At April's Kansas Relays, the winner of the boys 2,000-meter steeplechase, Andrew Stevens of Shawnee Mission South, admitted that he'd never run in the event before.
"There just are not enough facilities, other than the collegiate facilities around the country, where kids have an opportunity to run the steeplechase," said Carol Swenson, a Kansas track enthusiast and an integral member of the state track meet announcing team for more that 30 years.
"More and more events are being hosted at those kinds of facilities, though. And I think that just encourages those people that would like to see those events that hey, we do have kids that can run these things."
The steeplechase is an event recognized by the NCAA and held at various college meets and invitationals that isn't recognized by the National Federation of State High School Associations or the Kansas State High School Activities Association, so it isn't common at track meets across Kansas. It will not be in the program of the 100th state track meet, either.
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There have been discussions about the addition of events like the steeplechase to give student athletes yet another chance to excel in on the track and field, but they haven't amounted to much of anything yet.
Swenson said that the steeplechase and another event could be added to the state meet a few years down the road, but it would depend on how quickly the Nation Federation and KSHSAA make it a priority to recognize them.
"The steeplechase and another one would be the hammer throw — I think those two events are very realistic possibilities," Swenson said. "There are a couple of states already that are running the steeplechase, and there are states in the east that are throwing the hammer at the state competitions."
KSHSAA assistant executive director and state track organizer Rick Bowden says there could be too many things thrown off by the addition of any events to the meet for any change to take place.
"Our time schedule is such right now, that if we were to add more events, we would have to go to a three-day meet," Bowden said. "Going to a three-day meet would also create some financial problems for our member schools.... That would force some schools to come in for an extra night, and given the financial situations of some schools, I don't think that they would embrace that type of change."
Kaye Pearce, a former high school and college track coach who has worked the state meet for 54 consecutive years — including years as the KSHSAA's executive director — agrees that changing the schedule could put a kink in the system that has worked for so long.
"I just don't see it happening, because it's a full two days right now," Pearce said. "If we didn't have all of the good volunteer people that we get from all across the state and help us with the meet, it would be impossible to do. I really don't see any possibility of adding any events."