This weekend, UW-La crosse is playing host to one of the state’s biggest athletic events. The 2015 Wisconsin Interscholastic Boys and Girls Track and Field Meet started this morning at UWL.
This year’s meet is bringing more than just athletes to La Crosse. Close to 20,000 people are expected to turn out at this year’s track and field meet. The three day event has been held at UWL for the past 26 years in a row and each year organizers try and make the event bigger and better.
Josh Buchholtz, Organizer/UWL Track and Field Coach: “We’re trying to make the best experience for these student athletes they can have for the spectators and put our best foot forward for our university and our community. Buchholtz says competition aside, the event brings the city an economic boost each year. “That’s something that each year we try to improve on and make it a better experience and maybe we get an opportunity to entice somebody to come back for a vacation or just to come check La Crosse out because they’d never been to La Crosse and maybe they want to come back down here.”
And with thousands of people attending the three day event, the city is expected to bring in close to $1.5 million this weekend.
Sean Gavigan of Prime Time Timing has been working at the event for the past several years. “It’s a huge economic impact as a whole. It’s obviously one of the largest championships that the WIAA has and to bring it here, it’s kind of a big undertaking and UWL does a great job with it.”
Tami Woods of the Radisson Hotel says each year it’s a guaranteed to be busy. “The teams are trying to re-book for the next year all the time. We’re in a downtown location so we’re really close to a lot of restaurants and being located right on the Mississippi River, it’s just a place for these athletes to come and relax and get ready for their competitions.
Buchholtz says the event also gives athletes the chance to experience UWLs campus first hand. “This may be the only time that this person comes to our facility or our community so we’ve got to make sure it’s the best opportunity for us to give them the best show that we can.”
Reporting: Fox 25/48’s Noelle Anderson