Iowa Presents Most Opportunities for State Qualifiers

Iowa has some unique features when it comes to track and field. With an incredible history in the Drake Relays, NCAA's held at Drake Stadium and at ISU's cross country course, the highly sought-after indoor races at Iowa State University, and selling out the high school State meet nearly every year, Iowa is a hub for running in the Heartland. But one of the most unique parts about track and field in Iowa is the event choices. With a lineup heavy in hurdles and sprints, and missing one of the most popular field events, we'll see how Iowa compares to other states in event choices. One bonus to the event options in Iowa is that it is by far the widest range of events offered. Though it causes the meet to span three full days, it allows for the most student-athletes to qualify to the State meet. Let's take a look...

400 Meter Hurdles:

Currently there are 3 states that run the 400 meter hurdles along with Iowa. They are New Jersey, North Dakota, and South Carolina. Every other state runs the 300 meter hurdles besides Massachusetts. Massachusetts does not have the 300 or 400 meter hurdles.

Shuttle Hurdle Relay:

There is only one other state that runs the shuttle hurdles- West Virginia.

Medley Relays:

Utah, South Dakota, New Mexico, and Idaho all have one medley race. Iowa is currently the only state to have 2 medley races at the state meet- the Distance Medley Relay (1200, 400, 800, 1600) and the Sprint Medley Relay (100, 100, 200, 400).


The Javelin throw has been on the rise in the last few years. 15 states now give this opportunity for their student athletes. The only touching state that offers the javelin throw is Missouri. This event is expected to continue to grow into other states in the near future.

Triple Jump:

Iowa is one of 3 states that does not offer the triple jump. The other 2 states that do not offer it are Indiana and Michigan. The Triple Jump is often a favorite among high school and college athletes, as it requires more strategy and training to perfect than the long jump.

Pole Vault: 

While the Pole Vault was removed from many high school State Championships, it has been making a comeback in the last 10 years throughout the US. Now, Iowa and Alaska are the only states that do not offer it.

1500/1600 vs 3000/3200:

There are 4 other states that offer the 1500 and 3000 over the preferred high school distance of 1600/3200. Those states are Hawaii, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont. Massachusetts is the only state that races the 1 mile and 2 mile still. New York and Iowa are the only remaining states that have the boys and girls run different distances. 

Other Events:

There are a few other states that try to offer as many opportunities to qualify to State as Iowa does, which is a great opportunity for student-athletes, though it does cause the meet to run longer over the course of three days. Massachusetts adds the Pentathlon to allow more opportunities for their athletes in the state. Another state that offers a similar event is Tennessee. They have the Decathlon at their state meet. South Carolina is the only state to offer the Hammer Throw. New York is the only state to offer a Steeplechase option, at 3,000-meters which is very rare. Most championship high school meets that do offer a Steeplechase option generally offer it as a 2,000-meter race. This event would be a possibility for the state of Iowa since the State meet is held at Drake Stadium, which is equipped with a water pit and barriers. If the IGHSAU and IAHSAA would want any additional events to help more athletes qualify for the State meet, this would certainly be the most convenient to add, as well as the Triple Jump, as it only requires extra painted lines in the long jump pit versus a whole area constructed for it like the Pole Vault, though both are readily available at Drake Stadium.