AMES – The annual Iowa State High School Classic indoor track and field meet held at the Lied Recreation Center, Mar. 16-17 has been canceled.

The decision by Iowa State University to cancel the meet was made after consultation with the athletic department, local high schools and the Iowa High School Athletic Association. The IHSAA noted on Thursday that it is actively monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in the United States and here in Iowa, relying on the most current information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) to direct decisions and actions.

The Ottumwa Bulldogs were scheduled to compete in the meet, which was scheduled to host competition for girls track and field athletes on Monday and boys track and field athletes on Tuesday. Albia, Fairfield and Pekin were all scheduled to take part in the meet.

“Everyone has their own opinion on that situation and what to do,” Jim Nickerson, Ottumwa High School’s co-head boys coach and physical education teacher, said. “In all my classes at school, I’ve recommended to all my kids to stack up on water and food, protein, stuff like that. We’re not experienced at this. No one knows what’s going to happen in the future. Be prepared, and if cancelling this meet is the best thing to do, that sounds good.”

“It’s safe to do that. We can train through that,” Ottumwa co-head boys track coach John Lawrence added.

The Ottumwa boys track and field team has just one more indoor meet left this season, Central College’s high school meet scheduled for Friday, Mar. 20. The Ottumwa girls, meanwhile, are done with the indoor season and will run in their first outdoor meet at Albia on Thursday, Mar. 26.

“We always look forward to the Iowa State indoor meet. It’s a great venue and a great chance to not only see some great competition, but we get to see some former area athletes like (former Pekin state champion) Gwynne Wright, who is doing really well for Iowa State’s running program,” Ottumwa head girls track and field coach Jim Schlarbaum said. “The girls are disappointed. I am too, but we do what we can. That just means we’ll have that day to work out and prepare for the outdoor season.”

Scott Jackson can be reached at sjackson@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.

Scott Jackson can be reached at sjackson@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.

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