State high school track and field qualifying meets for boys and girls will be held at the same site for the first time this weekend when 30 girls regionals and 30 boys districts are held jointly. Dave Anderson is with the Iowa High School Athletic Association. He says there were a lot of concerns that under the old system you were just qualifying for the Drake Relays in the first half of the season, and then qualifying for the state meeting the second half of the season. Anderson says there is also a change in how competitors qualify for state in the three largest classes. The top four place finishers will qualify for the state meet in 4A. In class 3A and 2A there are eight district meets with 8 schools at the 3A and 12 at the 2A. Each of the top three finishers at those meets qualify for state.Formerly, season best marks were used. Class 1A already used the district format. The new format could eliminate some of the state’s top performers depending upon which district they are in. He says there’s a concern that a district meet will be loaded and someone who qualified before won’t qualify. He says that’s always a problem in sports, and cites wrestling as an example.Mike Dick is an assistant director at the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union and says the meets will be held over two days. The meets will be on Friday with 3A and 4A meets to qualify for the state meet. On Saturday the 2A and 1A meets will determine the qualifiers. Qualifying procedures have not changed as dramatically on the girls’ side. The first and second place finishers at each of the regionals will qualify, and in the next best eight performances in 1A, 2A and 3A will qualify. The next best 12 performances in 4A will qualify. Dick says they have received positive and negative comments from coaches about the change and says there are a number of families this will benefit. He says people who have sons and daughters competing will be able to go to the same meet. He says they’ll see how it goes, tweak it a little and try to make it work for everybody. The girls state meet is May 21st and 22nd the boys state meet is a week later.
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