GREENSBORO — Hosting large sporting events is nothing new to Greensboro. It has long been a mecca for college basketball, but it also is becoming known for hosting prominent track and field events at N.C. A&T’s Irwin Belk Track.
The Aggies’ track served as host to USA Track & Field’s Junior Olympic national championships, which concluded Sunday. That meant visitors, about 10,000 of them, from across the country were in Greensboro, many of them for the first time.
What was the verdict?
“It’s been here before, but we had a larger amount of kids to compete (this year),” said Arionne Allen, associate director of Youth Programs for USA Track & Field. “The overall experience has been great. The local organizing committee has been very organized and has assisted with the growth of numbers perfectly.”
The Dunford and Webber families traveled from Bellingham, Wash., so that their children, Nathan Dunford and Kirsten Webber, could compete in pole vault events. William Webber drove the nearly 3,000 mile trip to transport the poles, while the rest of the family members used commercial airlines. Kirsten Webber finished eighth in the girls 17-18 age group and Nathan Dunford finished 12th in the boys 17-18 group.
“It’s very well organized,” Dale Dunford said. “They kept it running fairly fast. All the people that worked here were really nice, because when we first got here we were trying to figure out where to take the poles and they showed us how to get there and got somebody to open the door for us.”
Kevin Brown, an assistant track and field coach at South Carolina, said he attends large meets on a regular basis for recruiting purposes.
“I’ve been to quite a few of these and sometimes they don’t get done until really late, like midnight, because of delays in the schedules,” Brown said. “Yesterday, we had a delay with the rain and they came back and we were still out of here at a good time. They did a good job of planning the schedule and getting the kids through.”