Jason Koch, head coach of the Hastings boys track and field program since 2009, added the Raiders girls program to his résumé before the 2023 season, giving him a double dose of motivation to keep the lists of program records updated — a to-do list item that now requires a little ingenuity.

By winning the mixed-gender relay at last season's Hamline Elite Meet, four sprinters (two boys and two girls) created the need for a new record board entry. The two framed record boards hang in the Hastings gymnasium, and there isn't a logical home for the mixed-gender relay names.

Leadoff man Max Albertson and male anchor Payton Lee-Dean received help in the middle from female teammates Elliana Magnus and Carlee Kordosky to win the 4x400-meter race in a time of 3 minutes and 2.40 seconds.

Born in 2006, the Elite Meet marks its 17th running Friday evening at Hamline University in St. Paul (two years were lost to COVID-19). The meet offers the rare opportunity for strong competition among athletes representing all three Minnesota State High School League classes — and the only chance all season for a co-ed event.

"This event is tailored to the way we run our program," Koch said. "It's a way to get some high-intensity training during the season. Plus, it's great for smaller Class 3A schools like us. We don't usually have the depth to really compete with the largest schools in the regular relays. So this allows us to get a couple of our best boys and girls involved in a relay."

Hastings finished ahead of the relay crews from Hopkins, Minnetonka, East Ridge and St. Anthony Village last year.

Because the mixed-gender relay is not contested at any other point of the high school season, athlete entries are based on open 400-meter times. Coaches had to submit names of two qualifying boys and two girls by Tuesday. The qualifying athletes can run in any order on the day of the Elite Meet. Koch said he and Hastings sprint coach Austin Eliason researched the World Relay Championships format and borrowed the popular male-female-female-male order.

The mixed-gender relay made its debut at the 2021 Olympics and is now on the Hamline Elite Meet event list for a third consecutive time.

Devin Monson, head coach of Hamline's men's and women's cross-country teams as well as director of track and field operations, said the entry list grew from nine teams the first year to "11 or 12″ in 2023 to a robust 25 this spring.

"I was worried early on whether this format would catch on," Monson said. "It's fun to see that it has. Our sport is unique because males and females train together, and that makes them the biggest supporters of one another.

"I remember the group from Hastings being really excited to win last year."