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ZipsVoice

Outdoor Track and Field

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So, the outdoor season got off to a great start down in Teh-Has, with Jordan Latimer (LJ) picking up where he left off indoors, and Lucy Bryan did as well (PV), and Curtis Richardson High Jumped over 7’ 2” for a PR.  Beam threw javelin great, and they compete in Texas again this weekend...still nothing posted on first home meet....but evidently the athletes aren’t phased by the broo-ha-ha...or if they are they’re “rising above”...

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Had some doughnuts and coffee and watched a little of the football scrimmage on a beautiful morning, then wandered over the Lee Jackson, as the throwing events for the pieced-together NEO Quad track meet was underway.  At YSU Friday on a crappy day, there were some okay performances by the looks of things, but talking to some of the runners and jumpers who were there yesterday to cheer on their throwing teammates, there's a real "downness" to their psyche.  There's a lot of young talent coming up, like Nuh Andu in the HJ, Eldesouky in the LJ and TJ.  Some nice young throwers as well.  Coaches are really trying to keep things positive it seems, and the fact they were able to pull off this weekend says a lot.  Then I wandered over nd watched  little of the soccer match, and it struck me how, between InfoCision and FES-CCF sits this decaying facility where it seems no one in power at UA gives a hoot about.  No wonder these men and women are a little disheartened.  I did see Larry Williams on the track talking to coach Mitchell, which was a small positive for the day, other than the outcomes of the events.

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Zips T & F soldiers on...out west at Mt. St. Mary's Tevin Brown breaks school record in the 10,000 meter and Mackenzie Andrews sets new school record in the steeplechase!  It's been a while since we've had strength in the long distances....way to go Tev and Mack!

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The West Coast is doing wonders for the Zips track athletes, as Hesham Eldesouky breaks the school record in the triple jump!  This has been a nice swing the last week and still wondering if we'll see the Zippers at home for their traditional Campbell/Wright Invitational, somewhere in Northeast Ohio!  Maybe a twin outdoor MAC Championship would convince the school to do something with the track, but with the railing falling off Infocision, I don't see that happening.....But way to go Zips Track!

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Making Lemonade out of lemons....that's what the coaching staff and athletic department did this past week, cobbling together the best alternative to not holding the Campbell/Wright Invitational track meet, and also Senior Day.  So Friday May 3rd the jav and hammer throwers will be at Lee Jackson at 1:30 pm to start things off.  Then on Saturday May 4th the crew head to Walsh Jesuit High School in Cuyahoga Falls to compete the running events from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., then head back to Lee Jackson for a 2:30 p.m. start of the pole vault, high jump, long jump, triple jump, discus and shot....plus they'll honor the seniors on the team and their parents for Senior Day.  Not ideal, but no one thoughts we'd see any track and field this season outdoors, and somehow they managed to pull off both the NEO Quad and this one....Now hold your breath to see what the University does with or for T & F.

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More school records fell last week, with Lucy Bryan breaking the school and the MAC record at LSU in the women's pole vault, the third best vault in the nation so far.  Iam Behm breaks the school record and wins the Jessie Owens in the Javelin.  Meanwhile Jordan Lattimore and Matt Ludwig each have the sixth best performance in the nation in long jump and pole vault....wake up Uof A Admin....national caliber athletes, national caliber coaching staff, national rankings...no outdoor facilities.....do the right thing and invest inthis program and facilites, and done right it can be either revenue neutral or revenue positive.

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ZV, can you provide some details on how UA can "do things right" so that track and field can become "revenue neutral or revenue positive"?

To partially assist you in your effort, I have listed below all D1 T&F programs that generate a profit.

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If you spent the money on replacing the existing track surface and runways for jumps, added a decent locker room facility for the athletes, added some inexpensive bleachers in the throw areas for spectators to get closer to the action, and added a decent sound system you could not only host the two regular season meets, where teams pay to enter by the way, but you could also offer the facility to outside use for a fee.  There is only one track at Ellet that can host a decent dual meet in the Akron City Series, so the Akron City Schools would be hungry to have their events at Lee Jackson for a fee.  With a nicer facility either the NEO Quad or the Campbell/Wright could be more attractive to more teams and more entry fees.  Hosting OHSAA Districts and Regionals as well as hosting high-caliber high school invitationals, would also be options to pursue with a newer facility and would generate revenue as well.  Of course with a nicer facility we could attract more MAC Championship meets.  There is a constant need for track facilities for CYO, AAU and Senior Olympic events, all at fees to be paid.  We hosted the track and field events for the Gay Games a few years back.  Of course with all of these events, wear and tear would occur, hence my thought that "revenue neutral" would allow to re-invest in the facility.  Maybe I should have specified the facility would be revenue positive or neutral, but according to a letter Coach Mitchell put together to alumni recently regarding the situation, he stated: 

"Our program has had a remarkable elite rise in the sport. It is respected nation and worldwide. Along with that rise, the program meets every positive metric of excellence you would want to have in a university sports program. There are so many of you that contributed to these accomplishments.

• Conference titles ( 30 Team Championships)

• National accolades (6 National Champs/115 All-America honors/11 top 25, 2 top 10 team finishes)

• International prominence (World Champ, Olympic Medalist, 3 Olympians)

• Community involvement ( Worked with Metro Parks to build a cross country only park)

• Spectator interest (We put people in the stands with spectator friendly meets)

• Diversity (the most variety of ethnicity and race of any sports program on campus)

• Gender opportunities (largest female sport)

• Academic success (49 athletes on the Dean’s List in the last year)

• Ohio student opportunities (Most Ohio residence of all teams on campus)

The program brings in more revenue than it spends."

 

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I'm with Zips Voice on this one. This program can easily be expense neutral. With the rental we could get from the facility plus the revenue generated by attendance at key meets plus the positive impact T&F has on enrollment, this program is extremely valuable to U of A. I had lunch with a prominent head coach this winter. During the meal I commented that I couldn't figure out why we added W LAX when all programs were fighting for budget dollars. He said LAX would not hurt his or any other program. It would cover its cost by boosting enrollment thru getting athletes who wanted to play here, generate donations from supporters and enhance our reputation. Costs would not get out of control. T & F is similar in that many athletes come to Akron to be part of this program while getting little aid. Most get academic aid since the scholarship money is limited. The program helps enrollment thru the athletes it draws let alone the impact it has on our reputation.

 

I was on campus two years ago for the spring football game, a night soccer game and the Akron Quad T & F meet, all on the same day. I enjoyed the quad most of all. It was well attended with hundreds of people in the stands. With a little bit of marketing and better fan amenities a few targeted meets could draw quite well. The Akron public appreciates good T &  F. Mitchell is building something special here and all we need do is get out of his way and let him work miracles with the limited budget he has. Building and maintaining a superior T & F facility is well worth it and will not drain the athletic dept budget.   

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On 5/7/2019 at 1:15 PM, 72 Roo said:

I'm with Zips Voice on this one.With a little bit of marketing and better fan amenities a few targeted meets could draw quite well. 

 

Those amenities could be shared with the ball parks and soccer field. Having everything clustered on campus opens a lot of opportunities to make the events a destination, where they would be in place for track, softball, soccer, and baseball. Decent rest rooms. What about a place for food trucks? Maybe place things to do near the entrance of the Team Shop. Draw more people into there. 

 

Most minor league baseball fans don't care whether the team is AA, A, independent league. Or what those mean. They go for an affordable day outside at a decent facility with a choice of foods. And maybe one day being able to say "I saw them play back when...".  Schedule several games/events at once to make it worthwhile. Charge admission to ball games. IMO that would help attendance. 

 

Make it more "something to do" than going to watch a game or event. 

Edited by Spin
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Thursday and Friday in Muncie were pretty good days for the Zips track programs.  Going into Saturday's final day Akron already has a Champion in Ian Behm in the javelin, and another with Lucy Bryan capturing the pole vault title, while Abby Helminiak and Eboni Hall placed 2nd and 5th.  Unknown freshman Laurelk Bristow got the Zips a 5th in women's jav.  Three Zips took home points in the Decathlon, with Brandon Hochbein a surprise silver medalist, while Kamar Majid and Malik Hudson each earned points as 3rd and 5th.  Then HUGE win for Sarah Foster in the Heptathlon, a welcome surprise here.  No surprise than Jordan Lattimer blew everyone away with the win in the long jump and Hesham Eldesouky finishing 5th.  Abby Wilson was 2nd in the shot whie Olivia Snyder was 6th, and then McKenzie Andrews and Haley Hess take first and second in the steeplechase, while Nick Stricken gave the men a 4th in the event.  Tevin Brown, who surprised in the Indoors with a win, was a beast outdoors in giving the Zips the 10,000 meter title, can't remember the last time if ever we won that event.  So Kent State leads the men with 61 points while Akron has 56, and Akron leads the women with 68 to Central Michigan's 56 coming into today.

 

We should do well in men's pole vault and high jump, and possibly triple jump with Hesham.  The women should score points in high jump.  We've got Marc Migliopzi and Andre Godbott in the 1500, with Leah Recker and Lindsay Scarton joining Andrews in the women's finals.  Dara Perry has fastest time in the 100 hurdles and Victoria Abunaw joins her in the finals.  Jace Roundtree and Patrick Kimball are in the finals of the 110 hurdles.  Noah Williams qualified for the men's 400 finals.  Demetrius Jackson and Malcolm Briley, both freshmen, qualified for the men's 100.  Dimitra Gnafaki is in the 400 hurdle finals for women, Garett Wright, another freshman and Dylan Hochbein are in the men's event.  Amir Willis, freshman is the #2 seed in the 200.  And we should do well in the 5k with McKenzie and Tevin, and hope our relay teams can score points.  Should be a fun day in Indiana.  Go Zips!!!

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Cole Wigal and Matt Ludwig go 1-2 in PV and we're up over 30 points on the mens side - start the buses, and we're comfortable on the womens side after Abby Wilson won the discus.  Not bad for Ludwig, since he was on crutches after the Campbell/Wright....

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