finals.

In a pool of 28 teams, Baracco’s all-State-earning score propelled Farmington to a 13th-place team finish

“The confidence keeps growing, and the more she does, the more she’s going to keep on growing and move up the ladder,” Farmington coach Jeremy Auer said.

Farmington posted an impressive showing from its top-four racers with Baracco, sophomore Catherine Steele (102), senior Olivia Lincourt (113) and junior Faylinn Wong (118) all placing in the top 150.

At regionals, Lincourt, Wong and Steele finished in 17th, 18th and 19th, respectively, to help Farmington earn fourth-place.

Auer said it was a team effort every step of the way this season.

“We really needed all five of them at different times; it took all five of them to get the score at 13th,” Auer said. “We couldn’t have done it without every piece every step of the way.”

The only person who seemed to be surprised by Baracco’s finish at the state finals was Baracco herself, for she said a top-30 finish was what she aimed for.

“It was huge; I wasn’t expecting that at all,” Baracco said.

Throughout Farmington’s cross country season, it was apparent that Baracco was poised to do something special this year.

Baracco finished second at the Oakland Activities Association-White League Championship Oct. 20 and the OAA-White Jamboree Sept. 27.

While her scores continued to improve throughout the year, there was one OAA White opponent that continued to get the better end of each meeting with Baracco.

Auer said Rochester sophomore Lucy Cook was a strong test for Buracco before the state finals.

“The more times she got closer to Lucy (Cook) at Rochester, who was third at states, the more she knew that she had a good shot at states,” Auer said. “There’s really not a whole lot faster than her at states.”

With Baracco and Steele set to return next season and only two of Farmington’s seven state finals starters graduating, the team’s expectations should significantly increase.

Auer said he expects Baracco and Steele to take a step forward next season alongside Wong and junior Isabel Torres.

“It’s definitely fun having your anchors come back, and we’re only losing one of our top-five,” Auer said. “Knowing Molly and Catherine are back definitely gives us a leg up in 2023.”