The facility will house what figures to be the largest track and field meet in the history of the Hub City when the United States of America Track and Field (USATF) Region 8 meet takes center stage today through Sunday.
Athletes from South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin will compete for a chance to advance to the USATF National Meet later this month in Greensboro, N.C.
While Aberdeen has hosted the Dakotas Association Championships the past few years, this will mark the first time it has had the opportunity to host a regional.
“I’m just thankful that we were able to get the meet in the first place,” said meet director Lynne Nacke. “I’m excited to show people that we can put on a good meet. Hopefully, everybody enjoys running at our great facility.”
The meet begins today with action in the decathlon, heptathlon and pentathlon. It reaches its fever pitch on Saturday and Sunday with semifinals and finals in all events.
Nacke said there will be some elite athletes competing in the meet.
“There’s some very high quality kids,” she pointed out. “It’s amazing some of these times.”
Preparations for this meet have been in the works for months and Nacke feels confident that everything is ready to go.
“We’ve been working with the CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau) with the housing and stuff like that. For over a year, we’ve had rooms reserved,” Nacke noted. “We are pretty much sold out for (the) weekend.”
Nacke figures that nearly 1,000 athletes will be competing in the four-day meet. That is nearly four times the amount that participated in the Dakotas Championship at Swisher Field about a month ago.
Included in the field will be a group of South Dakota athletes who Nacke will be keeping an eye on.
“I’m very excited to see our local kids,” Nacke said.
She said, “Just the experience alone to be at this caliber of meet,” will be beneficial and memorable. “The competition will definitely be at a high level, that’s for sure.”
USATF Region 8
What: USATF Region 8 Meet (comprised of the Dakotas, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin).
When: Today through Sunday.
Where: Swisher Field in Aberdeen.
At stake: A chance to compete in the USATF National Meet July 22-28 in Greensboro, North Carolina. The top five finishers in each event are eligible for the national meet.
Schedule: Action starts at 12:30 p.m. today with the decathlon, heptathlon and pentathlon. The meet resumes at 9 a.m. Friday with the conclusion of those events and the beginning of field events for younger athletes. Action gets underway at 8 a.m. Saturday with various running events and field events. The conclusion of the rest of the running and field events starts at 9 a.m. Sunday. The last event is set for 3:05 p.m. A link to the complete meet schedule can be found at aberdeenarearunningclub.com.
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