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Kansas extending distances of girls cross country meets

The distances at Kansas high school girls cross country state and regional meets will increase to 5,000 meters beginning with the upcoming season, the state athletic association announced this week.

Beginning this fall, some Kansas high school girls cross country meets will use longer distances.
Beginning this fall, some Kansas high school girls cross country meets will use longer distances.

Girls previously ran 4,000 meters, and the changes will increase the length of races to 3.11 miles from 2.48 miles. It’s the first time since 2006 the state has altered the length of girls races, according to The Kansan.

The longer distances will be enforced only at state and regional meets, while distances at regular season meets will be determined by the hosting school.

From The Kansan:

“I think the change was inevitable,” Newton cross country coach Richard Mick said. “One coach in particular wanted the change and wasn’t going to stop until it happened. I think most of the arguments in favor of increasing the distance weren’t valid and therefore I was opposed.”

Newton assistant coach Michelle Bergquist is a former cross country runner and has two daughters who run cross country. She compared the change to making the basketballs used in boys’ and girls’ basketball the same, or making the weights of shot puts and discuses in high school track the same for girls and boys.

“I think there are some girls who will thrive at that, and there are some girls who won’t,” Bergquist said. “We have a lot of participants that just aren’t at that level.”

The newspaper reported that the change was made after a complaint was submitted to the U.S. Office of Civil Rights. Iowa made a similar change earlier this year, lengthening the distances in girls meets to reflect those run by the boys.


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