WILLMAR - Saturday was a pleasant surprise at poolside.

That's the best way Willmar head boys swim and diving coach Carl Shuldes described the scene after the Cardinals had state berths in seven events to go with a fourth-place team finish at the Section 3A championship.

"I knew going in we had some shots but I didn't think we'd get eight swims covered," Shuldes said. "It's so much fun and it's a testament to how hard these guys worked."

Among the state competitors, sophomore Ayden Schueller had the top finish after winning the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1 minute, 48.52 seconds. He also qualified individually in the 500 freestyle with a second-place time of 5:04.12.

In the 200, Schueler had to practice a little patience with Hutchinson's Matthew Olberg, who was swimming one lane over.

"I was getting a little frustrated halfway through that (Olberg) wasn't slowing down," Schueler said. "But when he started to ease off the last little bit (in the last 75 yards), I knew I had him. I felt pretty good."

Also punching a ticket for two individual state events was senior Mateo Marin-Mera, who placed second in both the 200 individual medley (2:06.38) and the 100 butterfly (55.40).

"He's just been a great leader for us," Shuldes said of Marin-Mera. "He's real soft-spoken and just does his job."

Two more Willmar swimmers got in individually as Colin O'Farrell will join Schueler in the 200 freestyle after taking third (1:51.50) and Jacob Meyer finished second in the 100 freestyle (50.04).

The quartet of Meyer, Marin-Mera, O'Farrell and Schueler will also join forces for a pair of state relays after taking second in the 200 freestyle (1:32.16) and 400 freestyle (3:19.98).

With four swimmers competing across several events, it'll make for a busy week of preparation. And, that's fine with Shuldes.

"I can't think of much else I'd rather be doing, I'll tell you that," he said.

The Class A state championship meet will take place at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center at the University of Minnesota, starting with diving prelims on Thursday, swim prelims on Friday and the championship meet on Saturday, March 2.

Section 3A championship

Team Scores

(1) Sauk Rapids 430 (2) Hutchinson 368 (3) Monticello 320 (4) Willmar 300 (5) Princeton 193 (6) Montevideo 164 (7) Dassel-Cokato/Litchfield 163 (8) St. Cloud Apollo 162

Individual results

State qualifiers (top 3) plus area swimmers in finals

200 MEDLEY RELAY - (1) Sauk Rapids 1:39.66 (2) Hutchinson 1:41.46 (3) Monticello 1:45.47 (5) DC/Litchfield (Kjel Johnson, Logan Christopherson, Sam Resop, Theo Kulzer) 1:47.88 (6) Montevideo (Matthew Fragodt, Nicholas Dunn, Garrett Arends, Seth Olson) 1:48.25 (7) Willmar (Jon Arends, Logan McGillivray, Riley Zammert, Phil Stadem) 1:50.63

200 FREESTYLE - (1) Ayden Schueler, Willmar 1:48.52 (2) Matthew Olberg, Hutchinson 1:50.12 (3) Colin O'Farrell, Willmar 1:51.50

200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY - (1) Noah Tague, Hutchinson 2:05.86 (2) Mateo Marin-Mera, Willmar 2:06.38 (3) Logan Bakken, St. Cloud Apollo 2:06.69

50 FREESTYLE - (1) Kayden Daniels, Sauk Rapids 22.10 (2) Jack Whinnery, Monticello 22.11 (3) Ben Claassen, Sauk Rapids 22.53 (5) Jacob Meyer, Willmar 22.77

DIVING - (1) Jack Grabinski, Sauk Rapids 461.10 (2) Dakotah Parker, Monticello 438.80 (3) Elijah Grabinski, Sauk Rapids 386.45 (10) Daniel Schenk, DC/Litchfield 264.60 (11) Rafael Zelaya, Willmar 264.55 (12) Kale Bockelman, Willmar 254.90 (14) Maxwell Carruth, Montevideo 245.05 (16) Wyatt Picht, Montevideo 198.95

100 BUTTERFLY - (1) Whinnery, Monticello 52.70 (2) Marin-Mera, Willmar 55.40 (3) Thomas Daniels, Sauk Rapids 55.41 (4) S. Resop, DC/Litchfield 55.83 (8) Nicholas Dunn, Montevideo 59.94

100 FREESTYLE - (1) K. Daniels, Sauk Rapids 48.58 (2) Meyer, Willmar 50.04 (3) Claassen, Sauk Rapids 50.06 (4) O'Farrell, Willmar 50.74 (8) Arends, Montevideo 51.51

500 FREESTYLE - (1) Olberg, Hutchinson 5:03.03 (2) Ayden Schueler, Willmar 5:04.12 (3) Jacob Biard, Monticello 5:11.94

200 FREESTYLE RELAY - (1) Sauk Rapids 1:30.49 (2) Willmar (Meyer, Marin-Mera, O'Farrell, Schueler) 1:32.16 (3) Hutchinson 1:32.29 (4) Montevideo (Fragodt, Arends, Trew Evenson, Olson) 1:32.64 (6) DC/Litchfield (S. Resop, Shawn Maurer, Jackson Resop, Theo Kulzer) 1:36.37

100 BACKSTROKE - (1) Anton Nunvar, Hutchinson 54.47 (2) Wade Lawrence, Princeton 56.78 (3) Conner Hogan, Hutchinson 57.22 (5) Stadem, Willmar 58.35 (6) Arends, Willmar 58.64 (8) Carruth, Montevideo 1:03.31

100 BREASTSTROKE - (1) Bakken, St. Cloud Apollo 1:02.65 (2) Isaac Freese, Sauk Rapids 1:03.35 (3) Tucker Hendrickson, Sauk Rapids 1:03.60

400 FREESTYLE RELAY - (1) Sauk Rapids 3:19.11 (2) Willmar (Meyer, Marin-Mera, O'Farrell, Schueler) 3:19.98 (3) Monticello 3:25.65 (4) Montevideo (Evenson, Fragodt, Olson, Arends) 3:28.83 (7) DC/Litchfield (S. Resop, J. Resop, Johnson, Kulzer) 3:35.92