JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem will once again be the place high school athletes flock to in February.
The facility announced earlier this week via Twitter that the NCHSAA will hold its indoor track and field championships at the site through 2022.
It’s not a new partnership, just an extension according to Craig Longhurst, the facility manager. The 200-meter flat track has been the home for the championships since 2013.
In previous years, the meet was held at Eddie Smith Field House, which incorporates the indoor practice facility for the North Carolina football team and a 200-meter Mondo track.
In 2011, the association held a “polar bear” championship, which is a meet held outdoors during the indoor season, on a 400-meter track in Fayetteville while Kenan Memorial Stadium was undergoing renovations that made the field house unavailable.
Longhurst doesn’t foresee the facility’s relationship with the association ending anytime soon.
“I can’t remember at what point they came and did a site visit, but we were quickly able to secure that contract with them based on the seating that we have, our restroom facilities are greater than what they have at UNC-Chapel Hill and on-site parking,” Longhurst said. “Those were kind of the three things that we pitched to them, so it’s been a great relationship ever since.
“So, unless somebody builds another facility in the state, I don’t see them leaving.”
According to Longhurst, the NCHSAA struck an initial one-year agreement with JDL Fast Track for use during the first winter season. The association later expanded into two three-year extensions.
The last one expired after the 2019 championship. Longhurst said, from his understanding, three-year deals are the longest the NCHSAA is able or willing to sign.
The event has been at the facility as long as the Camel City Elite, which is an annual race revered by many professional runners as having developed into one of the premier indoor meets in the country. This season, it offered more than $75,000 in prize money for top finishers in the men’s and women’s 800-meter, mile and 3000-meter races.
The site also serves as host for various high school teams competing across Northwest North Carolina.
The Western Piedmont Athletic 2-A and Northwest 1-A conference championships were held there during the indoor season. JDL Fast Track was also the site of the USATF Indoor Track & Field Masters Championships this year for only the second time in a decade.
The NCHSAA’s extension means D.J. Moyer of Reagan can stay close to home when he competes in his final indoor season next year.
“Everyone around the state is so familiar with it,” said Moyer, who won the 60-meter dash at the Mondo High School Invitational held at the track in January. “We could hold a state championship at any college, but it’s better — it’s unique to anybody.”