There will be postseason competition for high school track and field athletes.
The MIAA’s Track and Cross-Country Committee approved its spring tournament format during a virtual meeting Tuesday morning. The vote was 14-0, and comes on the heels of a decision by the state’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to permit tournament competition.
“We’ve been working in sub-committee for several weeks now on this format, and at the same time waiting for EEA guidelines to change or be updated so Level 4, tournaments and in our case, meaning meets that are larger than dual meets, can actually happen,” Track committee chairman and Brookline athletic director Pete Rittenberg said during Tuesday’s video meeting. “As recently as Sunday, or I guess it was effective [Monday], tournaments are allowed.”
Not only will there be tournaments, but the Central/West regional meet will also be held. Rittenberg said members of his committee have been speaking with members of the MIAA’s Tournament Management Committee and other officials to determine what would be possible when June rolls around and it is time to advance beyond the dual meets.
”Our focus in reformatting, I would call, the sectional and all-state meets for this year, our focus has been really on creating a format that has small enough numbers that are acceptable to both the EEA and would also be acceptable to a local town or city that would be hosting, and a school district that would potentially be hosting one of these meets,” Rittenberg said.
Under the proposal that was approved by the Track Committee, there will be six sectional meets plus an all-states meet. Originally, Rittenberg said, Central and Western Massachusetts might have been split apart for this year, but in the end, the two sections will stay together.
According to the committee’s guidelines, there will be 16 qualifiers per field event and 24 per running event and relays. The exceptions would be for the sprints (100, 200, 100 hurdles, 110 hurdles) where 32 qualifiers would be allowed and for the long jump, where the number would go from 16 to 24.
In approving these plans, the Track Committee also approved a two-day meet structure. Thursdays would be for the pentathlon, pole vault, javelin, the 800-meter run, the mile, two mile and the 4-by-800 relay. The other track and field events would take place on Saturday. This will keep the numbers lower at the meets.
In Eastern Massachusetts, the larger division sectionals would take place on Thursday and Saturday with the smaller divisions going Friday and Sunday. That was determined because of a potential lack of officials.
The sectional meets are scheduled for June 17 and 19.
The committee also voted 14-0 to permit student-athletes to compete without wearing masks, if the EEA continues to move in that direction.
”If we say it’s during competition only, that will appease superintendents and boards of health because spectators and everybody else would then keep their masks on, and people who are not competing,” said committee member Art Reilly, former athletic director at Lee High School and current A.D. at Lincoln-Sudbury. “I’m 100 percent in favor of moving in this direction. Athletes, while they are competing in their events, they can remove their mask during the event.”