February 25, 2021 (Jackson, Miss.) - Construction on the Belhaven University Track and Field is now complete, and student athletes can now train and compete on the state-of-the-art, eight-lane track complex. Located on the north side of campus, the new facility extends from the Bitsy Irby building to the Belhaven Lake.
Vice President for University Enrollment and Marketing Dr. Kevin Russell said, The completion of the new track and field opens up many more opportunities for our student athletes.When you combine our new facilities with our well-known academic reputation you create a great option for serious competitors. We look forward to watching our track, field, and cross-country programs benefit and grow!
The track has a synthetic all-weather running surface, similar to those of past Olympic games. Belhaven Blazers can now compete in 21 collegiate track and field events. Sprints, hurdles, steeple chase, middle and long-distance races, relays, long jump, triple jump, high jump, and pole-vault will take place on campus. Belhaven's Softball complex on Riverside Drive will accommodate other field events that include discus, hammer, and javelin throw as well as combined events such as decathlons and heptathlons.
Constructing a track from the ground up is a huge undertaking, said LaRon Bennett Jr. Director of Track and Field/Cross Country. There are so many moving parts that all have timing windows: from surveying of the land, to the digging of the area, to filling back in of the dirt and lime, to letting that set for weeks, to pouring and leveling of asphalt and letting that set, then to the pouring and leveling of the rubber track surface, to the striping and marking of the surface. To note, all of these were dependent on the weather cooperating.
A number of unforeseen obstacles changed the completion date and caused multiple delays. Our challenges completing the track were wet weather and soil, which are nosurprise for us inCentral Mississippi, said Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Little.While it did take longer than we planned, we are all very pleasedwith the outcome. The team is excited about using the new facility, and that is what makes me the happiest. Even our students who aren'tstudent-athletes get to use the facility, so itenhances campus life for everyone.
While waiting on the facility to be completed, the track and field team made significant milestones as top competitors. Bennett said, The team has been anxiously waiting for this completed project for years and I was most happy for them when they finally got the chance to run on it and they loved it. They have had many success and records over the past two seasons without a consistent track to train on, so with a track to now call their own, we are expecting much more.
Little explained they would rather not start a sport without thefacilities to support it, but that decision proved beneficial.Several of Belhaven's student-athletes havealreadyposted nationally ranked times and distances in their indoor season which began in January.
Belhaven's track and field is a top facility and because of its uniqueness, it is a premier location for hosting state, district, and national meets for both high schools and colleges. In fact, Belhaven University is hosting the ASC Championship, April 29 - May 1.
Bennett added, We are thrilled to host the ASC Championship. When you dream ofbuilding a facility like this, that's thepicture you have in your mind's eye. In less than threemonths that dream will be reality. Competitors atthat event willobviously compete for conferencechampionships but also have the opportunity to set marks that can qualify them for the NCAA NationalChampionships. Those are thetargets inall of our competition.
Belhaven's first official home track and field event will be April 16-17. The University will host 5-6 schools in the surrounding areas.