Dates changed for 3A, 4A cross-country

Washington runners (dark uniforms, left to right) Grace Voss, Hannah Rees, Abby Kleese run at the Timm Lamm Invitational last week at Fort Madison. (Doug Brenneman/Union)
Washington runners (dark uniforms, left to right) Grace Voss, Hannah Rees, Abby Kleese run at the Timm Lamm Invitational last week at Fort Madison. (Doug Brenneman/Union)

Large school cross-country teams will have to adapt their schedules after learning the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union and the Iowa High School Athletic Association have changed the dates previously set for the 2020 IHSAA and IGHSAU cross-country postseason, making the two meets a day earlier.

“The one day won’t make any difference in our training schedule or approach to those two meets,” Fairfield coach Jerrod Belzer said. “I greatly appreciate IAHSAA and IGHSAU doing everything they can to make sure Iowa high school athletes are able to compete and to do so as safely as possible.”

Class 4A and 3A will run Wednesday, Oct. 21 to qualify for the state meet on Friday, Oct. 30.

“This definitely comes as a surprise for the state qualifying meet,” Washington head coach Stefanie Haworth said. “As for the state meet, it didn’t surprise me as much since there are always so many people up there. It will be a much different environment with each class running very separate times. I’m just very thankful for a season, we will adapt to make it work.”

Class 1A and 2A will run at Thursday, Oct. 22 to qualify and Saturday, Oct. 31 at state. The state meet will remain in Fort Dodge at Lakeside Golf Course, where it has been run as a co-ed event since 1993.

In a news release, IGHSAU Executive Director Jean Berger said, “Our joint championship in Fort Dodge has long been a special event for our participants and fans. Changes to any successful championship are never easy, but holding a two-day meet is our best option this year. Our new plan really focuses on a safe and rewarding experience, something we all agree is our top priority.”

The change was made to accommodate competition and crowds with COVID-19 related precautions.

“The IHSAA is grateful to the Fort Dodge community, particularly the Parks and Recreation Department and Lakeside Municipal Golf Course for their efforts to make a two-day State Co-Ed Cross Country event possible,” IHSAA Executive Director Tom Keating said. “By allowing us to run each class individually, the Fort Dodge community is contributing to our commitment to safety for participants, coaches, workers, media and spectators. This is another example of the outstanding support and partnership we enjoy with the city, the golf course and the wonderful volunteers who make this event special.”

As an additional precautionary measure at state-qualifying meets, Class 1A will go from five sites to eight sites. This will cut attendance at each 1A location by around 10 teams per gender.

With this change, Class 1A will feature 16 state-qualifying teams. The top two teams from each site, instead of the usual three will advance. The Top 10 individual state meet qualifiers for each gender, instead of the usual 15, will make state. The IHSAA and IGHSAU anticipate this will be a one-time change. Classes 2A, 3A, 4A will remain unchanged with three teams from five sites and 15 individuals advancing.