The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) has declared that the 2024 track and field state tournament will find its home at Welcome Stadium in Dayton. This announcement comes as the Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at The Ohio State University is set to undergo a track replacement project, scheduled from May to September.
The historical significance of Welcome Stadium hosting the OHSAA track and field state tournament is not lost, as it previously held this prestigious event from 1999 to 2003 after the track was relocated from Ohio Stadium in Columbus. Dayton Public Schools recently concluded a substantial $34 million renovation project at Welcome Stadium, encompassing a new track, football field, press box, concourse, and locker rooms.
Excitement permeates the community and the school district as Dayton gears up to welcome athletes and spectators to its newly revamped facility. Dr. David Lawrence, Interim Superintendent of Dayton Public Schools, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “We are excited and honored to be hosting the 2024 State Track Tournament at Welcome Stadium. The district and community have invested a lot into the stadium renovation project, and it is rewarding to now be hosting a state tournament as a result of those efforts.”
The upcoming track and field state tournament, scheduled for May 31 and June 1, 2024, will mark a temporary shift from the accustomed venue, Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The latter, located at The Ohio State University, will undergo a track replacement that will extend over several months, paving the way for a rejuvenated sporting facility.
Dayton’s successful bid to host the event was facilitated by the recent renovations at Welcome Stadium. Doug Ute, OHSAA Executive Director, commended the efforts, stating, “We are very impressed with the renovations at Welcome Stadium. It’s great to see what Dayton Public Schools has done to the facility, and they were very excited right away when we called.”
Reflecting on Ohio State’s situation, Mike Penner, Executive Associate Athletics Director for Internal Operations, explained, “We, at Ohio State, are moving forward with a complete track replacement at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Construction will take place from May to September 2024. Unfortunately, we will not be able to host the 2024 State Track Meet, but we look forward to hosting again in 2025 and beyond.”
As Welcome Stadium takes the spotlight in 2024, more details, including event schedules and meet management specifics, are expected to be released at a later date. The track and field state tournament will return to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in 2025 and 2026 as part of the existing three-year contract, reaffirming its legacy as a cornerstone venue for this esteemed competition.