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Track Town: Des Moines, Drake host 2007 Midwest regional

May 31, 2006
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Drake President David Maxwell tells the Drake Relays crowd that the University and Des Moines will host the 2007 NCAA Midwest Regional Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Brooke Benschoter, director of marketing and communications, tries to keep Maxwel

Gray skies and rain failed to suppress this sunny news during the Drake Relays: Drake and Des Moines will host the 2007 NCAA Midwest Regional Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Drake President David Maxwell announced Saturday, April 29, during the rededication ceremony of Drake Stadium.

The championship, which draws as many as 1,100 athletes, is scheduled for May 25-26, 2007.

With rain pouring off an umbrella and wind tossing about his script, Maxwell grinned and looked into the faithful Relays crowd.

"It's coming," President Maxwell said. "Drake and Des Moines are truly the Midwest capital of track and field."

The meet's arrival at Drake and Des Moines put an exclamation point on the celebration of the newly revitalized Drake Stadium, which hosted the 97th running of the Drake Relays April 27-29. The 81-year-old building underwent a $15 million renovation that began last May and finished just hours before the first starter's pistol fired on Wednesday.

One of the motivating factors for the revitalization was attracting top track and field events to Des Moines. The NCAA awards track and field championships on a 14-year cycle, meaning Drake could host a regional meet and, later, a national championship twice within that period.

Combined with the annual Relays and the girls' and boys' Iowa state championships, revitalized Drake Stadium will generate as much as $300 million for the Des Moines-area over the next 14 years, estimates the Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"Des Moines and Drake joined together to rebuild Drake Stadium and together we will reap the benefits of this magnificent project," President Maxwell said. "Hosting this meet is a tribute not only to Drake University but to our city and state as well. We all take this victory lap together."