Welcome Stadium to host state high school track meet in May for first time in 20 years

Track meet will be held in May 31 and June 1.



For the first time in 20 years, Welcome Stadium is set to host the Ohio High School Athletics Association’s state track and field championship that begins in late May.

Members of the Dayton Public School Board of Education voted Tuesday unanimously to approve a contract with OHSAA. Welcome Stadium recently underwent a $30 million renovation.

The state track and field event will be held May 31 and June 1. The contract shows DPS will be paid roughly $60,000 for hosting the meet.

DPS board members and interim superintendent David Lawrence touted those recent renovations and said they were extremely excited for the impact this would have on the Dayton region during comments at Tuesday’s meeting.

Lawrence thanked Victoria Jones, DPS chief of athletics, for her work on getting the state track meet moved to Dayton.

“I’m ready for OHSAA to use our stadium,” Lawrence said. “15,000 people per day. It’s going to be exciting.”

Board member Will Smith said the event will add to revenue for many businesses in Dayton.

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

“This is a far, far, far, far, far step away from where this district was,” Smith said, referring to a 2017 decision to fine Dayton Public Schools $10,000 and place all its boys and girls sports teams on probation for three years after former director of athletics Mark Baker was accused of telling Dunbar High School’s football team to lose to Belmont in a 2017 football game so both teams could qualify for the state playoffs.

“We’re talking about a district that was on probation from the state, and a district that the state wouldn’t even give us a scrimmage anywhere,” Smith said.

Board member Karen Wick-Gagnet called the contract “super exciting.”

“We’d better get our concession sales,” she said. “We’re really going to go. Let’s go.”

OHSAA said they planned to make an official announcement on where the track meet will be on Monday.

In 1998, the state championships were moved to Welcome Stadium due to construction at Ohio Stadium, where the meet had been held prior to that year, according to Dayton Daily News stories at the time. The last time the meet was held in Dayton was 2003. The meets later moved to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus beginning in 2004.

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

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