For track and field enthusiasts, NCC will be the place to be March 10 and 11 when it hosts the NCAA Division III Track and Field Indoor National Championships in the Residence Hall/Recreation Center.
In order to host a NCAA athletic event, the athletic director has to put in a bid, but this wasn’t the case with this particular event.
“In order to put a bid in for national championships, you have to put a bid in around three years in advance,” says Athletic Director James Miller. “Ironically, we didn’t put a bid in for this year. The NCAA called me, and they were OK with the schools that did bid, but they had a lot of great comments about what a great championship it was here, so they asked me to put a bid in even though it was after the deadline.”
Hosting this meet is a lot of work, but experience is on the athletic department’s side.
“We’re in pretty good shape right now,” says Miller. “Having done it in 2013, we know what the NCAA is expecting. Knowing a template ahead of time is helpful and definitely eases the anxiety and stress level.”
Since this is a national championship, there will be some differences compared to regular home meets. “Every meet we host we have to follow NCAA rules, so the rules don’t change,” says Miller. “It’s the flow of the meet that changes. We’ll have merchandise sales on the second floor, we’ll have a lot of volunteers and security, a video board that has the results and it’s going to be filmed live and broadcasted for the NCAA.”
Res/Rec will likely be packed, so the upper-level track will not be used for warmups. “Normally at track meets, the upper-level track can be used to warm up on,” says Miller. “For this meet, we have that for spectators, media and working personnel.”
The student-athletes will warm up for their events next door instead. “We have the ability to use Merner (Field House) as a staging and warm-up area for the student-athletes,” says Miller.
Miller says there will also be a tunnel connecting Merner to the garage by the fitness center in Res/Rec for the student-athletes to get to the track.
Hosting this meet will also have effects on businesses in Naperville. “We know that the Naperville businesses and hotels downtown are excited,” says Miller. “Hotels are sold out, so they’re thrilled. There’s definitely a domino effect by being able to host the event.”