WILLMAR - Going step-for-step with Rocori's Katelyn Motter, Heidi Schmitz just kept her eyes forward.

Needing a top two finish to qualify for state in the 1,600-meter run, the top three through the entire race was Schmitz, Motter and fellow Rocori runner Merideth Theis. And in the final 100 meters, she wasn't quite sure if she'd be a two-event entrant in the state championship.

The moment Schmitz knew she knew her state fate?

"When I crossed the finish line. That's the only time you can be sure," said Schmitz, who qualified after finishing second to Motter with a time of 5 minutes, 15.40 seconds. Motter won at 5:15.06 while Theis was third at 5:17.67.

"On the straightaway, you're just going as fast as you can, not looking behind you just to make sure you finish strong," Schmitz continued. "You know when you cross the finish line and look to see who's behind you."

In Day 1 of the section championship, Schmitz qualified for state in the 3,200 for the third straight time, becoming the section champion with a time of 11:26.09. This year will be the first time she's been competed in two individual events at state.

"I'm excited for it but it's a little more nerve-wracking because the 1,600 is a totally different race and the 3,200 is the first race of the state meet and you get it over with and enjoy the rest of it," said Schmitz, who finished 12th as a junior and 10th as a sophomore in the state 3,200. "I'll definitely be more focused and it'll be a nice way to finish off my senior year."

For Willmar head track and field coach Jerry Popp, Schmitz's section success comes after a rough patch this spring.

"Heidi really rebounded the last three weeks of the season," Popp said. "She was struggling at midseason and I think a lot of it was realizing this was her last time and she wanted to go out strong and she made it happen. You have to give her all the credit for doing that."

Along with Schmitz, both the Cardinals' boys and girls teams will send a relay team to state.

The boys' 4x800 team of Shawn Mellies-U'Ren, Colin O'Farrell, Aden Aden and Adnan Muhumed placed second and clinched a state berth with a time of 8:06.64. St. Cloud Apollo won with a time of 8:05.62.

The girls' 4x200 followed up with a second-place finish of their own. The quartet of Keisha Warne, Erica Schramm, Kirah Kessler-Gross and Sam Christoffer came just behind Brainerd's winning time of 1:44.33, finishing at 1:44.58.

Erica Schramm placed third in both the 200 (26.34) and 400 (58.88) while Leah Hansen took bronze in the 3,200 on Thursday (11:41.49). In the field, Abby Teisinger was third in the pole vault after getting over a height of 9 feet, 7 inches. Ava Brogen tied for third in the high jump at 5-2.

For the boys, Josh Miley was third in the 200 at 22.64.

"We're excited we have some more events getting to state. We've had some years where we only had one event get in," Popp said. "I don't think we had our best meet, in all fairness to the kids. I think there's a lot of kids on our team that went home a little disappointed. I feel especially bad for Erica because she got third in two different races and missed qualifying by hundredths of a second.

"Those kinds of things happen but it was a solid week."

Section 8AA championship

GIRLS TEAM SCORING-(1) Alexandria 155 (2) Willmar 83.33 (3) Rocori 76 (4) Brainerd 75.5 (5) Moorhead 67 (6) Monticello 50 (7) Foley 41 (8) Thief River Falls 38.33 (9) Bemidji 26 (10) Fergus Falls 25.33 (11) Little Falls 25 (12) Detroit Lakes 12.5 (13) Sartell 10 (T-14) St. Cloud Apollo 6 (T-14) Becker 6 (16) Sauk Rapids 3 (17) St. Cloud Tech 2

Winner and area top five

100 HURDLES - (1) Kaye Paschka, Alex 14.43

300 HURDLES - (1) Kaye Paschka, Alex 44.03

100 DASH - (1) Jordan Mann, Bem 12.18 (4) Kirah Kessler-Gross, Will 12.68

200 DASH - (1) Claire Howell, Moor 25.64 (3) Erica Schramm, Will 26.34 (5) Sam Christoffer, Will 26.38

400 DASH - (1) Claire Howell, Moor 56.64 (3) Erica Schramm, Will 58.88

800 RUN - (1) Alaina Hageman, Fol 2:15.93

1600 RUN - (1) Katelyn Motter, Roc 5:15.06 (2) Heidi Schmitz, WIll 5:15.40

3200 RUN - (1) Heidi Schmitz, Will 11:26.09 (3) Leah Hansen, Will 11:41.49

4X100 RELAY - (1) Brainerd 48.89

4X200 RELAY - (1) Brainerd 1:44.33 (2) Willmar (Keisha Warne, Erica Schramm, Kirah Kessler-Gross, Sam Christoffer) 1:44.58

4X400 RELAY - (1) Moorhead 4:03.70

4X800 RELAY - (1) Rocori 9:25.15

HIGH JUMP - (1) Claire Howell, Moor 5-3 (T-3) Ava Brogren, Will 5-2

LONG JUMP - (1) Gabrielle Smith, Bra 16-10 (4) Sam Christoffer, Will 16-5.25

TRIPLE JUMP - (1) Kaye Paschka, Alex 37-0 (5) Erica Schramm, Will 34-1.5

POLE VAULT - (1) Isabelle Albers, Fol 10-1 (3) Abby Teisinger, Will 9-7

DISCUS - (1) McKenzie Duwenhoeg, Alex 138-9

SHOT PUT - (1) Mya Lesnar, Alex 44-2.75

BOYS TEAM SCORING-(1) Moorhead 132 (2) Alexandria 100 (3) Brainerd 61 (4) St. Cloud Apollo 59 (5) Willmar 57 (6) Bemidji 52 (7) Becker 46 (8) Rocori 39 (9) Foley 29 (10) Sartell 28 (T-11) Detroit Lakes 27 (T-11) St. Cloud Tech 27 (13) Thief River Falls 17 (14) Fergus Falls 10 (15) Monticello 8 (16) Sauk Rapids 6 (17) Little Falls 4

Winner and area top five

110 HURDLES - (1) David Myres, Beck 14.65

300 HURDLES - (1) Zach Henke, Bra 39.43 (4) Sam May, Will 41.61

100 DASH - (1) Drew Olson, Alex 10.58

200 DASH - (1) Drew Olson, Alex 22.05 (3) Josh Miley, Will 22.64

400 DASH - (1) Kevin Andres, Beck 50.31

800 RUN - (1) Logan Lommel, SCA 2:02.60 (5) Adnan Muhumed, Will 2:06.91

1600 RUN - (1) Dawson Strom, Moor 4:29.19

3200 RUN - (1) Zach Johnson, Moor 9:38.76 (4) Fuad Bashir, Will 10:01.72 (5) Mason Wendt, Will 10:04.14

4X100 RELAY - (1) Alexandria 42.78

4X200 RELAY - (1) Alexandria 1:31.47 (5) Willmar (Josh Miley, Kadin Larsson, Lucas Trochlil, Eli Jorgenson) 1:33.37

4X400 RELAY - (1) Brainerd 3:26.46

4X800 RELAY - (1) St. Cloud Apollo 8:05.62 (2) Willmar (Shawn Mellies-U'Ren, Colin O'Farrell, Aden Aden, Adnan Muhumed) 8:06.64

HIGH JUMP - (1) Sutter Colborn, Moor 6-6 (4) Sam May, Will 6-1

LONG JUMP - (1) Robert Sewell, FF 21-0.25

TRIPLE JUMP - (1) George Nyanforth, Moor 44-5

POLE VAULT - (1) Ethan Hebert, Bra 13-8

DISCUS - (1) Houston Hall, Moor 153-10

SHOT PUT - (1) Jameson Cozad, Moor 52-9.5