Maddie Dahlien of Edina

Edina's Maddie Dahlien finishes second in the 400-meter dash in state Class AA track. (Sun Staff Photo by John Sherman)

For now at least, Maddie Dahlien is a soccer player who enjoys running in an occasional track meet.

But if Dahlien continues to improve on the track times she ran this year, she is sure to attract the attention of big-time college track programs.

For the second half of the 2019 season, the young phenom set a school record almost every time she ran, with her success reaching a peak in the 2019 State Class AA Meet June 8 at Hamline University.

Dahlien finished her big day as the state runner-up in the three dash events - the 100, the 200 and the 400. It is unusual to find an athlete who is fast in the 100 and also in the 400, but as one fan said after Saturday’s finals, “Dahlien is an unusual talent.”

Matt Gabrielson, Edina High’s boys track coach, watched Dahlien on Saturday and said, “Maddie has the most efficient stride in Minnesota high school track.”

That is certainly high praise from a coach, who led the Edina High girls cross country team to its first state championship.

Dahlien enjoyed her first state track meet, although she described the experience as nerve-racking. She has competed in big venues before and played in national soccer tournaments with scouts watching her every move, but this was different with the packed stands at Hamline for the state finals.

“I took off soccer for a week and tapered for state,” Dahlien said. “I needed to rest my legs.”

Edina’s girls team finished third in state even though only three Hornets qualified to compete. Seniors Evelyn Adams and Mia Sennes joined Dahlien with top-three finishes in their events. Adams took first and third in the two hurdles events and Sennes placed second in the long jump with a career best.

“We did pretty well with only three girls,” Dahlien said. “You never know what might happen.”

Looking to the future, Dahlien is taking nothing for granted as far as her early success in track is concerned.

She said she plans to continue working hard and avoid overconfidence.

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