With defending Hamline Elite Meet Shaliciah Jones sitting out this year's edition, the 100m dash title is up for grabs, and it very-well could end up in the hands of MaeLea Harmon. After spending the past three years chasing the T'Nia Riley and the Lewis sisters in Class A, Harmon and her career-best time of 11.99 may also finally win her first Class A championship this year. But the senior-heavy field likely won't let Harmon take the title that easily, and she'll face a challenge from the likes of Kendra Kelley, Kinga Mozes, Robbie Grace, Faith Robinson, and her future MSU-Mankato teammate Odell Frye. In addition to the talented seniors, Edina's breakout freshman Maddie Dahlien could begin to establish herself as a sprinting force, and Kyra Dalluge will mount a challenge as the only girl running the sprint triple at Hamline after primarily running relays in 2018.
Many of those came athletes will also be competing in the 200m dash as well, with defending Elite Meet 200m champion Kendra Kelley owning the fastest career 200m mark by a substantial margin. Also joining Kelley, Mozes, Frye, and Harmon in the 200m competition will be Claire Howell, who won the 400m at Hamline last year and who's seed time of 26.22 is actually from an indoor meet.
As for the 4x100 and 4x200 relays, while no particular team has laid a strong claim as favorites yet this outdoor season, the Faith Robinson-anchored team from Minnetonka is the top overall seed for the 4x100 (and the only team to run sub-50 second yet), and Prior Lake's Taynian Walgrave-anchored 4x200 has the top seed by over a second. However, one team that will be very interesting to watch will be Class A Park Rapid's 4x100m relay, which is the second overall seed and could pull off a very rare feat by beating all the Class AA teams attending.
With Robbie Grace turning her attention more to the jumps this year, she had elected not to run the open 400m dash, and thus will not attempt revenge for Claire Howell beating her to the line at the very end at Hamline last year. Interestingly, most of the rest of the field will be new. In fact, only Belle Plaine's Lizzy Schmidt also returns from 2018 where she finished 4th. But the new competition is considerable. Top seed Nell Graham, who up til last year primarily focused on the 800m, dropped down to 400m and ultimately ended up taking 3rd at the Class A State Championships in 57.28, and has started out this year on a very strong note already having run 58.09. Breakout 400m seasons by Dalluge and Dahlen have also put them in serious competition for the win, and the freshman and returning All-State 400m runner I'Tianna Salaam will challenge as well.
As for the 4x400m relay, with each team seeded under 4:10 and just one hundredth of a second separating the two top seeds from Edina and Belle Plaine (another Class A school who could pull off the rare feat of winning at Hamline). The last lap alone will feature anchor legs from the likes of Schmidt, Dahlen, Erika Townley, Emma Atkinson, and Lauren Peterson, all of whom who will be running their third events of the day.
Last year, Erika Townley very nearly stole the Hamline Elite Meet 300h title away from the heavy favorite Natalie Windels, and while she doesn't actually enter the meet as the top overall seed in either hurdle race, she will certainly be one of the biggest names to watch in both. That said, the actual top overall seed in both events is actually Evelyn Adams, who's huge performances at the Hopkins True Team Invitational this week quickly accelerated what she may call a pedestrian start to the season for a hurdler of her caliber. The 100h race will also feature the returning 5th-place finisher and second-seed Kaye Paschka, returning 4th-place finisher Taynian Walgrave, returning runner-up Heather Ryan, and the Class A stalwart Ailsa Gilbert. Also in the field is Mounds View's phenom Julia Fixsen, for whom it is easy to forget in the midst of all her pole vault accolades that she is also an excellent hurdler.
Meanwhile in the 300h race, Townley and Adams will face a serious challenge from Jaylen Struck-Schmitz, who is tied with Adams for the top overall seed in the event and finished 4th last year at Hamline, and Paschka, who took third. Also returning from last year is the freshman Ava Fitzgerald, who squeezed in as the last seed. But one of the most interesting competitors will be Shaina Zinter, a state-qualifier last year as an 8th grader who just this week experienced a massive breakout in the 400m dash running 58.55. While she opted not to run the 400m at Hamline (even though she would have been the second seed), you have to wonder if the breakout may inspire her to a similarly-impressive run in the 300h against the state's best.