116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — Three days. Split sessions. Two spectators per athlete.
Those are the high points of Tuesday’s announcement by the Iowa High School Athletic Association and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, in reference to the state track and field meet.
The meet will remain at Drake Stadium on its previously announced dates, May 20-22. The main difference between this year’s schedule, and those of years past, lies in Saturday’s session.
Sessions, to be more accurate.
Like Thursday and Friday, Saturday will be split into an early session for classes 2A and 3A (starting at 9 a.m.) and a later session for 1A and 4A (starting at 2 p.m.).
Current attendance limits from Drake University and Polk County Health Department allow for two tickets per qualifying participant in the session in which they compete. Any remaining tickets in each session will be made available to participating schools.
According to IHSAA communications director Chris Cuellar, somewhere between 2,100 and 2,700 unique athletes will participate in each session, so if each request two tickets, that would mean the stadium — and the throws venue to the north — could have 4,200-5,400 spectators for each session.
That would mean about 8,000-10,000 spectators per day, a big increase from the 3,000 spectators allowed each day of the Drake Relays.
“There is not a set (capacity) on any session at this moment,” Cuellar said. “Drake and Polk County were OK with two per participant for each session right now, with the understanding that we’ve got more kids (and their spectators) likely in on Friday than most of Thursday or Saturday.”
The early session (2A/3A) will compete at 9 a.m. each day. The late session (1A/4A/wheelchair) begins at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, 3:25 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday.
Spectators and participants will be required to clear the facility after each of the six sessions, including Saturday’s finals. Seating will be unassigned with spectators required to use socially-distanced pods and wear masks at Drake Stadium, per recent CDC guidance on crowds at outdoor events.
Available seat locations inside Drake Stadium will be identified with stickers on bleachers. Spectators for shot put and discus competitions will be allowed ticketed access to the fields immediately north of the stadium.
According to Tuesday’s release, the IHSAA and IGHSAU “will work through member school administrators following state qualifying meets May 13 to arrange initial ticketing procedures for qualifiers and alternates.
“Once available, digital ticketing will be conducted through HomeTown Ticketing participant promo codes via the IHSAA website. Qualifiers out of preliminary events on Thursday and Friday will be ticketed for Saturday finals once results are finalized.”