TURLOCK — CSU Stanislaus built it, and now the Division II track and field world will come.
The new Al Brenda track and field facility, which has yet to host an event of any kind, has been selected as the venue for the 2011 NCAA Division II track and field championships, set for May 26-28.
“This puts us on the map,” said Stanislaus athletic director Milt Richards. "For this week and the weeks leading up to the event, people will hear about and see our campus and the city of Turlock, and we’ll be able to showcase our beautiful facility.”
This will be the first time the campus will host a national track and field event, and the first time the school will host a national championship in any sport since Turlock Golf and Country Club was the host course for the 2000 Division II men’s golf championship.
The 2,100-seat Warrior Stadium was completed last fall and also is the home field for the Stanislaus men’s and women’s soccer teams. It is part of the school’s $16.2 million recreation and sports complex that replaced the Warriors’ previous track and soccer venues.
“Going back in time, President (Hamid) Shirvani has said he wants to make Turlock a college town and to do that we needed to develop the relationship between the city and campus,” Richards said.
Turlock businesses certainly stand to benefit greatly from the event, which will draw more than 1,000 athletes, coaches and support staff to the campus.
Adding to that base number will be national media, including a production crew from CBS, plus fans and family of the competitors.
Richards estimates a minimum of 600 hotel nights for Turlock and surrounding towns and said the campus should turn a profit from its hosting duties.
Sharon Silva, CEO of the Turlock Chamber of Commerce Convention and Visitors Bureau, estimates the event will generate $500,000 in revenue for the City of Turlock and surrounding area.
The effort to bring the 2011 championships to Turlock began last fall, when a committee led by Turlock City Councilwoman Amy Bublak, a former Stanislaus track and field All American and the wife of Richards, led a delegation to Evansville, Ind., to promote Stanislaus’ bid in front of the NCAA Division II track and field committee.
Bublak was joined by Richards and Turlock Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Desa Basulto.
Kim Duyst, Stanislaus’ associate athletics director and former track and field coach, was at the meeting in her role as chairman of the Division II national committee, but was not able to participate in the vote.
She was, however, on hand to answer questions from the committee, and her experience at national events allowed her to detail the advantages of the Turlock venue.
“We’ve had national events at which teams had to stay more than an hour away from the venue,” Duyst said. “We now have hotels at Monte Vista Crossings, along with a market, a Target store and all kinds of eating places, and that’s only two miles from our campus.”
The track and field venue features a Rekortan M99 all-weather running surface and the school has outfitted the facility with the latest in timing equipment.
It will host the California Collegiate Athletic Association championships two weeks prior to the national event.
Cross country coach Diljeet Taylor, a three-time All American track athlete at Stanislaus, will be the meet director.