SportsEvents Magazine

AUG 2018

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August 2018 44 t SPORT Report The National Association of Intercol- legiate Athletics' (NAIA) Cross Country National Championship is one of NAIA's largest events, as is its Indoor Track and Field and Outdoor Track and Field National Championships. "Our Cross Country National Championship is hosted in the fall, and it averages approximately 320 student athletes per gender," said Mike Higgins, NAIA director of cham- pionships. "That includes 36 women's teams and 36 men's teams." The NAIA Cross Country National Championship alternates between host cities. Last year, the event was held in Vancouver, Wash., and this year will be in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. For the first time, this year's Indoor Track and Field National Championship will be held at South Dakota State University in Brook- ings, S.D. A total of 1,100 participants will attend the event. The Outdoor Track and Field National Championships is held over Memorial Day weekend each year. In recent years, it's been held at Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium in Gulf Shores, Ala. The indoor event draws approxi- mately 1,200 student athletes – a total of about 190 teams – at the indoor event. "We have so many schools that partici- pate in our cross-country events and our track and field events," Higgins said. "It's definitely two of our most popular and longest-standing sports, and they seem to be as popular as ever. I think one of the reasons why is that they genuinely celebrate athleticism. If you are fast, you can put on a pair of shoes and go out and run and show how fast you are." While popularity of the sports certainly isn't waning, USATF has implemented new initiatives and programs in the last couple years to further encourage partici- pation in the sports. On the elite level, the organization instituted the USATF Revenue Distribution Plan. The plan awards cash payments to athletes when they make national teams and/or win medals at certain events. "This program has really helped our elite athletes when it comes to devel- opment," said Geer. "A professional athlete needs to be able to make a living, so it has been a great new program for us." Come Play in kansas city, ks! justin stine, meetings & sports sales manager 913.321.5800 | justin@ sports USA Track & Field NAIA Grinnell College athlete at NAIA Men's Track & Field event. A USA Track & Field indoor event.

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