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, Hutchinson Activities Director Thayne Johnson believes the Tigers will remain in the top class with larger schools.
“Without seeing where they’re going to set the cutoff numbers, I would be shocked if we aren’t in the largest class,” he said. “I think that’s where we’ll end up, and if not, if we are put into a different class, all the better.”
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. For the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, Hutchinson’s enrollment is listed at 867 and is the 91st largest in the state, so the Tigers are classified as a 3A school in those sports.
In wrestling, however, the top 64 teams are Class 3A, followed by the next 96 schools in Class 2A, so Hutchinson/BLHS is a Class 2A team.
Regardless of what happens to the Tigers, Johnson believed the change to three classes was good for the sport overall. And while Hutchinson may not shift classes, some of its current rivals likely will.
“From my perspective, and I just look at our section in particular where you have Dassel-Cokato, who is sending their kids up to compete against the Shakopees and Prior Lakes, to me that doesn’t make any sense,” Johnson said.
The change to three classes also means there will likely be changes to the state meet as well, such as adding a third day.
“I think that’s how they’ll end up running it, especially if they want to keep it all at Hamline,” Johnson said. ”They run a great meet.”
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, finished with the Class 2A finals and Class 3A finals on the third day.
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.