The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association agreed to five-year contracts with the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Explore La Crosse to host the State Track and Field Championships in La Crosse through 2026.
“On behalf of the 516 schools in the membership, the WIAA extends gratitude for the generous support of Explore La Crosse and the supporting community, in welcoming this event to Roger Harring Stadium at Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex at UW-La Crosse for the next five years,” Executive Director Stephanie Hauser said. “The outstanding track and field facility, as well as the support of the community and the university, make this the greatest of experiences for all who take part – student-athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and spectators.”
The agreement with UW-La Crosse provides the WIAA usage of the entire Roger Harring Stadium at Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex as well as Mitchell Hall; and, starting in 2023, the Fieldhouse during the State Meet. Roger Harring Stadium at Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex was opened in 2008 and seats 9,556 with additional seating and standing room for the State Track & Field Championships.
The cooperative efforts of UW-La Crosse, Explore La Crosse and corporate sponsor partnerships with local businesses have contributed to recognizing La Crosse as the premier destination and location for the State Track & Field Championships.
“UW-La Crosse is very pleased to carry on its 32-year partnership with the WIAA and continue serving as the host site for the State Track Meet,” UWL Chancellor Joe Gow said. “It’s a tremendous event that showcases the outstanding hospitality of the La Crosse community. UWL would especially like to recognize the efforts of Explore La Crosse and the local business community which were instrumental in keeping the State Track Meet in La Crosse for years to come.”
The State Track & Field Championships have been held at Roger Harring Stadium at Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex on the campus of UW-La Crosse since 1990, with the exception of 2020 when the event was canceled amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The championships have grown in stature since moving from Madison in 1990.
Held traditionally the last weekend in May or the first weekend in June, the State Meet has attracted an average attendance of 15,732 throughout the 31 years in La Crosse, including an average of 21,000 in the five years prior to the pandemic. The projected annual economic impact of the State Meet in the La Crosse area is approximately $4 million.
“Explore La Crosse is extremely proud to have helped facilitate this long-term agreement and secure the event for our area for years to come,” said A.J. Frels, Executive Director of Explore La Crosse. “I honestly cannot say thank you enough to those corporate sponsors, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and the WIAA for working with us and making this agreement come to fruition.
“We are truly blessed to have so many great champion companies and organizations located in our communities,” he added. “They combined to create a regional effort to help ensure the La Crosse region retains this signature event and its enormous economic impact on the tourism industry in our area.”
The Track & Field Tournament Series begins with regional meets scheduled Monday, May 23, and continues with sectional meets Thursday, May 26. The State Meet is scheduled for Friday-Saturday, June 3-4.
The WIAA, as defined by its Constitution, is a voluntary, unincorporated, and nonprofit organization. The membership oversees interscholastic athletic programs for 516 senior high schools and 45 junior high/middle level schools in its membership.