Track and field fans will have a unique opportunity on Saturday at the Al Sahli Invitational at Swisher Field in Aberdeen.
The facility will be hosting an outdoor track and field meet featuring Class AA high schools and NCAA II colleges. Aberdeen Central and Northern State will conduct a joint meet featuring Central, Huron, Mitchell, Pierre, Watertown and Valley City, N.D., along with athletes from Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference teams, Bemidji State, Minnesota State Moorhead, University of Mary and Wayne State.
It will be great. If we get halfway decent weather, it will be a really good thing, said NSU track and field coach Jim Fuller. Having the high schools there brings more fans. When there are people at a meet, there is more atmosphere. The athletes perform better with a little more excitement.
The high school field and track events begin at 11:30 a.m. The college track events kick off at 10:30 a.m. followed by field events at 11 a.m. The meet is expected to conclude around 7 p.m.
This will be the first time that Central High school has competed in a meet in Aberdeen that also had college athletes.
The last time we competed in Aberdeen together would have been sometime in the late 1950s when the Aberdeen Relays had a college division, said Central athletic director Gene Brownell who ran in the Aberdeen Relays 50 years ago as a member of the Henry Owls. I ran in the Aberdeen Relays starting in 1961 and there was no college division at that time. This will be a novelty and we are excited about working together with NSU on this community event.
Central will run the high school field events and Northern will be in charge of the college field events. Swisher Field has multiple runways, rings and throwing areas so the same jumps and throws can take place at the same time.
When the track was built, multiple field event areas were put in. That makes a meet like this a possibility, said Fuller. We can run two high jumps at the same time or two pole vaults. We have all those discus rings. We can run the hammer throw and javelin which high schools don't have.
The order of running events for colleges and high schools are not the same so the high school coaches and athletic director and the Northern coach put their heads together for a schedule. An effort was made to push some college running events to earlier in the meet.
Northern State is hosting the NSIC Multi-Events Championships on Sunday and Monday at Swisher Field so the college coaches will be staying in Aberdeen. Plus, NSU is hosting the NSIC Outdoor Track and Field Championships on May 13-14.
The meet is scheduled a little bit differently than a normal college meet and a little bit differently than a normal high school meet, said Fuller. We'll get the colleges out of there a little early knowing they have a couple of days in Aberdeen. It's a neat schedule and I'm pleased with it.
Sports writer Deb Smith
Tiger Relays moved to today
The weather conditions have wiped meets out, pushed meets back and now have moved a track and field meet up.
The Tiger Relays in Ipswich, scheduled for Saturday, will take place today with field events starting at 2:30 p.m. and running events at 3 p.m.
The forecast keeps on getting colder and colder for Saturday, explained Ipswich coach Todd Thorson. I just figured we better just do it.
Putting on a meet is a job in itself, but moving it ahead two days means extra work like filling the pits with sand, finding extra workers, etc.
Thorson thanked everybody from the Ipswich administration to the other schools who will be helping to supply workers.
This is a team effort, he said, not just on the track or in the field, but the workers, too.
Thorson said he just felt the athletes have put in the time and effort, and in turn wanted to give them a chance to compete in the best conditions possible this week.