2024 Track & Field

Manuals provide the most up to date policies, rules, and regulations for Iowa High School Athletic Association sports in the regular season and postseason. Member school athletic directors and head coaches seeking more information or clarifications on the contents of this manual should contact the IHSAA sport administrator for this sport: [email protected]. All other inquiries should be directed through athletic directors or coaches at member schools or host schools. 

All the rules and regulations governing this sport can be found in the annual NFHS Rule Book, which all member schools receive from the IHSAA, excepting updates or experiments approved by the Board of Control.

For more information on concussions or sport safety, please visit the Health & Safety resource page. 

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State Qualifying Meet Information

State Qualifying Meet Information

Qualifying meet entries will be submitted online. Information for submitting qualifying meet entries will be emailed to member schools the week of Monday, April 29. The deadline for Qualifying Meet entries and declarations will be 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, May 8. All scratches or substitutions must be sent by email to the Qualifying Meet host no later than 10:00 a.m. on the day of the meet, Thursday, May 9. No substitutions will be allowed after that time. Scratches after that time will count as an event. Hosts are required to send all participating schools heat and lane assignments as close to 10:00 a.m. as possible once final substitutions and scratches are made. All times and efforts will be performances in established meets and should be recorded in metric times or converted metric times for the running events and standard measurements for the field events. All entries shall be submitted as FAT times. All state qualifying meet seed times need to be verified through Bound. Any time discrepancies (faster or slower than what is posted on Bound) will result in “No Time” seed time. No split times are allowed for individual event seed times. Coaches have until 1:00 p.m. the day of the meet to protest a seed time. After this deadline, heat and lane assignments become final.

Upon receipt of the entries, all entries will be ranked from first to last in each event according to performances. Heats and sections as well as lane assignments will be drawn from this information. The IGHSAU and IHSAA will oversee the ranking of the entries and placement of athletes into heat sections, lanes and flights. Meet managers shall reseed an event prior to the start of the meet if scratches or substitutions are made in a particular event. Any substitute entry will receive a “No Time” seed time.

Field events will be in flights. Throwing order will be as stated in the Track and Field Rules Book.

In events run in sections against time, the last section will contain the best performers, the prior sections the next best contestants, etc. All sections will be initially seeded with a minimum of three competitors/relay teams in each section (minimum of two for shuttle hurdle relay).

Since all events are finals, sections will be filled by entry performances. The final section of each event will have the best entry performances.

The highest ranked contestant will be placed in the lane in the center of the track. Lanes will be filled by alternating either side of the number-one ranked athlete. This will be (4-5-3-6-2-7-1-8) according to the number of individuals or teams in the heat.

Relay personnel may be changed after the meet has begun. Substitutes must come from the eight names on the original relay entry.

Scratches at the state qualifying meet will count as an event. Scratches at the state meet also will count as an event.

Each school will be given copies of the heat and lane assignments prior to the start of the meet.


State Qualifying Meet – All Classes Coaches’ Information

All state qualifying meets will be co-educational meets.

The 2024 qualifying meets will be held for all classes on Thursday, May 9. The rain date for all qualifying meets will be the following day excluding, Sunday. All qualifying meets will start at 4 pm. There will be a 30-minute break between the boys’ 4×800 and the girls’ shuttle hurdle relay and a 20-minute break between the boys’ 800 meter run and the girls’ 200 meter dash for class 4A and 3A. Host sites may contact the governing bodies to ask for consideration to move up the start time of the state qualifying meet by Wednesday at Noon if the chance of inclement weather is high during the time frame of the meet on Thursday with no meet starting prior to Noon on Thursday. Wind alone is not inclement weather. If the rain date is used, meet management will determine the starting time.

Both the Board of Directors of the IGHSAU and the Board of Control of the IHSAA have determined that races at the State Qualifying meets will run to the common finish. Races will not be reversed to gain a wind advantage even if fully automatic timing is available for the reversed race.

Only two contestants may compete in an individual event from a member school. One relay from each school may compete.

Scoring: eight places will score at the qualifying meet. Qualifying meet scoring shall be 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 for relay events and individual events. All 1st and 2nd place ties must be broken in Class 2A, 3A and 4A. Only 1st place ties must be broken in Class 1A.

Awards: Medals for first eight places in all events. Qualifying meet team champions will be sent or presented with a qualifying champion banner.

Both the state qualifying meet and state meet do not utilize a jury of appeals. The meet referee’s decision is final.

Order of Events

Order of Events

There is no required time limit between events. Long Jump and Discus—boys first. High Jump and Shot Put—girls first. Note: if the facility allows, both boys and girls may not compete simultaneously. All field events will begin at 4:00 PM. All running events are finals (no running prelims). Girls will run first, followed by the boys. Running events will begin at 4:45 PM.

All Classes (4:45 start)

800m Sprint Medley Relay

800 Meter Para

3000/3200 Meter Run

4×800 Meter Relay

30-Minute Break (All Classes)

Shuttle Hurdle Relay

100 Meter Dash

100 Meter Para

1600 Distance Medley Relay

400 Meter Dash

400 Meter Para

4×200 Meter Relay

100/110 Meter Hurdles

800 Meter Run

20-minute break (Class 4A & 3A Only)

200 Meter Dash

200 Meter Para

400 Meter Hurdles

1500/1600 Meter Run

4×100 Meter Relay

4×400 Meter Relay

Coaches & Athletes Information

Finish Line

Meet management is required to have a backup (handheld) time for at least first place only in case of a malfunction with the timing system. If the camera(s) of the timing system was to experience technical difficulties, the host school would then be required to videotape the finish line. Viewing shall be accessible to the starters/referees and meet officials only. No finish string shall be used.

Races Recalled

The timing system operator has the authority to recall a race if the timing system does not begin with the firing of the starting device.

Relay Cards

In relay events, no more than eight individuals may be listed on the relay entry form, but only those who actually participate will be charged with an event. Any substitutions must come from those names on the relay entry form (Rule 5-10-2 Page 38). Any team who qualifies for the State Meet shall be limited to the same eight runners whose names are listed on the State Qualifying relay form. The actual runners must come from those eight names but can run in any order.


Track Markings & Lane Staggers

All events that run around the track are to be run with the appropriate staggers.

The 800 Meter Run and 4×800 Meter Relay may use a one-curve stagger or waterfall start. Waterfall or double-waterfall starts may be used at the state qualifying meet in the 1500/3000 meter runs as determined by the meet manager.

The running event which requires a one-turn stagger:

200 Meter Dash—Must be run around a curve.

The running events requiring a two-turn stagger:

400 Meter Dash—Must be run in lanes all the way. 4×100 Meter Relay—All four runners in assigned lanes. 400 Meter Hurdles—Must be run in lanes all the way.

The running events requiring a three-turn stagger:

800-meter sprint medley 1600-meter distance medley 4×400 meter relay

The four-turn stagger is used in the following:

4×200 Meter Relay—All four runners in assigned lanes.


Shuttle Hurdle Relay

In all shuttle hurdle relay races there shall be a “break line” one meter in front of the starting line.

For the girls shuttle hurdle relay, each hurdle shall run a total of 102.5 meters. The distance from the starting line to the first hurdle and from the last hurdle to the finish line shall each be 13 meters and distance between the hurdles set at 8.5 meters. Hurdle height shall be 33 inches.

For the boys shuttle hurdle relay, each hurdle shall run a total of 109.7 meters. The distance from the starting line to the first hurdle and from the last hurdle to the finish line shall each be 13.72 meters and distance between the hurdles set at 9.14 meters. Hurdle height shall be 36 inches.

Odd numbered lanes should be assigned to the 1st and 3rd runners and even numbered lanes to the 2nd and 4th runners.

The outgoing runner must be positioned behind her/his starting line and she/he must be

motionless immediately prior to her/his “start”. She/he cannot “start” until the incoming runner has broken the plane of the break line with her/his torso, meaning each outgoing runner must have a discernable pause between her/his “set” and her/his “start”. A “rolling start” is illegal.

NFHS Rule 5, Section 14 applies to all contestants in the event.

If a relay team puts themselves at an advantage or other relay team at a disadvantage due to displacing a hurdle that cannot be corrected in a timely manner, the offending relay team shall be disqualified.


Disqualification of Relay Teams and Individuals For Competing In Too Many Events

An athlete may compete in a total of four events. If an athlete competes in excess, all individual points, team points, and places earned by that competitor in the meet shall be forfeited and the competitor disqualified from further competition in that meet. If the competitor participated in a relay event, the relay(s) points and places earned by the team shall be forfeited. A scratch after the 10:00 AM deadline on Thursday, May 9 counts as an event.


Notification of Disqualification

All disqualifications need to be communicated by the meet referee to the head coach. If a disqualification occurs, the head coach needs to be called to a designated area, as determined by the meet manager, to be notified of the disqualification by either the meet referee or his/her designee.


Distribution of Meet Results

Meet managers need to distribute a copy of results to all head coaches prior the participating schools leaving the meet site. All head coaches are expected to review the results for accuracy and to bring any errors to the attention of the meet manager. Having errors corrected the night of the meet makes determining the state qualifiers much easier and prevents placing the wrong individual or relay in the state track and field meet.

Preliminary & Final Event Information

Field Events Preliminaries & Finals

Competitors shall provide own implement. All field event implements shall be weighed and marked. They shall remain with meet management until the event is completed. All implements become community property. Shot and discus shall use the 34.92 degree throwing sector.

In the finals, competition shall be in reverse order of qualifying performance from preliminaries. Nine competitors shall qualify for the finals. All competitors tying for the last position shall be finalists. If flights are used, proper warm-up shall be allowed prior to the start of next flight. For the long jump and throwing events, each competitor will attempt one trial at a time through the flight order, similar to that format used at the state track and field meet. If a competitor needs to be excused to participate in another event during either the preliminary or final round, please reference Rule 6, Section 2, Article 3.

All field events, except the high jump, require every good throw or jump to be measured. If a tie should result in any final placing, refer to the competitor’s second best attempt. It may be necessary to refer to the competitor’s third best attempt to break a tie. All 1st and 2nd place ties must be broken in Class 2A, 3A and 4A. Only 1st place ties must be broken in Class 1A.

Every competitor in the shot put, long jump, and discus are to be given three trials, which will serve as preliminary competition; and the best performances in each event will be placed in final competition through the use of three additional trials. Each competitor’s best throw or jump, whether it be in the preliminaries or finals, shall be the one used to determine the competitor’s final placing.

Competitors are allowed to place two marks on the long jump runway and high jump pad to mark their starting location.

When the meet starter/referee arrives on-site (30-60 minutes prior to starting time), the starter shall locate the administrator (event manager) in charge for the event. If no administrator is available, the host coach shall be deemed in charge. If a problem arises during the meet, the official shall notify the event manager of the problem and inform the event manager of the remedy needed (could include asking the direct supervision of the area, warning issued by the event manager, or ejection from the area).

GIRLS: The starting height in the high jump for Class 4A/3A is 4’6” and 4’4” for Classes 1A/2A. The bar is raised two inches each time to five feet, and then one inch at a time. All measurements shall be to the lesser inch.

BOYS: The starting height in the high jump for Class 4A/3A is 5’6” and 5’4” for Classes 1A/2A. The bar is raised two inches each time to six feet and then one inch after six feet.

Starting heights may be adjusted by Meet Management in cases of inclement weather/poor jumping conditions.

There will be no coaching boxes at the State Qualifying Meet.  Coaches may be in the infield for the duration of the meet. The track and field event venues remain a restricted area and coaches are not to be in the restricted area (track and field events) when competition is being held.


Running Events Finals Sections

All races shall be run in sections. The number of sections to run will depend on the number of entries. The competitors having the slowest times are placed in the first section, and the competitors having the fastest times are placed in the last section. All sections will be initially seeded with a minimum of three competitors/relay teams in each section (minimum of two for shuttle hurdle relay). All timing should be to the hundredths of a second. When the FAT system allows, all ties for place finishes shall be broken by time recorded to one one-thousandth of a second.

State Meet Qualifiers Information

​State Meet Qualifiers

In class 4A, top two place winners in each event, plus the next twelve (12) best performances statewide from qualifying meet place winners (1st-8th place) will advance to the state meet. Class 3A and 2A, the top two place winners in each event, plus the next eight (8) performances statewide from qualifying meet place winners (1st-8th place) will advance to the state meet. In Class 1A, the top place winner in each event, plus the next fourteen (14) best performances statewide from qualifying meet place winners (1st-8th place) will advance to the state meet. If there are ties, the highest qualifying meet place winner will be the qualifier. If the tie still remains, the school name, as printed in the IHSAA Directory, will be used as the tie breaker. In 2024, the last school alphabetically will become the qualifier. In 2025, the first school name alphabetically will become the qualifier. There will be no more than 24 qualifiers in any event.

Spectator Information


Admission is $6.00 for K-12 students and adults. There will be no charge for a child who is not yet in school.

Track Complimentary Admission:

Any superintendent, principal, or athletic director who present their current IHSAA identification card will be admitted free along with one accompanied guest.

Any bona fide member of the press, radio, and television media attending in the official capacity of reporter or photographer. (This does not include representative of school paper or year book.)

One team bus driver.

Spectator Conduct

All spectators at state-sponsored meets shall wear shirts and shoes.

With the understanding that a track and field meet is held as a part of the educational institution, the Board of Directors of the Iowa Girls’ High School Athletic Union and the Board of Control of the Iowa High School Athletic Association has adopted the following policies. It is the expectation that the host site enforces these rules regarding unacceptable behaviors.

Disrespectful conduct, including profanity, obscene gestures or comments, offensive remarks of a sexual nature, or other actions that demean individuals or the event.


Throwing articles onto the contest area. Penalty—EJECTION

Entering the contest area in protest or celebration. Penalty—EJECTION

Physical confrontation involving contest officials, coaches/directors, contestants, or spectators. Penalty—EJECTION

Spectator interference with the event. Penalty—EJECTION

Jumping up and down on the bleachers. Penalty—WARNING/EJECTION

Use of artificial noisemakers, signs, or banners. Penalty—WARNING/EJECTION Chants or cheers directed at the opponent. Penalty—WARNING/EJECTION

Host management is responsible for all spectators, regardless which school the spectator is supporting. Any necessary communication or action taken shall come from the event manager in charge.


Alcohol & Tobacco Policy

No alcohol or tobacco is to be sold or consumed on the grounds of any state tournament venue leased or provided to the Athletic Union for the purpose of conducting a state championship. Section 123.46 of the Iowa Code states: A person shall not possess or consume alcoholic liquors, wine, or beer on public school property or while attending a public or private, school- related function. A person shall not be intoxicated or simulate intoxication in a public place. A person violating this subsection is guilty of simple misdemeanor.


Pets/Animals Prohibited

Except as otherwise stated herein, no pets are permitted at events sanctioned by the Iowa High School Athletic Association. Any person found with a pet will be asked to remove the pet from the premises. Failure to comply will result in the person being asked to leave the premises.

However, this policy shall comply with the provisions of Iowa code 216c. as such, a person with a disability or a person training an assistive animal has the right to be accompanied by a service dog or an assistive animal, under control. The person is liable for damage done to any premises or facility by a service dog or assistive animal. A “service dog” means a dog specially trained at a recognized training facility to assist a person with a disability, whether described as a service dog, guide dog, hearing dog, support dog, independence dog, or otherwise. An “assisted animal” means a simian or other animal specially trained or in the process of being trained under the auspices of a recognized training facility to assist a person with a disability.