EUGENE, Ore. -- The Prefontaine Classic--what organizers call "the nation's premier track and field meet"--kicked off tonight in what will likely be the last "Pre" before Hayward Field is torn down.
The pro event goes all the way back to 1973 when it was a fundraiser to replace the west grandstand. It was named after legendary runner Steve Prefontaine who died in a car crash in Eugene at the end of May 1975.
The first Prefontaine Classic was held six days after his death.
Fans we spoke with tonight said the new stadium will be a good venue for future Pre classics.
"As long as we keep the structural integrity of whatever people hold close to their hearts, I think that'll be great," Payten Marshall, an Olympic hopeful, said.
"I've seen some of the renderings...so it's gonna look pretty sweet," Max Toenjes, a student at UO, said. "I think it's about time for a little upgrade. I think it's coming at a pretty good time. I'm excited."
Officials say construction on the new stadium will begin this summer.