Plan: Return state track meet to Columbus
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
Columbus is in the running to recapture the Ohio high school state track and field meet, but it's still in the training stages.
Blair Irvin, an assistant commissioner with the Ohio High School Athletic Association, said it's the OHSAA's intention to return the meet to Columbus.
When that move will take effect is still in doubt.
"As soon as we can, we'll be back there," Irvin said.
In 1910, the state meet was held on the Ohio State campus for the first time. In 1924, it moved into Ohio Stadium and remained there until 1998.
Renovation: That's when a renovation of Ohio Stadium resulted in the track being removed and the meet site being changed to Dayton's Welcome Stadium.
Dayton will host its third straight state meet Friday and Saturday.
"They've done great," Irvin said. "Other than [Ohio Stadium], Dayton has probably the largest stadium [11,000 capacity] at which to hold the state meet. They also have an excellent track, because we have had a number of records set in the last couple of years."
This weekend's meet marks the first year of a recently-approved two-year contract, Irvin said. So, if the meet were to return to Columbus, it wouldn't be until 2003.
"Whether there's going to be some negotiations to bring it back to Columbus, I don't know," Irvin said. "Their stadium seems to be progressing quite well."
Location: That track and field stadium, Irvin said, is located behind the Woody Hayes complex, near the Buckeyes' baseball stadium.
"At that time [of the move to Dayton], Ohio State was talking about having 4,000 or 5,000 seats in there," he said. "Since then, they've expanded to 10,000 or 11,000 on one side. That would be helpful."
Boardman girls coach Denise Gorski, who serves on the Northeast District track and field board, said Columbus would like to get the meet back.
Dayton's Welcome Stadium and Columbus' Ohio Stadium each have its own advantages, Gorski said.
"With the atmosphere of Ohio Stadium, kids walk in and they're totally in awe," she said. "In all honesty, the crowd [at Dayton] is right there on top of you, and the people get a little more into it. Whereas, at Ohio Stadium it's spread out all over."
Preference: Gorski said she'd like to see the meet back in Columbus because Dayton is "a long 51/2-hour drive for us. Once Ohio State gets its seating done in the new stadium, it should have the same atmosphere as Dayton's stadium."
This year's state meet offers little change, Irvin said, other than a different rotation of division competitions.
What could be on the way is a awards ceremony that honors the top eight finishers, instead of the current six.
"It gives recognition to other people who made it to the final," said Irvin, who added the idea still needs final approval.
"Just because they finished seventh or eighth, it may have been only by a 10th of a second."