DES MOINES – The Drake Relays will be hosting their high school division in 2021.

The announcement came down Monday afternoon, after one of the most prestigious high school track meets in Iowa and the nation was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The high school competitions will be held at Drake Stadium on Thursday, April 22, and tentatively from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Strict COVID-19 protocols will be enforced.

“This is a terrific and truly exceptional opportunity for Iowa high school athletes,” said Blake Boldon, director of the Drake Relays. “We are especially excited about this news because many of the nation’s top collegiate events, including the Kansas Relays, Florida Relays and others, have already announced they won’t host high school competitors this spring.

“We are working very closely with the Iowa High School Athletic Association and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, as well as public health and other officials, to define appropriate COVID-19 protocols and create a safe experience for high school competitors and coaches.”

Entries for high schools will open on Monday, March 8, and the Blue Standard qualifying marks will be announced shortly. Given the unusual and challenging circumstances, many specific details are yet to be finalized. When final decisions have been made regarding competition and entry procedures, that information will be posted at DrakeRelays.org.

THE DETAILS

At this time, the following details have been confirmed:

All high school running events will be run as finals, except for the 4x100 meter relay which will have preliminaries.

All high school field events will have preliminaries and finals.

The 4x100 meter relay qualifiers will likely be reduced from 96 to 48 teams for high school boys, and from 96 teams to 48 teams for high school girls.

The number of qualifiers for all other high school events will remain the same as in 2019, the most recent year of high school competition at the Drake Relays.

Decisions and guidelines regarding spectators and ticketing are still being made. Details will be announced as soon as possible. This information will be posted to the Drake Relays website and shared via Drake Relays social media accounts.

“These are unique and very challenging times,” Boldon said. “We are proud to be moving forward with the high school competition for this year’s Drake Relays. The competition will be a single day to simplify travel for high schools and we selected Thursday to best align with NCAA protocols for a national caliber university competition to follow.

“We appreciate the incredible amount of understanding and cooperation necessary in order to host a successful and safe event for our Iowa high school athletes. They deserve a special day in the spotlight, and we look forward to making that happen for them.”

To reach Brian Rathjen, send correspondence to sports@ant-news.com or phone (712) 243-2624.

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