The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

December 24, 2012

Missouri mulling extra class for track and field

By Richard Polen
Globe Sports Writer

— High school track and field in Missouri could be divided into five classes under a proposal under consideration by school administrators.

One in a series of meetings statewide where the proposal will be discussed is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday, Jan. 11, at Republic High School.

Currently, boys and girls track and field is divided into four classes based on school enrollments. Joplin, Webb City, Carthage and Neosho compete in Class 4, while McAuley Catholic, College Heights and Thomas Jefferson compete in Class 1.

If the petition for five classes in track and field is successful, the proposal would be placed on the annual ballot next spring by the Missouri State High School Activities Association.

“Obviously, for us, depending on how MSHSAA decides to break it up, that would benefit us,” said Andy Youngworth, athletic director and head track and field coach at Carthage.

Youngworth, who is a member of the track and field advisory committee, said it would be up to the committee to develop recommended enrollment breaks for each class.

“There will always be a largest school in a class and a smallest school in a class,” he said. “When you have schools with 1,200 kids against schools with 2,000, the playing field is not level.”

School administrators likely will determine how the proposal would affect their schools before they make their decisions, said Jesse Wall, athletic director and assistant principal at Carl Junction.

“We didn’t sign it because it wasn’t beneficial for us, because we would go up to Class 4 from Class 3,” Wall said. “Travel may be a factor as well. There was a discussion of that at the last MSHSAA meeting I went to.”

Joplin track and field head