By Derek Helling, Communications and Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has announced a contract with the Johnson City Convention and Visitors' Bureau and East Tennessee State University to host the 2016 and 2017 NAIA Men's and Women’s Indoor Track and Field National Championships. The annual event will take place at the David E. Walker Track at Gentry Field in Johnson City, Tenn. The 2016 national championship is scheduled for March 3 – 5, with the 2017 event taking place March 2 – 4.
The 2016 championship will mark the first time since 2010 that Johnson City has hosted the NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships.
““The NAIA is excited to renew its partnership with the Johnson City Convention and Visitors’ Bureau,” said Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO. “Johnson City has served as a first-class national championship destination for indoor track and field in the past, and we are confident that the future will only surpass that reputation. Our student-athletes deserve to have an experience that they will remember for a lifetime and we are confident that the Johnson City Convention and Visitors’ Bureau will continue to offer that to them.”
The David E. Walker Track is located inside the ETSU/MSHA Mini-Dome, and is named for the legendary East Tennessee State coach and player. The venue has hosted countless meets including the annual Niswonger Invitational, one of the largest indoor meets in the nation; plus the Atlantic Sun and Southern Conference Indoor Championships, AAU Championships, and the NAIA National Championships.
“The NAIA is an outstanding organization which not only strives to build athletes, but effective and selfless leaders,” said Gavin Andrews, Johnson City Convention and Visitors Bureau Director of Sports Development. "We are proud to be partnering with them once again and look forward to providing an unforgettable experience for the fans, families, coaches, and especially the student athletes.”
The Johnson City Convention and Visitors' Bureau is an organization which exists to promote the beautiful scenery, music, heritage and culture of the city and provide visitors with the best information to make their experiences in Johnson City memorable.
The NAIA has sponsored men’s indoor track and field since 1966, when its inaugural championship was held in Kansas City, Mo. The NAIA began sponsoring indoor track and field for women in 1981, also in Kansas City. Indiana Tech won the 2015 men's national championship with 76 points, edging out Wayland Baptist (Texas). The women's national title currently belongs to Oklahoma Baptist, whose 87 points topped the women from Indiana Tech. Currently, 143 institutions sponsor the sport of women’s track and field. For a complete list of participating schools, click here.
Since 1937, the NAIA has administered programs and championships in proper balance with the overall educational experience. In 2000, the NAIA reaffirmed its purpose to enhance the character-building aspects of sport. Through the Champions of Character program, the NAIA seeks to create an environment in which every student-athlete, coach, official and spectator is committed to the true spirit of competition through five core values: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.
To learn more about the Johnson City Convention and Visitors' Bureau, click here.