EUGENE, Ore. — Athletes from across the country are making their way to Eugene this week for the NCAA Track and Field Championships, which begin Wednesday.
The championships draw large crowds and hundreds of athletes. Travel Lane County says when people are staying hotels, eating at restaurants and just checking out the town, they boost our economy.
“This is traditionally an event that does bring in significant numbers of people, and significant impacts outside of an olympic trials event,” said Lisa Lawton, Travel Lane County Director of Community Relations.
Travel Lane County expects the championship to bring in about $6.4 million. It doesn’t start until Wednesday, but athletes, coaches and fans are already pouring into Eugene to prepare for the competition.
“Cornell, Dartmouth, North Carolina, Washington, San Diego State, UTEP–I mean, you hit every corner of the country,” said Sam Seemes, U.S. Track & Field & Cross Country Coaches Association CEO.
The hotels are filling up fast too.
“We have a few rooms here and there but most of the major hotels are pretty well full. But again we’re tracking cancellations and occasionally rooms blocks will open up,” Dawton said.
Travel Lane County is prepared to showcase the area and plans to set up booths in some of the hotels.
For some athletes, the Pacific Northwest is a nice change of scenery.
Lubbock is kind of a flat dry desert, so when you get up here it’s definitely a change, but it’s a neat experience,” said Joshua Weldon, Texas Tech thrower.
“I get excited when I think about it. And I mean, being my first time being here, I know I just want to get on the track and show my tail,” said James Harris, Florida State three-event athlete.
“Since it’s Track Town, I guess it’s going to be a really exciting meet. Everybody’s going to be there watching, so that’s kind of nerve wracking as well,” said Cierra White, Texas Tech sprinter.
And most have one goal in mind.
“Get first of course, of course. Big throws. Have a great competition, hope everybody the best but oh yeah main goal is definitely to win,” Weldon said.
Travel Lane County says some teams even stay after the competition to sight see around Eugene, and that only helps boost the economy even more.