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Guelle represents Hastings at Hamline Elite Meet

Dan Guelle races in the 400-meter dash at the Hamline Elite Meet last Friday. Guelle placed seventh.

What do you get when you put nine of the best high school runners in the state on one track for one shot at a year's worth of bragging rights? The Hamline Elite Meet.

The name says it all - Hamline University's high school track and field meet only takes the best of the best from across Minnesota. Not every school gets a shot at competing there, but there was one Hastings uniform on the Hamline track last weekend.

Hastings High School senior Dan Guelle ran in the 400-meter dash Friday evening. He first heard about the meet last year after seeing other athletes with T-shirts from the event. This year he and track coach Jason Koch talked about trying to get him into the meet. Runners were selected solely on their qualifying times - only the fastest were selected. The field for Guelle's event was limited to nine and qualifying times had to be from the 2010 season.

Guelle was confident he would make it into the meet.

"I was expecting to make it in," he said.

Part of the reason for that was that he figured not every athlete in the state would register.

Guelle had the five seed going into the 400 with a qualifying time of 50.96 seconds. The top seed went to Henry Darling of Austin, who had a qualifying time of 49.67.

The race itself didn't go as well as Guelle hoped.

"I was hoping to get at least the top three," he said.

He improved on his qualifying time, finishing the race in 50.54 seconds, but still finished seventh.

"I just locked up at the end," Guelle said.

His first three 100-meter splits were all right around 11 seconds, he explained, but the final 100 was clocked at about 14 seconds.

He figured he got nervous and worried too much about the other runners instead of focusing on his own time, he said.

Darling won the race in 49.23 seconds.

Guelle raced against Darling last year in sections and also at the state tournament. Guelle beat Darling in the state finals last year. The two had gotten to know each other a bit at last year's meets, and joked about which of them would win at sections and which would place second. They both knew they would take the top two spots, Guelle said.

For the rest of this season, Guelle is focused on improving his times.

"I definitely want to at least get back to the time I ran last finals, 49.58," he said.

His goal is to make it back to the state meet, hopefully in more than just the 400, he said. He placed fifth in the 400 at state last year. That's his best event, but he thinks he could make it in other events as well.

"I have a shot at making it in the 200 and triple jump too," he said.