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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Attendance limits removed for state track meet

Iowa's sanctioning bodies announced on Tuesday that the annual event in Des Moines will be open to all spectators.

BOONE, Iowa — Attendance limits have been removed for this week’s co-ed state track meet in Des Moines.

The Iowa High School Athletic Association announced Tuesday it was following updated public health guidance in cancelling capacity and seating restrictions announced on May 4.

The combined IHSAA and IGHSAU meet at Drake Stadium will now be open to the general public.

Tickets went on sale at noon Tuesday for the meet, which starts Thursday and runs through Saturday.

“Throughout the pandemic, our number one priority for hosting athletic events has been the safety of our athletes, staff, spectators, and our community. In doing so, we have followed guidance from the CDC, the Iowa Department of Public Health, the Polk County Health Department, the NCAA, and our own administration,” said Drake University athletic director Brian Hardin, who initially pushed back when asked by Governor Kim Reynolds to consider opening the event to more fans two weeks ago. “Recently released CDC guidelines encouraged us to consult with these partners and revisit stadium capacity.”

The IHSAA said that masks are still strongly encouraged for fans, especially in common areas such as concourses, concessions and restrooms.

A mobile vaccination clinic will also be located in the Drake Stadium concourse for all three days of the meet. The Pfizer vaccine will be given out by members of Drake University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and Polk County Health Department.

Anyone age 12 or older wishing to receive a vaccination will be able to do so.

The meet schedule will remain as previously planned, and Drake Stadium will not be cleared between sessions.

“We are thrilled with today’s news that allows fans to return to Drake Stadium without limitations,” IGHSAU executive director Jean Berger said. “Drake’s willingness to evaluate the new guidelines and adjust the capacity is truly appreciated. Our athletes absolutely love competing at Drake and the championship experience it can provide as our host.”