The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 30, 2013

MSHSAA adds fifth track class

By Richard Polen
Globe Sports Writer

— Track and field will be expanded to five classes in 2015 under a proposal approved by members of the Missouri State High School Activities Association.

The measure was approved by a vote of 290-185 and will go to the track and field advisory committee to recommend how to structure the new class-size boundaries.

Adding a fifth class will change the structure of the state track and field meet, and perhaps the district and sectional meets as well, said Andy Youngworth, head track and field coach at Carthage.

“There was a survey on the MSHSAA website that coaches were supposed to respond to,” Youngworth said. “Should we have all five classes the same weekend at different sites, or do you have Classes 1, 2 and 3 one weekend and Classes 4 and 5 the next weekend? Do you skip districts and have supersectionals?”

Answers to those questions and others were sought by the track and field advisory committee, which will meet in early June and draft a proposal that will be forwarded to the MSHSAA Board of Directors, Youngworth said.

The advisory committee consists of 14 high school track and field coaches. MSHSAA administrators also are involved.

Among the issues the committee will study will be how best to divide schools into five classes. Depending on the method used, Jasper, for example, could move from Class 1 to Class 2 in 2014.

“It’s going to be good for the schools that move into the upper half (of their classes),” said Jasper head coach Dave Davis. “Where we’re sitting, we’re going to be a small Class 2 (school) more than likely.”

Jasper placed seventh at the girls Class 1 meet May 17-18 with a team loaded with underclassmen. Davis said he prefers the current district/sectional format, which allows up to four athletes from the same district in each event to advance to the state meet.

“When you look at our district at Cass-Midway, when you pair it up with the district at Springfield, not in every event, but it was much tougher than the district at Springfield,” Davis said.

“You have a better chance of getting the kids at state who should be there. It makes state tougher, too, because you have more good runners.”

 Ultimately, that decision — and the answers to other questions surrounding the structure of the district, sectional and state meets — will be made by the MSHSAA Board of Directors.

“Anything that gives kids more chances to be successful at the state level and be seen, I’m all for it,” Youngworth said. “I don’t think you’re going to water down the competition.”