Lawrence community able to host track event originally scheduled for Joplin

Lawrence will be hosting two track-and-field events in the coming weeks that are expected to draw a total of 2,800 athletes and 5,700 spectators.

“You will be able to see some of the best young athletes in this area compete on consecutive weekends,” said Bob Sanner, sports marketing manager for the Lawrence Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The AAU Area 11 Junior Olympic National Games qualifying meet will be June 30-July 3 at Lawrence High School and Kansas University’s Memorial Stadium.

The event originally was scheduled to be in Joplin, Mo., which was devastated by a tornado on May 23. The event is expected to draw up to 1,800 athletes and 2,700 spectators.

Sanner said making the arrangements to host the event was a “major undertaking.” He said Kansas Athletics and the Lawrence School District were able to respond quickly.

“It was a great community effort,” he said.

The following weekend — July 7-10 — the city will be hosting the USATF Missouri Valley Junior Olympic Trials Region 16 Championship. The top five athletes in each track-and-field event will qualify for the championship.

Sanner said the event is expected to bring 1,000 participants and 3,000 spectators.