BLAINE -- The Brainerd Warriors 4x400 relay team waited all day for its event to take place.
But it was well worth the wait.
After spending the day checking out a few events and basically just killing time, the four members -- Jason Howard, Adam Guderian, Aron Stumvoll and Mike Weiss -- finally competed in their event, which was the last one of the state meet at approximately 5:40 p.m. Saturday.
But the team remained focused, finishing fourth in a time of 3:22.81 and shattering the Brainerd school record of 3:24.5 in the finals of the Class AA meet at the National Sports Center.
"They were outstanding," Warriors coach Rod Reuer said. "It was a great way to finish the meet. We waited all day because the first day didn't go as planned.
"When you get to the finals day, there's no saving anything for later."
Brainerd competed in six preliminaries Friday, but only the 4x400 advanced to Saturday's competition.
The Warriors had the fifth fastest time (3:24.74) on Friday and were seeded fourth (they placed second in their heat) for Saturday's finals. Mounds View won the finals in a time of 3:20.96 and was followed by Burnsville and Stillwater.
The team of Howard, Guderian, Stumvoll and Weiss broke the old school record of 3:25.5 set in 1982 at the State True Team event earlier this spring. But their time Saturday was just under two seconds faster.
Stumvoll said he thought the old record was untouchable.
"It had been there for so long," said Weiss, who along with Stumvoll, was on the team last year. "Adam and Jason took us to the next level."
Howard leads off the relay and was immediately surprised at the start of the race. Mounds View, which finished fourth in Brainerd's heat Friday, switched its leadoff runner for the finals because it knew it would qualify and wanted to save its best runner for the final day.
"He was out there in a hurry," Howard said. "At that point, I was scared and I ran as fast as I could."
Howard handed off to Guderian smoothly, who came out fast but eventually lost ground to the field at just over 100 meters of his split.
"I came out really fast and I usually do," said Guderian, a senior who is in his first varsity season. "At 150 meters, I was at the back of the pack because everybody was moving so fast. At the end this guy and I had to cross so I had to slow down a half-step."
Guderian did reach the rest of the pack at the switch with Stumvoll, who was at the end of the line because Brainerd was trailing. But they passed the baton perfectly.
"The only thing I was thinking was they're going to do something and trip," Stumvoll said of Guderian and his opponents. "We had a perfect handoff. That pulled us ahead. We passed two guys just with the handoff."
Stumvoll immediately jumped into sixth place and maintained the place until switching to Weiss. Weiss had trouble with a handoff Friday when the baton was dropped in the 4x200 relay prelims. But the handoff Saturday was smooth and Weiss eventually crossed the finish line in fourth place.
"Having a good handoff really helps," said Weiss, a sophomore and the only non-senior of the four. "It makes for faster splits. We put the emphasis on the handoff and I know some teams don't.
"I caught up to the pack and I waited until the last 100 to make my move because the first 300 was so fast. It must have been Warrior conditioning."
Warrior boys have successful season
Brainerd qualified six individuals in six events for the Class AA state track and field meet. The Warriors team qualified for the State True Team meet.
They set five school records. The 4x400 relay team was fourth at the state meet.
The stats don't lie. It was the best season in Brainerd Warriors boys track in quite some time.
"We had great team depth and balance. It was a great year," Reuer said. "I didn't know how good we'd be, but they stepped up the level of performance and the kids can be proud.
"I think everyone rallied around the group of veterans. We really stressed the team concept. By believing everybody is going to contribute as a team, everybody's performances were better."
A lot of the success in 2000 came from individuals who were not expected to compete at such a high level. The depth the Warriors had made competition fierce in practice and at meets.
"New people stepped it up this year," Howard said. "People who weren't doing anything last year came through."
Class AA area boys results
4x400 relay finals -- 1-Mounds View 3:20.96, 4-Brainerd (Jason Howard, Adam Guderian, Aron Stumvoll, Mike Weiss) 3:22.81
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