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On Your Mark, Get Set, Go

After months of planning, Stanislaus prepared to host national event

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go

Al Brenda Track at Warrior Stadium is the site of this year’s NCAA Division II Track and Field Championships, a three-day event that starts on Thursday morning.

POSTED May 24, 2011 11:17 p.m.

A meeting was held on Tuesday morning inside the hospitality room of Warrior Stadium on the Cal State Stanislaus campus. There, a group of men and women talked about this week’s big event in Turlock: the NCAA Division II Track & Field Championships.

One of their biggest concerns?

The weather.

The NCAA D-II Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Committee hopes nothing will damper an event that is expected to give the local economy about a $500,000 boost and bring in at least 1,000 spectators, athletes and other supporters, according to estimates released soon after the news broke in February 2010 that Stanislaus would host its first track and field national meet on campus.

The three-day event starts on Thursday morning and concludes on Saturday night at the Al Brenda Track, which sits on the corner of Geer Road and Christoffersen Parkway. This is Stanislaus’ first time hosting a national event in any sport since Turlock Golf and Country Club was the site of the Division II men’s golf championships in 2000.

“The one thing I really stress about to everyone is we really want to embrace the athletes,” said Kim Duyst, the Stanislaus associate athletic director and former track and field coach, who is also the chairman of the D-II national committee. “We want to make them feel special when they come.”

She played a role in helping bring the national meet to Turlock. The campaign began in fall 2009. A committee, led by Turlock City Councilwoman Amy Bublak, went to Evansville, Ind., to make a presentation about why the track championships should be held in Turlock. It helped that Stanislaus had just completed the 2,100-seat Warrior Stadium, which was part of the school’s $16.2 million student recreation center.

Duyst was not part of the Bublak-led committee, which also included Milt Richards, the Stanislaus athletic director and Bublak’s husband, and Desa Basulto, the executive director at Turlock Convention and Visitors Bureau. But Duyst helped sell the idea of Turlock hosting a national event based, in part, on the shopping centers and hotels that are within a couple miles of the Stanislaus campus.

Since that meeting, the school has been working on creating an atmosphere that is fitting for the best D-II track and field athletes in the country. A national championship banner welcomes spectators and athletes at the main entrance, the fields for all the throwing events look ready to go and sponsor signs are wrapped around the stadium, as the event is expected to attract national media.

“Lots of signage and banners,” said Stanislaus track coach Geoff Bradshaw about the various additions to Warrior Stadium. “It makes it look more official. When the kids come in, they know it’s a championship meet — not a regular old meet.”

To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.

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