What To Watch Out For At The Hamline Elite Meet

After one of the worst springs for high school athletics weather-wise in Minnesota history, it looks like the whole state can finally breathe a sigh or relief and move on. And what better way to do so than to celebrate the best Minnesota athletes have to offer?

In 2006, Hamline University decided to put together a special event hosted at its new state-of-the-art, nine-lane, Mondo-surfaced track at Klas Field in St. Paul, MN, inviting all the top athletes so far that season to compete against each other.

The event was a success and helped convince the Minnesota State High School League in 2007 to move the state track and field championships from their-then home at the Blaine National Sports Center to their current location at Hamline University.

Each year since, the tradition of collecting the state's top talent has continued, and today the meet is cemented into the culture of high school track and field as second only to the state championships' reputation.

The top athletes are separated not by class or qualifying standards or qualifying races but instead only by their skill.

Both the 2016 and 2017 versions of the Elite Meet have brought the meaning of the competition to a whole new level, with almost exactly half of the meet records being set in one of the last two years. This year will be a challenge to live up to everything those year had to offer, but what 2018 does have is one of the most elite and deepest fields of girls' distance runners in the whole nation. Emily Covert, Anna Fenske, Tierney Wolfgram, and the Ping sisters are just a few of the amazing runners in the field.

Watch the Hamline Elite Meet LIVE tonight, only on MileSplit

And there are many other big names and big events to watch too. Julia Fixsen is certainly one of the nation's best at what she does, and could make history at any moment in any competition. Keylan Jackson could pull off an historic triple, and history could also be made in one of the girls' jumping or boys' throwing events. And who knows who some of the day's biggest surprises will be?

Of course, underneath all the excitement and competition of the Hamline Elite Meet is the weather. For the second time in meet history (after also doing so in 2013), athletes were allowed to use performances from the previous year as entries to qualify for the meet. This decision was made due to the fact that over three-quarters of the scheduled meets in the state prior to Hamline were either cancelled or postponed (over 250 in total), and many of the state's best athletes didn't even get a chance to achieve a quality mark in some of their signature events. 

Hamline Elite Meet Heat Sheets

The downside of that decision, of course, is that this year's meet has far fewer "surprise" qualifiers, or athletes that developed and improved a lot since the previous year and started dropping killer marks (like last year's 100H champion Ansley Schug). And also, of course, using prior year's marks in relay events can potentially be misleading since athletes may have graduated. But at the same time, it doesn't take more than a casual glance through the list of entries to see that the athletes competing here are truly elite. Which is exactly the purpose of the meet.

So just how good can it get? Continue on for a look at all you can expect and who to watch out for in every event!