Prospect and DeKalb cross the line together in 4:02 in the 4x400 prelims at the 2022 IHSA Girls' State Meet. Photo by Charles Green.
One of the most shocking statistics from the 2022 IHSA Girls' state meet came before the meet began. The 3A 4x800, historically one of the deepest events on the card in our state, only saw 22 squads toe the line for the preliminaries. This meant that there were no extra qualifiers for this event.
The 4x800 was hardly the only event that experienced a lull after the pandemic-canceled 2020 season. The most pronounced effects were the thinning of the fields in relays, hurdles, and field events. Even the sprints across all three classifications seemed like they were not up to usual standards, despite the heavy top-end name recognition of sprinters the last two years. The state had some work to do to climb back.
Well, if you blinked during this season, you missed the climb. That same 4x800 event went from 0 to 12 extra qualifiers for this season, with 31 of the 36 squads passing this year's qualifying mark. Every single event in every single classification earned extra qualifiers. Some events like the 2A 800 are chocked full with 40 competitors. Last year, only one team broke 4:00 in the 4x400 in Prelims. This year, teams will need a 4:00 to feel good about their chance to make it to the finals, especially 2A and 3A.
What's the point of all these stats? It's been a grind for these few years, with many lows. But as we enter into this highly anticipated state meet, it's time to declare with confidence: we are all the way back!
Follow here for in-depth previews of the three Girls' state meets contested in Charleston, IL.