A major change is coming to Minnesota high school track and field. At its Oct. 3 meeting, the Minnesota State High School League Board of Directors approved adding a third class to the sport. The change will be implemented in spring 2022.
How the classes will be split has not yet been determined. The Minnesota Track Coaches Association will work with MSHSL staff to determine how to best divide teams into three classes. For now, though, Litchfield Activities Director Justin Brown believes the Dragons will end up in the middle.
“I am almost positive we’ll be a 2A school,” he said.
When it comes to other sports with three classes, the divisions differ.
In volleyball and golf, the top 96 schools in enrollment are Class 3A, and the next 128 schools are Class 2A. The rest are Class 1A. For the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, Litchfield’s enrollment is listed at 426 and is the 155th largest in the state, so the Dragons are classified as a 2A school in those sports.
In wrestling, however, the top 64 teams are Class 3A, followed by the next 96 schools in Class 2A, so Litchfield is a Class 2A team.
Regardless of what happens to the Dragons, Brown believes the change to three classes was good for the sport overall.
“I think it’s a good thing,” he said. “I’m on the activity advisory committee, and it was unanimous that everybody thought we should go to three classes.”
The change to three classes also means there will likely be changes to the state meet as well, such as adding a third day.
“They have a great plan in place. Without question, it would be a three-day track meet at Hamline,” Brown said.
One proposal being discussed is running the meet Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The Class 1A and 3A prelims would be the first day, the Class 1A finals and Class 2A prelims would be the second day, finishing with the Class 2A finals and Class 3A finals on the third day.
“The reason why that works is, you can do Class 1A back to back, because they are primarily going to stay in hotels,” Brown said. “And then you also have the 2A schools, which are primarily outstate schools, and they’ll compete back to back. It works for 3A to be split up because it’s primarily city schools, and they don’t stay in hotels and things.”
Brown said it was also discussed about moving one of the classes to a different site, but he felt that was not a good decision.
While many of the specifics about the change are still up in the air, one thing is certain — there will be three classes of track and field in 2022.