UWL to Host 2018 NCAA DIII Track and Field Championships

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UWL to Host 2018 NCAA DIII Track and Field Championships

Melissa Petroff, Sports Reporter

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Although the snow accumulation in the last couple weeks have made spring look like January, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is looking forward to the warmer weather as they will be hosting the 2018 NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships this May.

The planning committee put in the bid for this year’s championships in 2014. Ideally, the planning committee likes the bid to be on a rotation, so that there is decent amount of time in between each hosting.

The previous years that the Track and Field event has taken place on UWL’s campus were in 1985, 1997, and most recently in 2013.

UWL men’s track and field head coach Josh Buchholz expressed his excitement to host the championships again, “La Crosse has the facilities, transportation, new offerings such as our student union, and ease of getting around the city that makes it such a fantastic place to host”.

He said that having a “home field” advantage is great for the team as well, since athletes and coaches have the comfort of sleeping in their own beds. It is Buchholz’s 10th year as head coach of the team.

Seasoned track and field coach and Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Hall of Fame inductee, Mark Guthrie oversees the staffing and planning of the event.

He works mainly with organizing officials and volunteers for the meet. He ensures that officials have the proper credentials and their certifications from either USA Track and Field or the NCAA. The officials are then assigned to different areas.

The volunteers sign up online through a Qualtrics survey and are then assigned to different areas as well. Most of the volunteers consist of current and recently graduated students, family members, and alumni.

“The meet could not go on without the help of our volunteers; their commitment to working the event is very important,” Guthrie states. Volunteers will typically work in roles of selling tickets, merchandise, and working hospitality.

UWL’s Deputy Director of Athletics, Erin Thacker, serves as the director of the meet. With such a high number of athletes and events, the Track and Field Championships is the biggest event to plan.

It is not just the athletic department that makes the event so successful. Thacker explained how the Grounds Services, catering, and the Office of Residence Life at UWL contribute to how smooth the event will run.

Both the men’s and women’s track and field teams have seen great success performing in the WIAC and nationally as well. Competing between the bluffs and the river on their home turf will be special for the UWL athletes. “Our end goal is to see our team and our student-athletes on that podium,” Thacker stated.

The Championships are set for May 24 – 26 at Roger Harring Stadium at Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex.

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