Torchlight | Spring 2014

On track for a resurgence 


Track
 Kathleen Raske, Hornet Track and Field head coach, Ken Barnett, emeritus Sac State chief of police, and
 Mike Sophia, Sacramento Sports Commission director, are part of a $1.2 million Sportflex SuperX Performance
 720 track at Hornet Stadium. When completed, the entire surface will be a school-spirited gold color—a rarity
  for track surfaces.



Ten years after Olympic gold medal sprinters Allyson Felix and Justin Gatlin blazed down the track, and pole vault gold medalist Stacy Dragila launched herself high above the field, Hornet Stadium is getting a makeover.

And just in time.

Thanks to a partnership between Sacramento State and the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau, a new track surface will welcome the country’s best athletes for June’s USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. 

The University received $1.2 million in funding from the bureau to cover much of the cost for the upgrade. It’s a hefty investment, but one that should benefit the University and the community for many years.

“It was a huge opportunity for us and a gift that is immeasurably valuable,” says Sac State Athletic Director Terry Wanless. “The quality of experience that our student-athletes will have training and competing on this surface will be first class. There won’t be a better surface in the world than what we’ll have right here at Sacramento State.”

The new surface is the same as the track used at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. 

Sac State is looking to reclaim its status as a track and field hotbed. In addition to hosting the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2000 and 2004, Hornet Stadium was home to the NCAA Championships four times between 2003-07 and the 2011 World Masters Athletics Championships.

“The success of all those events speaks well for the culture of the area and the fans turning out,” says Brad Hillard ’80 (Communication Studies), who works in community sports development for the Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Sac State has a tremendous reputation within the track and field industry and having the (USA Championships) back again spreads the prowess of Sacramento as a great destination for the sport.”

USA Track and Field officials visited campus last year and inspected the 14-year-old track surface. They confirmed a resurfacing was necessary and would boost the chances of hosting major events in the coming years. 

With the plan in place to install the new surface, the Bureau’s bid for the event was approved in October.

“Our partnership will bring in national events that will showcase our University and our facility,” Wanless says. 

The Eli and Edythe Broad Fieldhouse south of Hornet Stadium and The Well recreation and wellness center to the north give Sac State first-class athletic facilities and a top-level atmosphere.

“Having this kind of facility on our campus is very significant,” says Mike Lee, vice president for administration and chief financial officer for Sac State, and a member of the University Foundation at Sacramento State board of directors. “For many people attending the track and field events, this may be their first exposure to Sac State and we want to take advantage of that.”

The USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships will be held June 26-29. Tickets: csus.edu/hornettickets.