National Senior Games exec hoping for lots of records at new site

Meredith Scerba

Meredith Scerba

Meredith 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 — 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 summer’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 University’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 summer’s event to Baldwin Wallace University’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 year’s event.
We also understand that the venue at Baldwin Wallace is not as close to downtown Cleveland – where exciting Senior Games related events will take place day and night – 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!

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January 29, 2013

6 Responses

  1. Doug Thompson - January 30, 2013

    I grew up in Cleveland and have no concerns about the events being held at BW. It seems to me this is a better solution overall.

  2. Bill Tharpe - January 31, 2013

    I competed in the Masters T&F National Championships held at this same venue in the summer of 2011. I can’t speak about the field events, but I thought the track facilities including the track surface were good. Just outside the stadium there are grassy areas under tall shady trees with picnic table and places to lay out a towel or a blanket to rest. There are a few nice restaurants nearby. No, its not downtown Cleveland, but the big city is really not that far away. Perhaps using the RTA will beat driving to downtown anyway.

  3. Jerry Bookin-Weiner - February 2, 2013

    I will be curious to see what is done to make it possible not to have to shuttle people to the remote venue for the hammer throw. If they plan to use the discus circle they would need to install a proper hammer/discus cage there to replace the current cage which is inadequate for the hammer. If they plan to use the same field for the hammer that was used when the Masters Outdoor T/F Championships were there, one wonders how they will address the issues with the field itself, which is not flat and resulted in records being disallowed. There also were issues with the circle itself. The insert they were using to convert the circle, which is a discus circle, into a hammer circle did not fit properly.

    So, how exactly are those issues being addressed??

  4. Jerry Bookin-Weiner - February 3, 2013

    I see now that they are planning to flatten out the hammer field. Good. That still leaves the problem with the circle itself (which can be solved by pouring a new one. And another problem — hammer throwers who compete in other events. One thinks of people like Mary Hartzler and Bob Ousterhoudt, among others.

  5. Mike Fanelli - February 3, 2013

    Am entered in 800/1500 and will schlep out there from downtown Cleveland…one reason I committed to this meet vs USATF was because I’d prefer hangin’ in a real city …and one with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…rather than Olathe, KS …best known for a gal named Dorothy 😉

  6. Jerry Bookin-Weiner - February 4, 2013

    For the record, Olathe, KS is a suburb of Kansas City…best known as far more than a gal named Dorothy. There’s the National Negro League Museum for baseball fans and the Jazz Museum for music afficionados. KC is a great town with great restaurants and just as close to Olathe as Cleveland is to Berea.

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