The number of states that still contest a shorter race distance for high school females is approaching extinction mode.
Heading into this summer, just North and South Dakota, Kansas and the smallest Oklahoma and Texas schools set a limit on cross country race distance for high school girls.
As of this week, erase South Dakota from that list. And according to yesterday’s news from Runner’s World, cross Kansas off of that list as well.
Beginning in the fall of 2015, girls from the Mount Rushmore state will join their female counterparts from the majority of the country and compete in 5k cross country races.
"After gathering input from our coaches, athletic directors and member schools on our girls' cross country distance, I feel that our Board of Directors did a great job in listening to our member schools on making the switch to a 5K state final for our female athletes,” stated the SDHSAA Assistant Executive Director, John Krogstrand.
This past spring, at the SDIAAA Conference, South Dakota Athletic Directors voted strongly in favor of making the move to 5k for South Dakota Girls Cross Country.
The votes by school classification were as follows:
Class AA: 17 votes in favor of moving to 5k. 0 votes in favor of staying at 4k.
Class A: 32 votes in favor of moving to 5k. 8 votes in favor of staying at 4k.
Class B: 29 votes in favor of moving to 5k. 25 votes in favor of staying at 4k.
In the recent June 10th SDHSAA Board of Director’s meeting, the recommendation for girls to move to the 5,000 meter cross country race distance was officially approved.
There is some wiggle-room, however, for meet directors and coaches that want to transition their girls into running 5,000 meters.
Here is how the adopted proposal reads:
Cross Country: Change the distance for SDHSAA Region and State Girls’ Cross Country to 5,000 meters to match the boys’ distance.
Regular season meets could be contested over a distance less than 5,000 meters at the meet host’s discretion during the 2015 season.
“While not only taking action to match what the vast majority of other state associations do, our Board also left open the possibility that coaches and schools could choose to acclimate their runners to the change throughout the 2015 regular season, leaving the distance of all regular-season races up to local meet management,” Krogstrand stated.
“Our hope is that this decision will allow our coaches to continue to do what is best for our student athletes in South Dakota while also ensuring that our female athletes are not disadvantaged in any way as compared to their peers in 50 other states in terms of race distance."
Have thoughts on the move to 5k? Comment here.