Michigan High School Track & Field Events Ranked

17. 4X200

They don’t run this in Indiana and frankly I don’t really blame them? Not sure we need the 100, 200, 4X1 and 4X2, and this would clearly be the event to go of that sprinting quartet, it’s the awkward middle child of the two relays that are actually run at the college and pro level. I also don’t like that the best relay team for a school is likely either very similar or the same as their 4X1, a pretty clear sign of the redundancy of this relay. It takes forever to set up, too.

16. 4X800

Maybe a little bit of trolling here, but this event takes forever and isn’t competitive at 90% of meets to the point where teams forfeiting the event (either by entering a JV team or no team at all) to an obviously superior distance team is common. It can be a ton of fun at a high-level meet, but that is true of any event. I’d say at over half of dual meets this event may as well not even have been run.

15. 3200

I’d rather just keep the starter at the 200 start and run the 3000, the 3200 really means nothing as a distance other than it being two 1600s and 1600s don’t really mean anything as a distance either other than being four laps. As I’ve transitioned away from being anything close to a competitor in this event myself, I find it less and less fun to watch. I appreciate the fast times and respect them and am interested in how fast a fast runner can run, but that doesn’t really translate into enjoying the race itself (especially the first four laps). It’s a bathroom break now. Fully transitioned into an anti-distance idiot.

14. Discus

I don’t really know much about field events so I guess they will all place relatively low and next to each other. I think the higher numbers of the discus make it more difficult for me to appreciate. I don’t have a picture of what 120 feet vs 140 feet vs 160 feet is in my head.

13. Long Jump

People seem to like this one, or at least there are usually a lot of entries. I don’t think I really get it. Again likely my lack of knowledge, but whenever I do end up watching it I’ll see someone jump and have really no idea how far they went or if it was good. Also I think someone broke the D2 record when I was timing a state meet one year and I didn’t even realize it, so that shows how little of an impact long jump marks usually make on me.

12. Shot Put

You throw the big heavy ball. I am not sure I have ever picked up a high school regulation shot put. Maybe if I did I’d gain a better appreciation of, again, how hard it is to throw this thing 30 feet vs 40 feet vs 50 feet. But I know it’s heavy and the distances are memorable to me when someone throws it really far at a meet.

11. High Jump

Cool event, that bar really gets high up there, it’s really impressive to think about someone getting over like, 6 foot 8. I also like how you can immediately tell if someone cleared or not instead of it needing to be measured, and the suspense of near misses and makes.

10. Pole Vault

Super impressive looking and fun to watch. Has many of the same qualities I mentioned with high jump as well. It’s almost like watching a high-level gymnast.

9. 300 Hurdles

I think this one is held back by it being 300 meters, an awkward distance. I think it would connect more with spectators, etc. if you could say – ‘wow they ran a 55 second 400 WITH hurdles!’ Otherwise I like the event.

8. 200

200 is pretty cool. I think both the 100 and 400 overshadow it, and it’s kinda just there in between them as the awkward middle child again. Maybe this is a dumb thing to say, but I think there might be too much overlap between this and the 100 as well. The winner of the 100 is really quite often also the winner of the 200.

7. 1600

I think we’re into the cream of the crop, kind of trying to adjust for my own bias here, because I do quite like the 1600. It’s really close to a mile, which everyone who is even remotely familiar with distance running connects with. When you tell a normal person you run, they want to know your mile time. If you have just a casual cross country runner trying out track, this is the event they’ll run all year because it’s most gratifying to improve your time. It’s a great event. My nitpicks on it are (A) a 1600 is not a mile, so if we’re going to treat it like it is, we should just mark tracks to run an actual mile and (B) the most interesting part of the race is usually seeing the times, not actually watching the race.

6. 800

The event every distance runner wishes was their best event. You can’t win this event off pure speed, but you’ve got to have some serious wheels to have any chance of winning this event at a decent meet. It’s an interesting race tactically, you’re running so fast that you can’t really sustain more than one surge like you can in a longer event, so you’d better make that move wisely. I love it as kind of a harsh reality check for a lot of distance kids – everyone’s tried it, everyone is in various states of denial about whether they have the speed to actually compete in it.

5. 100

The 100 is exciting, I’ll never forget being a freshman at my first track meet watching a high school 100 for the first time – it was downright thrilling. Even though I place it at #5, I question anyone who doesn’t have the 100 in their top 5 events. Truly an iconic and essential track event. My nitpicks about it are honestly more from the timing side! Running this event without FAT makes times pretty much useless. Running this event with FAT in a strong wind without a wind gauge makes times pretty much useless. I don’t like that aspect of it, I like how track normalizes times and they’re comparable to times at other meets and the 100 just kind of breaks that.

4. 100 Hurdles/110 Hurdles

I’ve been going to track meets consistently for almost 15 years now and it’s still impressive how high the hurdles are. There is nothing quite like the clearly practiced technique, athleticism, grace, etc. of a hurdler. And if we’re going to factor this in, the unintentional comedy potential in this event is the highest in HS track as well, and potentially second only to steeplechase.

3. 400

The 400 is the best open running event by virtue of it being one lap. From an aesthetic standpoint, you cannot argue that a race that is 1/4 lap or 2 laps or 4 laps is superior to a race that is one lap.

2. 4X100

Some of the same energy as the 400 here. How fast can four people move a baton the full distance around a track? Often quite fast. There’s a lot more going on in this event at one time than any other event, I think, so major points for that. The only negative I can come up with is how much of my life has been waiting around with ‘exchange zone 1, are you ready?’………………………………………

1. 4X400

This has to be consensus, right? Barring some throwers, anyone who is good at any other event in track & field can very likely be a contributor in this event. You could put your four best athletes out there and chances are, it’s your best team. Nobody’s 4X4 is the same and there’s no one recipe for success. Everyone has memories of running back and forth cheering this on as it decides the meet. Maybe other events would be boosted if they were last and decided meets, but I question the judgment of anyone who doesn’t think the 4X4 should be last at every meet until the end of the world.