PUEBLO, Colo. (GoThunderWolves.com – June 14, 2011) – The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) has selected Colorado State University-Pueblo as the host site for the 2012 and 2013 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The Track and Field Championships will take place May 24-26, 2012, and May 23-25, 2013 at the Neta & Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl.
"Being selected as the host school for Outdoor Track and Field Championships is a huge honor, and I want to thank the NCAA for considering us to host this outstanding event," CSU-Pueblo Director of Athletics, Joe Folda, said. "Our campus as well as the community of Pueblo will be gracious hosts to the track athletes and we're excited to tell the nation about CSU-Pueblo's excellence."
CSU-Pueblo head track and field coach Chad Perry, who, in addition to his duties helming the Pack's track and field program, has emerged as one of Colorado's top track meet directors, said the Track Championships will allow CSU-Pueblo to showcase one of the finest Division II track and field facilities in the nation.
"This is huge for our community, and it will help us show how far [the CSU-Pueblo track program] has come in three years [since the program was resurrected in 2008]," Perry said. "There's nothing like having a national championship event in your hometown, and it will provide a great opportunity for recruiting and get people in our community excited for track."
As the host school, CSU-Pueblo and the City of Pueblo will play host to approximately 600 student-athletes from NCAA Division II colleges and universities throughout the nation. The result will be a great economic boon to the community, as area hotels and restaurants are expected to receive major benefits from the event.
"It appears that the NCAA Division II Track Championship will have a $1.7 to $2 million dollar impact on Pueblo," Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce President Rod Slyhoff said. "This is a great event for Pueblo and arrives at a great time of year. We have 2,200 hotel rooms and will be able to house all of the athletes plus administrators and officials, as well as plenty of rooms for athletes' family members. The Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce is looking forward to working with CSU-Pueblo in hosting a successful event and showing off our great University and community."
The University's selection as the 2012 and 2013 host site holds a special place in the heart of CSU-Pueblo Interim President, Dr. Julio Leon. While studying English at the University of Santiago, Chile, he established a reputation as a world-class runner, competing as a half-miler on the Chilean national track team, for whom he competed in the 1959 Pan-American Games in Chicago and trained for the 1960 Rome Olympics before being sidelined with an injury. After writing to the publisher of a U.S. track and field magazine about potential college track scholarships, he received an offer to run at a junior college in Odessa, Texas, and later transferred to Oklahoma Baptist University, where he placed fourth in the 800 and second in the 4X800 relay at the NAIA National Indoor Championships.
"As a former collegiate track athlete, I feel the same pride and excitement that a competitor might feel about the announcement that CSU-Pueblo will host the NCAA Division II Championships for the next two years," Leon said. "As host of this prestigious meet, we will be able to boost the economic condition of our region and enhance the University's reputation for excellence since we'll be bringing a national spotlight to Pueblo, Colorado."
The 2012 and 2013 Outdoor Track and Field Championships mark the sixth and seventh time that CSU-Pueblo would serve as the site for a national championship event. In 1975, CSU-Pueblo was the home of the first-ever Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) College Division National Women's Basketball Tournament as well as the NCAA College Division Men's Tennis Championships (Held at Pueblo City Park). CSU-Pueblo also hosted the 1983 NAIA Women's Gymnastics Championships as well as two NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships (1994 and 1998).
CSU-Pueblo will become the first host school to host the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships in back-to-back years since Southern Illinois-Edwardsville hosted the 1997 and 1998 championships.
Previous Sites of Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships
2011: Turlock, Calif. (Cal State-Stanislaus)
2010: Charlotte, N.C. (Johnson C. Smith)
2009: San Angelo, Tex. (Angelo State)
2008: Pomona, Calif. (Cal Poly Pomona)
2007: Charlotte, N.C. (Johnson C. Smith)
2006: Emporia, Kan. (Emporia State)
2005: Abilene, Tex. (Abilene Christian)
2004: Pomona, Calif. (Cal Poly Pomona)
2003: Edwardsville, Ill. (Southern Illinois Edwardsville)
2002: San Angelo, Tex. (Angelo State)
2001: Edwardsville, Ill. (Southern Illinois Edwardsville)
Previous Collegiate National Championship events held in Pueblo
1975: Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) College Division National Women's Basketball Championships (Massari Arena)
1975: NCAA College Division Tennis Championships (Pueblo City Park)
1983: NAIA Women's Gymnastics Championships (Massari Arena)
1994: NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships (Massari Arena)
1998: NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships (Massari Arena)