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Thursday, August 24, 2006 | Track & Field
Drake Awarded 2008 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships
The $15 million investment in the renovation of Drake Stadium by Drake University and the Greater Des Moines community has produced a quick dividend.
Drake University has been selected by the NCAA Track and Field Committee to host the 2008 NCAA Track and Field Outdoor Championships June 11-14. The announcement came during a teleconference Thursday hosted by Mark Bockelman, assistant director of championships for the NCAA, and DeTrease Harrison, chairperson of the NCAA Division I Track and Field Committee.
"We are absolutely delighted that Drake University has been awarded the 2008 NCAA National Track and Field Championships," Drake President David Maxwell said. "With the Drake Relays, the 2007 NCAA Midwest Regionals and now the National Championships, Drake and Des Moines have become the track and field capital of the Midwest. It is a tremendous infusion of energy, resources and visibility into the community. We are very, very grateful to everyone who helped make this happen."
It will mark the first time Drake has hosted the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships since 1970, when track and field immortal Steve Prefontaine, competing as a freshman for Oregon, won the first of four straight individual distance titles in dramatic fashion despite having a dozen stitches in his foot after a diving board accident days before. Drake senior Rick Wanamaker also won the NCAA decathlon title that year.
Drake University is thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with the city of Des Moines to bring this nationally prestigious event to the state of Iowa," said Drake Athletic Director Sandy Hatfield Clubb. "The vision of many has been realized by naming our newly renovatedDrake Stadium the home of the 2008 NCAA Track and Field Championship. A lot of hard work has gone into making this opportunity a reality. This announcement shows the country that Drake University can compete with the best in the nation, and it is a powerful momentum builder for our community and school.
Approximately 1,100 athletes are expected to compete in the four-day event, which is estimated to have an economic impact of $25 million on the Greater Des Moines area.
"This is awesome news!" said Greg Edwards, president and CEO of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau. "This community has worked hard to land the NCAA National Track and Field Championship and we did it. We are thankful that we have the expertise, leadership, vision and outstanding reputation of Drake University.
"The new Drake Stadium is now paying back added dividends to our community," Edwards added. "This puts us on the map as a national collegiate sports destination. The teamwork of this community makes us a Championship City."
Drake Assistant Athletic Director Mark Kostek will serve as the local tournament director for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Kostek was Drake Relays director from 2001-05 and has served as referee for the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Championships since 2001.
The 81-year-old Drake Stadium underwent a $15 million renovation that began in May of 2005 and finished just hours before the first starter's pistol fired during the 97th running of the Drake Relays on April 26.
It drew rave reviews from fans, coaches and athletes during the Drake Relays. "They did a great job," said two-time 2004 Olympic gold medalist Jeremy Wariner. "It is a beautiful facility. Hopefully, they can hold a lot more meets than the Drake Relays."
The newly renovated stadium includes a Mondo surface track with a safety lane that meets international standards, Musco Lighting and a new throws venue to the north of the track for the discus, javelin and hammer throws.
Drake was among six schools that were notified that they were finalists for hosting the 2008, 2009 and 2010 NCAA Track and Field Outdoor Championships. Officials from Drake University and Des Moines then made a formal presentation before the NCAA Track and Field Committee in Indianapolis, Ind., on June 27-28.
Earlier, Drake was awarded the 2007 NCAA Midwest Regional Outdoor Track and Field Championships with President Maxwell making the announcement during the dedication ceremonies for the revitalized Drake Stadium at the Drake Relays on April 29. The NCAA Regional Championship is scheduled for May 25-26, 2007.
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