The year without track at Hayward Field continues.
The annual Prefontaine Classic track meet in Eugene will instead take place in California this year as Hayward undergoes a major rebuild. Race officials selected Stanford University’s Cobb Track and Angell Field for the 2019 meet.
Race officials had considered other locations in Oregon, including Lane Community College in Eugene, Lewis & Clark College in Portland, and Mount Hood Community College in Gresham.
“My personal first choice and what we tried to make work was Lane Community College in Eugene,” said meet director Tom Jordan.
But LCC’s track facilities lack adequate seating, a press box and television broadcast infrastructure needed to host a meet like the Pre Classic. The meet is broadcast live on NBC’s family of networks. Jordan said making the necessary upgrades to LCC would have cost about $500,000 more than hosting the meet at Hayward did.
Even if they did make the upgrades to LCC, Jordan said, there was “no opportunity to beta test them all.”
According to its website, Stanford’s track facility has just over 1,700 seats — far fewer than the 10,000 capacity of Historic Hayward Field before it was leveled last summer. Jordan said several thousand seats will be added at Stanford to accommodate up to 8,000 spectators.
The new Hayward Field is being rebuilt to host the IAAF World Championships in track and field in 2021 and is set to open in spring 2020. That venue will be expandable to hold as many as 30,000.
The 2019 Pre Classic will take place on Sunday, June 30. The event is funded by Nike and organized by the Oregon Track Club.