Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium to host 2,500 athletes over the next few weeks
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium at Myrtle Beach High School will host 2,500 athletes from 80 colleges representing 23 different states over the next few weeks for three track and field events.
The two-day Myrtle Beach Collegiate Challenge started Friday morning to kick off the first collegiate outdoor track and field meet of the season.
Doug Shaw has been home to this collegiate meet for years as the city works to maximize the stadium’s use.
“Lots of team accommodation options for teams this time of year for teams to choose from,” said Myrtle Beach Sports Tourism Director Tim Huber. “Obviously the facility and the ability for the college teams to get out and train during the day. We offer training from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day.”
It takes a whole year to plan and recruit for this event. The selling point is this track is only 1,000 meters from the ocean, but there’s much more the stadium has to offer when it comes to hosting this event.
“The proximity to stay so close to the facility and in such a great area, that’s huge,” said Meet Director Jeff Jacobs. “And then the facility itself. We’ve got a video board. We got all the electronics. We have a facility where we can go in either direction for winds without pits. So we can accommodate a whole lot of events at the same time.”
John Papa, the head track and field coach at Slippery Rock University in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, brought his team to this meet for the past five years. This year he brought 80 athletes to compete both this weekend and next.
“We practice a couple times a day, but the athletes have several hours,” said Papa. “They go out to eat with each other. You know, our boardwalk hotel we’re staying at is right on the beach so you walk out the door and there’s the beach.”
There are lots of talented athletes from across the county competing this weekend, but most of the buzz was about an athlete from the Palmetto State.
Alina McDonald out of Rock Hill, South Carolina is a Winthrop University alum and went to the Olympic Trials in women’s pole vault last year.
“She’s currently number four in the U.S.,” said her coach Brian Riggs. “Number 11 in the world so, when you perform that’s what gets you on the list.”
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