The NCAA announced today that the City of Jacksonville will host the regional rounds of the 2015 and 2016 NCAA Division I Track and Field Outdoor Championships.
“This announcement shows that Jacksonville continues to have momentum as a top-tier destination for track and field competitions,” said Mayor Alvin Brown. “With last week’s announcement of the USA Track and Field Junior Olympic Championships coming in 2015, as well as being host to the 2014 NCAA Track & Field Regional, Jacksonville is gaining prominence on a national stage. I look forward to this great event returning in 2015 and 2016.”
The events will be held at the University of North Florida’s Hodges Stadium. The 9,400-seat complex opened in 2004 and is home to UNF’s track & field and soccer teams. The stadium has already held many large sporting events with the NCAA, including the 2012 NCAA Track and Field Outdoor Regional.
“We are thrilled to have another opportunity to bring national level track competition to the North Florida campus and the city of Jacksonville,” said UNF Athletic Director Lee Moon. “The fact that the NCAA has chosen to return to Hodges Stadium is truly a reflection of the confidence they have in our ability to run a top quality championship. This opportunity would not be possible with the continued support of the University administration, the City of Jacksonville, the Tourism & Development Commission and Visit Jacksonville. I believe the quality of our facility combined with our overall group of supporters allows us to provide a first-class experience for everyone involved.”
Jacksonville was selected to host the NCAA Division I Track and Field Outdoor Championships for the first time in 2012, and has already been selected to host this event in 2014. Today’s announcement means the city will host four NCAA Track regionals over five years.
“Jacksonville should be proud that the NCAA chose our city to host this event for two more years,” said Visit Jacksonville President and CEO Paul Astleford. “It shows that the NCAA thought so favorably about the experience our city delivered last year that they selected Jacksonville again for three additional years. It’s definitely a feather in the cap of Jacksonville.”
Astleford said the partnership between the city and Visit Jacksonville is paying off, commending the city’s Sports and Entertainment Office, the UNF Athletic Department, and the Visit Jacksonville team.
Hodges Stadium has been a desirable location for these types of events because of its sports accommodations. In 2008, a nine lane, Olympic-quality track with Mondotrack SX surface was installed. The track has full markings for all NCAA and IAAF events, including the ability to run directional events in either direction on either straight. All field event areas are within the stadium, including four horizontal jump pits, eight pole vault locations, and multiple areas for each throwing event. The facility also includes a full 400 meter, three lane warm‐up track and IAAF certified equipment provided by UCS. Hodges Stadium also boasts a completed press box and field/track lighting.