When the state’s top track and field athletes compete in Drake Stadium this week they will be taking part in what has become one of the nation’s largest track meets. It will be the 11th year for the State Coed Track Meet which has become bigger than the NCAA Championships.
“It is the largest attended high school state track and field meet in the nation. And behind the Penn Relays and the Drake Relays, we are the third largest attended track meet in the United States, its’ a great thing,” Jared Chizek of the Iowa High School Athletic Association says.
The meet is a cooperative effort with the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union and Drake University. He says Drake Stadium is a great place to hold the event where more than 5,100 athletes will compete.
John Overton of the IGHSAU says the Iowa state meet has become the envy of the nation. “When I go to national meetings, most of the people are just in awe of the fact that we are able to have the venues that we do use for our state meets and our kids. Because most of their meets are broken down into classes and they are in different high school sites. They can’t believe what we have,” Overton says.
Overton says it is the largest high school track meet in the country as they average between 35 and 37,000 people over the 3 days of the meet. Overton says the meet draws plenty of track fans who have no connection to an athlete or a school. He says he found a group of 10 people from Nebraska last year outside the stadium that have come to the state meet since it went to the coed meet.
The state meet begins with competition in class 2A and 3A today.