Changes coming for Howard Wood Dakota Relays

There are several changes on the way for the Howard Wood Dakota Relays, a signature Sioux Falls track meet which will be held for the 89th time May 2-3 at Howard Wood Field.

One big change involves the high school special events, which have traditionally rotated between the 200, 400 and 800 meters for boys and girls each year.

Starting this year, there will only be special events for the 200 and 800 meters, which means the 400 will be an annual occurrence, with preliminaries on the Friday of the meet and a final on Saturday.

“We’ll take the top 32 qualifiers and run them in four heats (for prelims),” said meet director Mark Meile. “That allows us to showcase the 400 every year instead of once every three years.”

This year’s special events will be the 200 meters for girls and 800 for boys, both scheduled for May 2.

Another change involves the Saturday schedule, which traditionally has included an afternoon break of nearly two hours to serve lunch for coaches and volunteers and hand out awards.

That break has been eliminated, with the honors to be bestowed during the meet at the stadium. The Saturday schedule will now start at 9 a.m. and wrap up around 6 p.m., much earlier than the normal 10 p.m. completion time.

“That allows us a lot more flexibility if we have to move things around due to weather,” said Meile. Then he added with a smile: “Not that we would ever have weather issues at the Howard Wood Relays.”