The start of the girls varsity race of the 2014 Rim Rock Farm Classic. Photo by Renee Boeckman.
On Wednesday, the South Dakota High School Activities Association (SDHSAA) announced that the state of South Dakota will change the distance of championship cross country races for girls. They will make the jump from 4K to 5K starting in the 2015 season. This announcement comes just two days after the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHAA) announced that their girls will also extend the distance to equal that of the boys on Monday. The new distance will be run for the regional and state meets for both states.
Both Kansas and South Dakota join Iowa and Minnesota in making the switch to 5K for the 2015 season.
After South Dakota, that only leaves three states that do not run the 5K distance. North Dakota runs the 4K, while small schools in Oklahoma and Texas race the 3.2K (roughly two miles), while large schools race the 5K.
The KSHSAA press release said, “In recent years there has been ongoing discussion regarding a potential change in distance for KSHSAA high school girls cross country. Surveys of coaches and athletic directors have reflected increasing support to increase the girls’ race distance from 4K to 5K in KSHSAA postseason competition… Given these considerations, at its’ June meeting, the KSHSAA Executive Board voted to increase the distance for regional and state meet girls races to 5K, effective with the 2015 season.”
The SDHSAA Assistant Executive Director, John 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."
Could this snowball keep rolling until all 50 states have their girls run 5K for XC?