October 24, 2013 4:30PM
The city of Pittsburg will get a bit of a preview this weekend of what a new Indoor Event Center at Pittsburg State University could bring when the university hosts the 2013 Men’s and Women’s MIAA Cross Country Championships.
Eleven women’s teams and nine men’s teams will compete in the event, which is being held on Saturday, October 26, at Countryside Golf Course just west of Pittsburg.
Pittsburg State University Cross Country Head Coach Russ Jewett expects quite a crowd to travel to Pittsburg for the competition.
“The teams alone will bring nearly 300 people to our community,” said Jewett. “Being able to host the championships is not only an advantage for our athletes, but a great opportunity for our city. It’s an opportunity to showcase our community and its support for the Gorillas.”
It’s also an economic opportunity for the community.
“Events like this help our community in so many ways,” said B.J. Harris, director of the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The financial impact is pretty clear but it’s more than that. We expect more than 200 fans to be in town for the event and for many it will be their first visit. It’s our chance to showcase the many recreational, corporate and educational opportunities Pittsburg and Crawford County have to offer.”
Unfortunately for Pittsburg, the MIAA Cross Country Championships rotate among all of the association’s schools, which means it won’t be back in Pittsburg until 2024.
“It’s pretty special when you’re able to play host,” said Jewett. “It’s one of the reasons we’re so excited about the planned Indoor Event Center and what it might mean for our community.”
Harris shares Coach Jewett’s excitement about the project, and believes this weekend will be a glimpse of what will become a regular occurrence for Pittsburg and Crawford County.
“We will be one of only three schools within the MIAA to be able to host the Indoor Track Championship,” said Harris. “That event is even larger than the Cross Country Championships, and we’ll be in line to host it every three years. That’s a pretty big economic boost for our region.”
The Indoor Event Center has already received financial support from private donors, students, the city of Pittsburg and Crawford County. University officials are working out the final details but hope to have news to share in the near future.
The MIAA Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships will take place at Countryside Golf Course from 10-11:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 26. Admission is $5 with free admission for high school and university students and children.