The CIF State Cross Country Championships started in Fresno and aren’t leaving anytime soon.
On the eve of this year’s meet, the CIF executive committee announced Friday a new six-year agreement that will keep the state cross country championships in Woodward Park through 2021.
Woodward Park has hosted the event every year since its inception in 1987.
“Woodward Park has been the home for the CIF State Cross Country Championships since the event began 29 years ago,” CIF State Executive Director Roger Blake said in a news release. “We are pleased that it will remain the site for the next six years as the Fresno and Clovis communities continue to be gracious hosts to all involved.”
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Held on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, the event draws nearly 2,000 of the state’s top high school runners as well as an estimated 10,000 fans and coaches. Fresno has become the permanent host thanks largely to its mid-state location and popular Woodward Park course.
“Over 1,200 hotel rooms will be occupied, restaurants will be filled with athletes and coaches, team vans will be filling up their gas tanks, and Fresno’s amazing Woodward Park will be enjoyed by many,” Fresno/Clovis Convention & Visitors Bureau President/CEO Layla Forstedt said.
The state meet features 10 races split into five divisions between boys and girls. All races are held on a 5,000-meter course featuring packed dirt trails mixed with grass and asphalt. The course is mostly rolling with one steep, short hill.
The Fresno-Clovis area is also home to the state high school championships in track and field and swimming and diving.
This year’s cross country event is Saturday with the first race beginning at 8:30 a.m. Admission to Woodward Park is $10 for adults and $5 for children, students and seniors.