The Bemidji High track teams become the last of the spring sports units to begin post season play when they open at the Section 8 meet at Alexandria today in the first day of a split two-day event.
This will be the second season of the new format for the section replacing its single day meet of many years.
That followed the long standing format which found north and south sub-section meets a week prior to the sectional.
Today's meet will begin at 3 as will Saturday's finals at Apollo.
Today will find finals in seven of the 18 events and preliminaries in five others.
The finals will take place in the 3200 meter run on the track and the girls high jump, long jump and discus and boys pole vault, long jump and shot put in the field.
Preliminaries are set for the high hurdles for both boys and girls as well as the 100, 200, 400 and 800 meter runs.
The top eight finishers in those events will move on to Saturday's finals.
The top two finishers in each event plus the winning relay teams qualify for the state meet at Hamline along with finishers bettering the state qualifying standards.
Both teams are looking to better their 2008 finishes.
For the girls, that should not be hard to do since Bemidji plummeted to 14th in last year's meet, managing only 12 points.
For the boys, it may be a difficult task since they finished fourth at the section in 2008 and went on to score nine points at the state.
Nate McGriff in the 400, Erik Truedson in the 3200 and the 4 x 8 relay all scored.
But with another potent senior class leading the way and some outstanding younger performers, it could be done.
Moorhead, Brainerd and Sartell preceded Bemidji last year with 12 teams trailing.
Bemidji will again have good balance with a particularly strong field events crew, perhaps the strongest in many years.
They are led by Joe Kingery in the jumps and weights, McGriff in the long jump. Derek Davis in the high jump and pole vaulter Luke Bruns.
Travis Greenwaldt and McGriff pose two strong threats in the sprints along with Truedson and Zac Oelrich in the middle distance and distance events.
The Jacks should also score well in the relays particularly in the 4 x 2 and 4 x 4.
Moorhead is the defending champion.
The girls have been among the top five in most of their meets this spring with their chief tormentor, Grand Rapids, not in Section 8.
Their squad is more balanced than the boys with strong contributors in all four grades with only a handful of seniors among the top scorers.
They should score well in the 200 and 400 with Jessy Bruns, the distances with Bailey Drewes and Kim Truedson and the hurdles with Abby Hendricks.
Their relays should also score well.
And in the field they have solid entrants in high jumper Amanda Hunt, Bruns in the triple jump, pole vaulter Tiffany Mason and Selina Gilbertson and Katie Verchota in the weights.
Like the boys, their continuing problem is lack of depthlacking the ability to place two or three finishers among the top 10.
Brainerd won last year's title by 9½ points over Moorhead with Tech and Sartell not far behind.
Those four should be top contenders again this week.