Edina junior Maddie Dahlien, the Star Tribune Metro Girls' Track Athlete of the Year, posed for a photo at Kuhlman Field in Edina. Photo: ELIZABETH FLORES • firstname.lastname@example.org
Soccer, not track, is Maddie Dahlien’s main sport. She only joined the track and field team her freshman year at Edina. Her parents suggested it as a way to work different muscle groups and stay in shape in the offseason for soccer.
But even as a freshman, she excelled on the track. At the Class 2A girls’ state meet in 2019, Dahlien finished second in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter races.
The pandemic canceled her sophomore season. But as a junior, she finished in first place in those same three events, setting personal records in each race. Her performance earned her the Star Tribune Metro Girls’ Track Athlete of the Year.
Before the meet, however, the fastest high school girl in Minnesota was going nowhere. An accident on Interstate 94 found Dahlien among many athletes stuck in the post-accident traffic.
“I was on the bypass completely stuck,” Dahlien said. “I had to hop the median and get in my mom’s car on the other side of the highway.”
The meet was delayed an hour as a result. But since it didn’t include preliminary races to qualify for finals, Dahlien had less time between each of her three events. No matter. She ran the 100 in 11.99 seconds, the 200 in 24.45 seconds and the 400 in 55.48 seconds.
“The first people I looked to after I won was to look at my dad and my mom,” she said. “Those are my biggest supporters.”
Dahlien is committed to play soccer at the University of North Carolina. But before that, she has another soccer season ahead, and a track season as defending state champion.