Adult track and field athletes will have the opportunity this summer to compete for a New York state championship.
The Empire State Track and Field Classic is slated for July 24 at SUNY Cortland, and plans to crown the top New York State USA Track and Field athletes from around the state.
“Everybody’s been extremely positive about this,” meet director and former Union College track coach Russ Ebbets said earlier this week.
Ebbets coached at Union College from 1981 to 1988 before leaving the area and attending New York Chiropractic College. He has a private practice, the Spine Doctor, in Union Springs in western New York.
The inaugural Empire State Track and Field Classic has eight running events and four field events planned.
Competitors, 19 years old and up, will have to finish in the top three at their respective association championships in the Adirondack, Long Island, New York City and Niagara regions to qualify.
“We want to try and grow the associations, and this is how we’re going to get our membership up,” Ebbets said. “The more members we have, the more services that we can provide to the members.
“Hopefully, we create a positive situation for everyone and be a better service to every corner of the athletic community within the state.”
Qualifying meet dates are not yet announced. Ebbets said they would likely be held three to four weeks prior to the Empire State Track and Field Classic.
Ebbets appreciates brevity in the running of a track meet, and expects this summer’s meet to keep to its schedule.
“There won’t be much dead time,” Ebbets said.
The event has partnered with the Cortland Regional Sports Council and secured the SUNY Cortland campus for the event with an eye on the future.
“If this goes well, we’d like to have a junior meet next year,” Ebbets said.
Ebbets acknowledged that the current athletic landscape in New York is uncertain.
“I think we’re going to make it go,” Ebbets said. “COVID is the big thing that we’re worried about, but we’re still planning, and we’ll have everything set.
“If for some reason we had to cancel this summer, we’ll go next summer. We’d have everything in place.”