NJCAA Awards 2019 Outdoor Track Nationals to NMJC
4/17/2018 2:17:30 p.m. - Hobbs, NM.
[Story by Jason Farmer, Hobbs News Sun]
The NJCAA outdoor track and field national championship meet is coming to Hobbs and New Mexico Junior College.
“In a meeting (Monday) morning with the executive committee of this process,” NMJC Athletic Director Deron Clark said. “It was stated that this will probably be the biggest event that the college itself has ever held.”
Back in September, New Mexico Junior College submitted its application to host the NJCAA national championship. On Nov. 1, NMJC was notified that it was being considered. The school then hosted a review committee from the NJCAA on Nov. 27 to look over the facilities. Then, on April 3, the NJCAA held a vote and NMJC was awarded the national championships for 2019.
The official dates for the NJCAA outdoor national champions will be May 16-18, 2019.
“There will be approximately 700 athletes, not counting coaches,” Clark said. “We are looking at about 60 women’s teams and about 75 men’s teams that will be competing in the event.”
Not only will NMJC benefit from hosting a national tournament, but Clark also said the community of Hobbs should benefit as well.
“Obviously it is something that will put (NMJC) on the forefront of a lot of calendars come the 2019 school year, but it will also be a big event for the community,” Clark said. “It is 1,459 room nights, that is what was used in 2017. It is just going to be a big deal for us to get that here.”
Clark went on to say that the Hobbs Chamber was involved prior to bidding to ensure the NJCAA limitations would be in effect to help secure lower costs of hotel rooms.
JASON FARMER/NEWS-SUN With the recent announcement that the NJCAA has awarded the 2019 outdoor track and field national championship to New Mexico Junior College, a new press box will be built to accomodate all the media and other officials expected during the three day event in May of 2019.
“There has been an agreement with the hotel and lodging community,” Clark said. “They meet (Monday night) actually. They are going to review what it is going to take, what they are going to have to charge and all those things are in place.”
While the campus has already been approved to host the event, there is work to be done with just over a year to prepare and add the necessary upgrades to the facility.
Among the things that will be done over the next year are installing more bleachers, repainting the track, adding lighting to the track, a new press box, and a second runway for the javelin.
“We are going to have to absorb some costs,” Clark said. “We are looking at this being an every other year event. We are looking to absorb that bid and the community will know that it is coming back every other year.”
One thing that will not happen is bleachers will not be placed near the throwing events. Spectators will have to watch from afar and use binoculars to see it on the other side of the track.
“(Spectators) are going to have to watch from a distance,” Clark said. “We would rather not get random people – you know, somebody walks into a shot or hammer or heaven for bid a javelin. We are just not going to open that up.”
One of the advantages NMJC has with its track facility is the closeness of everything. All the events can be held in the same location. Athletes won’t have to go from one facility to another to throw or jump or run. According to Clark, the proximity of Ray Birmingham Field also gives NMJC a staging area for the athletes participating to warm up.
“This is just my second season (with NMJC) and I haven’t been to a bunch of events, but one of the comments that I continually get is that the entire event can’t be held in one place like it can here. We are self-contained,” Clark said. “Most of the places that we go to do nationals, they will have to do the discus at another site, the javelin at another site. All those field events are not always right there at the track.”
During the April 3 meeting that NMJC was awarded the 2019 national championships, the 2020 national championships were awarded to Hutchinson College in Kansas and the 2021 national championships were awarded to South Plains College in Levelland, Texas. Clark said NMJC hopes to become a regular host site for the outdoor track and field national championships.
“We are hoping to get it back after that,” Clark said.
The track and field national championships will be the first national meet NMJC has hosted since the 2011 cross country national championships at Ocotillo Park Golf Course.