National Senior Games exec hoping for lots of records at new siteMeredith Scerba is senior vice president, event management, for the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, which is helping organize the National Senior Games this summer. She responded to my queries on why the track meet was shifted from Cleveland to the suburb of Berea â€” and even addressed concerns about the hammer cage. Good for her. Meredith writes: “First of all, thanks for your interest in the National Senior Games and Masters Track and Field. We really appreciate those of you who help advance masters sports and the healthy lifestyles that come with it. I was forwarded your email from over the weekend and would like to address some of your concerns regarding the track and field venue for this summerâ€™s games here in Cleveland.”
Here’s the rest of Meredith’s note, which arrived today:
First of all, please know that the decision to hold our track and field event at Baldwin Wallace University in nearby Berea was not made lightly. Our first priority in making this decision was the quality of the competition for all the athletes traveling to Cleveland this summer.
Our organization hosted the Ohio Senior Olympics in the summer of 2012 and used Case Western Reserve Universityâ€™s Case Field. While Case Field is an excellent venue for track and field, we realized that hosting the larger number of athletes at the National Senior Games competition would present significant logistical challenges for this facility. These challenges would have likely resulted in the extension of the length of the track and field competition by several days.
With that in mind, we made the decision to move this summerâ€™s event to Baldwin Wallace Universityâ€™s Finnie Stadium. The track at Finnie Stadium is the same surface used at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and at the time of its construction was one of only four such surfaces in the world. Additionally, significant renovations are currently underway that will further enhance the track and field competition.
These renovations include several makeovers that will greatly enhance the field events. One such improvement is currently being made to the hammer throw area, which is being flattened out and will provide athletes with the ability to set records.
The hammer throw event will also be held on a separate day than the rest of the track and field competition, eliminating the need for athletes to move back and forth between the hammer area and the rest of the facility. In fact, we are excited to watch records be set in events across the board at this yearâ€™s event.
We also understand that the venue at Baldwin Wallace is not as close to downtown Cleveland â€“ where exciting Senior Games related events will take place day and night â€“ as the venue at CWRU. However, it is important to note that athletes will have the option to stay in cost-effective dormitories on the Baldwin Wallace campus and RTA routes that connect Baldwin Wallace and downtown will be greatly amplified for the duration of the event.
This increase in routes will greatly reduce the travel time of athletes wishing to use public transportation to move between Baldwin Wallace and downtown Cleveland.
Once again, we took every aspect of the National Senior Games competition into account when making this decision.
Track and field is our largest sport and we know that these decisions affect many athletes. We are supremely confident that holding track and field at Baldwin Wallace will provide the best competition possible for all of our amazing athletes without significantly impacting their ability to experience everything that Cleveland has to offer when they are not setting records on the track.
Thank you for reaching out and please feel free to contact me if you have any other questions or concerns.
Look forward to seeing you in July!