ST. PAUL - In an outside lane, fear is an awfully good motivator.
That line of thought was constant amongst the Willmar girls' 4x200-meter relay team as they stepped into Lane 8.
"Run scared. Run scared so (coach Jerry) Popp won't yell at me," Keisha Warne said between laughs.
"When you're in those outside lanes, that's what you got to do," Erica Schramm added. "You don't want to see anybody until Sammy (Christoffer) has about 50 or 100 (meters) left."
Entering the Class AA 4x200 relay finals as the eight seed, the quartet of Warne, Schramm, Kirah Kessler-Gross and Christoffer jumped up three spots from their seed time and broke the school record for a second straight day with a fifth-place time of 1 minute, 42.80 seconds.
"We wanted to get a PR (personal record)," Kessler-Gross said. "Our coaches told us yesterday that it would be great to have your school record last for only a day. That was the goal. We were aiming for sixth but we would have been happy with anything."
Minnetonka was the state champion in the girls' 4x200 with a time of 1:42.08, beating Red Wing (1:42.37) and Chaska (1:42.44).
In the final leg of the race, Christoffer had some added fear, which was alleviated when she saw that they had beaten the school record of 1:43.71 that was set in Friday's prelims.
"When I first got out, I was like, OK, I had a great lead. And then all these girls started passing me," Christoffer said. "I was like, Oh my gosh, all these girls are beating me. But after I saw the time, it felt really good."
The Willmar boys also improved on its seeding time. Sitting in 12th with a time of 8:06.64, the 4x800 relay team of Shawn Mellies-U'Ren, Colin O'Farrell, Aden Aden and Adnan Muhumed cut nearly five seconds off their time at 8:01.97, which was second in their heat and good for 10th place overall.
The boys' 4x800 champion was Wayzata at 7:50.59, followed by Edina's 7:53.21 and Rosemount's 7:53.46.
In the final race of her high school career, Willmar senior Heidi Schmitz had a 16th-place finish in the girls' 1,600 run with a time of 5:26.56. It was Schmitz's second race of the state championship after placing 14th in the 3,200 on Friday.
Rosemount's Lauren Peterson was the 1,600 champion at 4:52.69, beating Wayzata's Emma Atkinson's 4:56.97.
Class AA championship
Winner and Willmar results
4x200 RELAY FINALS - (1) Minnetonka 1:42.08 (5) Willmar (Keisha Warne, Erica Schramm, Kirah Kessler-Gross, Sam Christoffer) 1:42.80
1600 RUN FINALS - (1) Lauren Peterson, Rosemount 4:52.69 (16) Heidi Schmitz, Willmar 5:26.56
Winner and Willmar results
4x800 RELAY FINALS - (1) Wayzata 7:50.59 (10) Willmar (Shawn Mellies-U'Ren, Colin O'Farrell, Aden Aden, Adnan Muhumed) 8:01.97