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Howard Wood Dakota Relay returns for high school participants only this year

Published: May. 1, 2021 at 8:53 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The 96th annual Howard Wood Dakota Relay may be the most unique one that has ever happened, but those involved are just happy any event is happening this year.

Most years this track and field event would be hosting student-athletes from middle school, high school, and college.

This year to help keep all the athletes, coaches, and those in attendance safe, the decision was made to host the meet with high school athletes only.

“This year is a lot different; we miss not having the college kids here, but it’s still one of the premier track meets in the whole region and they really limited the number of heats the number of participants, so even to be able to run here is even a bigger deal than it’s been before.”

After a difficult year for all sports due to COVID-19, having a big event like this helps bring a little normalcy back to these student-athletes.

“It’s just a great thing for track and field in general to get exposure especially for our younger athletes, that’s where we feel like as a program our freshman and sophomore athletes have been at a little bit of a disadvantage just because they haven’t had the exposure to track and field with missing last year.”

Having an event with great competition and a full crowd will help these competitors get ready for anything.

“I think coming to a meet like this one month before the state meet gives kids an opportunity to first run against some really great competitors, second it puts them in a setting where the stands are full and gives them a chance to deal with nerves, so we always think this is a great precursor for the state meet that will be at the end of the month.”

While those involved were excited to have the Howard Wood Dakota Relay happen this year, they’re hoping things are back to normal next year and have all the student-athletes compete.

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