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College hosts national track and field championships

July 11, 2016
| By Pat Evans |
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USA Track & Field Championship Series women's race finish line
Runners cross the finish line at a USA Track & Field Championship Series event. Photo via fb.com

More than 1,000 of the nation’s best track and field athletes will are expected to create a $1.1-million economic impact on the area this week.

The nonprofit West Michigan Sports Commission and Grand Valley State University will host the USA Track & Field Masters Outdoor Championships for athletes between the ages of 33 and 99.

The event begins Thursday and runs through Sunday at GVSU's Allendale campus.

It’s the first time the event has been held in Michigan.

“It is a feather in our cap to host the first national masters outdoor track and field event in Michigan, let alone Grand Rapids,” said Mike Guswiler, president, West Michigan Sports Commission. “This is a testament to the quality and caliber of our area sporting facilities that lend a perfect backdrop for top athletes to compete.”

The event will feature competitors from 48 states competing in 2,560 events in 72 sports.

Competitors include more than 40 world champions, 100 defending U.S. champions and at least four Olympians. There are 104 athletes from Michigan registered for the event.

Volunteers are needed each day of the event, and during Wednesday’s practice day, in two-hour shifts.

Athletes and families expected to stay an average of four nights in West Michigan.

“We’re thrilled to welcome this esteemed group of athletes to Grand Valley State University and Grand Rapids to use our first-class track and field facilities,” said Lou Andreadis, meet director and GVSU associate head coach for men's and women's track. “We encourage everyone to come out and see these athletes firsthand — it will be a sight to behold.”

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