PORTLAND, Ore. – It’s not often that high school athletes get a chance to compete alongside their heroes.
But that’s exactly what will happen for a total of 144 prep sprinters representing 36 teams from Oregon, Washington and Idaho at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016. The four-day meet will be held March 17-20 at the Oregon Convention Center.
This will be the first time in the 30-year history of the event that high school athletes have an opportunity to run on the same track as the world’s greatest track and field athletes. The high school sprinters will compete in a series of six 4×400-meter relay races built into the official meet schedule on the final three days of competition.
There will be two high school relays each day with six girls’ teams and six boys’ teams lining up on the 200-meter banked oval track to represent their respective schools. The 4×400-meter relay races are divided into three categories: small school (Class 1A-4A, Oregon), large school (Class 5A-6A, Oregon) and Invitational (Pacific Northwest).
The participating schools, days of competition and start times are as follows:
- Girls 5A/6A, Friday, 5:05 p.m. – Bend, Grants Pass, Lake Oswego, Newberg, Summit, Tigard.
- Boys 5A/6A, Friday, 5:18 p.m. – Churchill, Lakeridge, Lebanon, Marist, North Medford, Oregon City.
- Girls 1A/4A, Saturday, 6:10 p.m. – East Linn Christian Academy, Newport, Molalla, Phoenix, Siuslaw, Union.
- Boys 1A/4A, Saturday, 4:45 p.m. – Catlin Gabel, Cottage Grove, Crook County, Junction City, Regis, Union.
- Girls Invitational, Sunday, 12:15 p.m. – Central Catholic, Holy Names (WA), Mountain View (ID), Southridge, Sunset, Union (WA).
- Boys Invitational, Sunday, 12:25 p.m. – Camas (WA), McNary, Mountain View (ID), Tahoma (WA), Tigard, Sheldon.
The high school 4×400-meter relay teams were chosen by a special selection committee based on performances from the 2015 outdoor season and 2016 indoor season.
“One of the founding pillars of our organization is to inspire the next generation,” said Vin Lananna, president of TrackTown USA, the local organizing committee for the IAAF World Indoor Championships. “This is one of many youth initiatives we have planned for this meet, and for these high school kids, it doesn’t get much better than running on the same track as your heroes.”
Indeed. Just imagine the excitement for these young athletes as they arrive at the stadium, go through their warm-ups, receive their lane assignments, and then settle into the starting blocks on the same track as the world’s best runners, jumpers and throwers.
No matter what place they finish, it will be a moment they will never forget.