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Willmar's Schmitz just misses at State 400 dash finals

Willmar freshman Sophie Schmitz reaches the finish line at the Hamline University track in 58.64 in Friday’s AA 400-prelim’s second heat, narrowly missing a spot in the finals. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton

ST. PAUL – So close!

Willmar Cardinals freshman Sophie Schmitz placed tenth of 17 hopefuls in the Class AA prelims of the 400 dash late Friday morning at Klas Field on the Hamline University campus.

The top nine advanced to the finals on Day 2 of the State Track and Field meet.

“Gosh, just missed the podium,” said Willmar’s lone State qualifier.

She ran a good race finishing in 58.64, just off her Section 8AA winning time of 58.49. If she could have duplicated that on the hot, blue-sky day, she would have edged ahead of ninth-place Emma Allen of Rochester Century, who came in at 58.55. Cretin-Derham Hall runners, as expected, won each heat: sophomore Brieasha Hunter in 55.29 and defending champion senior Megan Linder in 55.72.

“I’m glad I’m here,” reflected Schmitz. “These are fast girls.”

She’s second on the Cardinals all-time list in this event, behind only Bri Fernholz (2006).

This is her second State track meet (4x400 relay in 2013) and she’s run in two State cross-country meets.

“I hope to get really good at the 400 and the 800,” she said. She’s on the path, it appears. She didn’t break 60 seconds in the open 400 as an eighth-grader.

This week she trained with teammates Samantha Hanson, Shelby Schneider and Miranda Roelofs.

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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