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. 

To search this manual, click a topic header from the Index above or select Find (Ctrl + F) from your keyboard. 


In the co-educational sport of track and field, member schools that are placed in different classes due to cooperative agreement decisions made by other member schools shall remain in the same class. The member school will be placed in the lower of the two split classifications. Member schools placed in different classes, based on the member school’s decision to have different cooperative programs for each gender or cooperative programs with different schools, will remain in different classifications and be assigned to state qualifying events as classified. Member schools will not be allowed the choice to participate in a higher classification. In order for classifications to be determined in a timely manner, no new cooperative program will be accepted, nor will any existing cooperative program be allowed to dissolve after 5:00 pm on Friday, March 15, 2024.

4A: Largest 48 schools.

3A: Next largest 64 schools

2A: Next Largest 96 schools

1A: Remaining schools

Rules Information

Individual Participation Rules

Individual Meet Limitation: Individuals will be allowed to compete in 16 Meets not included in this limitation: IHSAA meets (state qualifying or state) and the Drake Relays. Indoor track and field meets do count toward the meet limitation.

A competitor may compete in only one meet per day, excluding the Drake Relays. The only exception would be if you have a junior varsity /varsity meet or a sophomore/varsity meet held on the same day at the same site. An individual can participate in both meets as long as he does not violate the one-day individual event participation rule. In this instance, the competitor will be charged with only one meet.

Individual Event Limitation: Each contestant is limited to four events.

Iowa students shall not compete interscholastically in the pole vault.

Preliminary events count as an event.

If there are no preliminaries, individuals entered will be charged with an event unless he scratches prior to reporting to the clerk of course or event

The IHSAA follows the National Federation rule with regard to a participant competing in too many Rule 4, Section 2, Article 2 requires the forfeiture of all individual points, team points, and places earned by a competitor exceeding the participation limit. This forfeiture applies to both individual and relay points and places.

National Federation rules and the Code of Iowa require that a competitor displaying the signs or symptoms of a concussion shall be immediately removed from the meet and not allowed to return until cleared by an appropriate health-care Please refer to Rule 4, Section 4, Article 2, in the National Federation Rules.

Disqualification will be invoked for unsportsmanlike The referee has sole authority in this area however any official may request the referee to take such action. Please refer to the IHSAA Handbook for the current IHSAA disqualification rule. The use of tobacco products by coaches or participants is prohibited by IHSAA rule.


Coaches’ Responsibilities

Review Rule 4, Section 6, in the National Federation Rules concerning disqualification and conduct. At the same time, review the IHSAA disqualification rule.

Coaching should be done from the stands or other designated coaching boxes. Only contestants and meet officials will be permitted on the track or in the competition areas.

If field events are held outside of the track area, coaches will be permitted in those areas.

Competitors shall not receive assistance from another competitor or any other person to complete the race or trial. Both competitors shall be disqualified unless a competitor is injured or becomes ill and an appropriate health-care professional is not readily available, only the injured/ill competitor is disqualified. A competitor who provides assistance to an injured or ill competitor should not be disqualified if neither the individual competitor providing the assistance, nor his team gains an advantage as a result of providing the assistance.

Jewelry, including watches with GPS capabilities, is legal.

Uniform Rule: Coaches are responsible for seeing their competitors are wearing the proper uniform. A legal uniform is well defined in Rule 4, Section 3, Articles 1-3 of the National Federation Rules Book. The athlete should always wear the uniform of his school.  Items may only display one manufacture’s logo or school name or logo. Such logo must be no more than 2 1/4 square inches, with no dimension greater than 2 1/4 inches. An illegal uniform can be removed or corrected prior to the start of a race or event if done without delay. If a competitor is discovered wearing an illegal uniform during competition, the competitor will receive a warning and all subsequent violations of the rule by a warned competitor will result in disqualification from the event. In relay races each team member shall wear uniforms clearly through predominant color, school logo and color combination of all outer garments worn as a uniform, that members are from the same.

Relay Rules

Order of Events: All meets shall use the qualifying meet order of events for all regular season meets.

Exception: Each school may participate in one outdoor “non-traditional” meet where all 19 events are not contested. Meet managers have the ability to create their own schedule for a “non-traditional” meet. The non-traditional meet does count towards the 16 meet participation limitation.

Restricted Events: As a result of action by the IHSAA Board of Control, the following rule is in effect regarding relay and individual events at track and field meets: Participation in track and field shall be limited to state meet events, with additional events being allowed that comply with National Federation rules and the rules of the IHSAA. No events will be allowed that are demeaning to the sport of track and field. If additional events, other than state meet events, are held, results from those events may not be used to determine the team score of the meet.

Relay Cards: Coaches are to complete information on the relay cards. After the completed card is given to the clerk of the course, there can be no change made in the personnel. Eight individuals may be listed on the relay card. Only those who participate will be charged with an event. Any substitutions must come from the eight names listed on the relay card.

In relays, it is permissible for the order of running to be changed between heats and succeeding rounds of competition, including individual legs of the medley relay, where all runners do not run the same distance. (Rule 5-10-3).

Relay Entry Rules: Any runner reporting to the clerk of course will be charged with an event.

State Meet Relays: In the 4×100 and 4×200 meter relays, lanes shall be used all the way around the track. The 4×400 and the medley relays will be run on a three-turn stagger. The 4×800 relay will be run on a double waterfall.

In relays having preliminaries, final heat drawings will be by preliminary performance using lane 4 as the fastest lane then using lanes 5-3-6-2-7-1-8. In relay events at the state meet where preliminaries are not held, the team will be assigned lanes according to their qualifying meet performance. All state meet seeding will be done according to Rule 5, Section 6, “Forming Heats.”


Shuttle Hurdle Relay Rules

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

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.

For the girls shuttle hurdle race, each hurdler 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 the distance between the hurdles set at 8.5 meters.  Hurdle height shall be 33 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.


Mandatory Reporting of Performances

Based on a recommendation of the Joint Track and Field Advisory Committee and action of the Board of Control, head varsity track and field coaches are mandated to enter track and field performances at the Bound website, Performances need to be entered by 3:00 PM on Tuesday, April 9; Tuesday, April 23; and Tuesday, May 7. All meets competed in through the previous Saturday of each reporting date need to be posted. Relay names are required to be entered for every relay posted on Varsity Bound. The penalty for failure to enter performances on time is:

First Offense – A letter/e-mail to the head coach from the IHSAA sport administrator giving 3 days to comply with the mandate;

Second Offense – A letter to the athletic director with a copy to the principal and superintendent from the IHSAA executive director, giving 3 days to comply with the mandate;

Third Offense – The IHSAA member school‘s expense allowances will be withheld by the IHSAA in the sport in which the third offense occurred.

Schedule Information

Team Participation Rules

The first day of practice will be February 19, 2024.

Meet Limitation: Teams will be allowed to compete in 16 meets.

Meets not included in this limitation: IHSAA meets (state qualifying or state) and the Drake Relays.

Indoor track and field meets do count toward the meet limitation.

On occasion, a school will have an athlete who is very talented and the school believes he should have better competition than the rest of the team; therefore, they take the individual to a meet and leave the rest of the team at home. If a school does this, this meet will count against the team’s meet limitation. This does not include the Drake Relays.

A two-day meet shall be considered a one-day meet insofar as the limitation rule is concerned.

If you sign a contract to participate in a track and field meet, you cannot break that contract to attend a different IHSAA rules require you to honor your first contract.

Schools may participate in one scrimmage with up to four teams participating in the event.

State Qualifying Meet Information

State Qualifying Meet – All Classes Coaches’ Information

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

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 with field events. Running events will begin at 4:45 PM. There will be a 30-minute break between the boys’ 4×800 meter relay 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 Class 3A. There will not be a 20-minute break for Class 2A and Class 1A. If the rain date is used, meet manager determines starting time.

The Board of Control of the IHSAA has 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 in fully automatic timing is available for the reversed race.

Qualifying Meet Assignment: Your school will be assigned to a qualifying meet based on geographic location. This assignment cannot be changed.

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

Scoring: Eight places will score at the qualifying Qualifying meet scoring shall be 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 for relay events and individual events.

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

Order of events for all qualifying meets is listed for your This is the running order for all qualifying meets.


Order of Events

Girls Running Events First, Followed by Boys

All Field Events

High Jump (G/B) Discus (B/G) Shot (G/B/para)

Shot Wheelchair (B/G) Long Jump (B/G)

Running Events

800m sprint medley relay

800 meter para

3000/3200 meter run

4 X 800 meter relay

30 Minute Break

Shuttle hurdle relay

100 meter dash

100 meter para

1600m distance medley relay

400 meter dash

400 meter para

4 X 200 meter relay

100/110 meter hurdles

800 meter run

20 Minute Break (3A & 4A)

200 meter dash

200 meter para

400 meter hurdles

1500/1600 meter run

4 X 100 meter relay

4 X 400 meter relay


State Qualifying Meet Information

Qualifying meet entries will be submitted online. Information for submitting qualifying meet entries will be communicated 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. 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 Varsity Bound) protested before 1 pm on Thursday, May 9, will result in “No Time” seed time. No split times are allowed for individual event seed times.

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 IHSAA will oversee the ranking of the entries and placement of athletes into heat sections, lanes and flights. State qualifying meet managers will reseed an event if pre-meet scratches or substitutions Substitute entries will have a “No Time” seed time.

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

Girls: The starting height in the high jump for Class 3A and 4A is 4’6” and 4’4″ in Class 1A and 2A. The bar is raised two inches each time to five feet, and then one inch at a time.

Boys: The starting height in the high jump for Class 3A and 4A is 5’6” and 5’4” for Class 1A and 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 Manager in cases of inclement weather/poor jumping conditions.

In events run in sections against time, the last section will contain the best performers, the prior sections the next best contestants, etc.

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 and the lanes available.

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

Each school will be given copies of the heat and lane assignments before the meet begins. Each school will also be given a copy of results prior to leaving the meet site. Any discrepancies should be addressed prior to leaving the qualifying meet site.

For additional, state qualifying meet information, please consult the Track and Field State Qualifying Meet Manual.


Track Complimentary Admissions

Any superintendent, principal, or athletic director who present their current IHSAA identification card will be admitted free along with one accompanied guest. It shall be understood that no members of the families of an administrator or coach shall be admitted free unless they qualify in one of the other.

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

One team bus driver.

Qualifying Meet Expense Reimbursement – There is no reimbursement for the track and field qualifying meet.


State Meet Qualification

In Class 4A, the top two place winners in each event plus the next twelve (12) best performances statewide from qualifying meet place winners (1st – 8th) will advance to the state meet. Class 3A and Class 2A, the top two place winners in each event plus the next eight (8) performances statewide from qualifying meet place winners (1st – 8th) 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 will advance to the state meet. If there are ties, the highest qualifying meet place winner (1st – 8th) 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 name 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.

State Meet Information

State Meet Information

The 2024 State Track and Field Meet will be a coeducational event held in cooperation with the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union. The meet will be held at Drake Stadium in Des Moines. The meet will be held May 16-18. Classes 2A & 3A will compete in the morning. Classes 1A & 4A will compete in the afternoon. There are still pending details regarding the administration and organization of the meet. Specific details will be made available when the determinations have been made.


State Meet Expense Reimbursement

Schools with 1-6 qualifiers receive $.38 per mile. Schools with 7-14 qualifiers receive $.75 per mile. Schools with 15-22 qualifiers receive $1.14 per mile. Schools with greater than 22 qualifiers receive $1.38 per mile. Mileage is paid for one trip to Des Moines. Schools traveling greater than 99 miles will receive $18 per individual for the state meet.