For the first time ever in all 50 states some high school girls are racing distances equal to boys, instead of shorter distances.
In Oklahoma and Texas, some smaller schools will still opt to have girls continue racing 3,200 meters rather than three miles or 5,000 meters. However, in larger schools in those states, girls will run the same distance as boy do.
According to Alex Aldaco of the web site TXRunning, proposals to change the distance to 5,000 meters for all Texas girls were voted down because of a fear by small schools that they would not be able to field teams with that change. Since small schools have smaller teams, and many girls run cross country in order to be in shape for other sports, coaches feared that the increased distance would mean a drop in participation below the five girls needed for a scoring team.
In addition, small schools sometimes have seventh and eighth graders running varsity. Some coaches prefer to have younger runners race shorter distances prior to ninth grade.