By Gary Budzak
Ohio Wesleyan University, the City of Delaware and its businesses are gearing up for this weekend’s NCAA Division III Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Although the competition takes place May 22-24, athletes and coaches will begin arriving May 19. More than 15,000 people are expected to attend.
“We’re very excited to be hosting this again for the second time since 2011,” OWU spokesman Cole Hatcher told The Gazette. “We’re just trying to improve upon everything we did the last time.”
Hatcher said that OWU and the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh were the only two schools in the nation chosen to host the championship for the second time in the past 10 years. “That speaks very highly of all the work that Delaware helped us to do that helped us ensure that everyone had a great time here for the event.”
Delaware’s City Council did its part, recently approving a resolution allowing free parking at metered spaces, with the exception of 10-hour spaces, during the championships. In addition, city crews have put up metal and electronic signs in recognition of the event.
The events will take place in 9,100-seat Selby Stadium, and between the dashing, running, hurdling, jumping and throwing, spectators can attend a Fourth Friday event on May 23 coordinated by Main Street Delaware.
“The great part of track and field is each event is a few minutes long,” Main Street Delaware Executive Director Frances Jo Hamilton told The Gazette. “You’ve got people in and out of your downtown all day long as opposed to a big event that ends, and everybody descends at the same time. That sets us up for success.”
Those wearing NCAA wristbands will be offered discounts, and some downtown restaurants will stay open later.
According to OWU, admission will be $8 per day for adults, or $20 for a three-day wristband; $5 per day for students and senior citizens, or $12 for a three-day wristband. Children ages 4 and under are free. Ticket sales start at 10:30 a.m. The event will be held from noon to 9 p.m. May 22, from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. May 23, and from noon to 6 p.m. May 24.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-363-1161 ext. 340 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.