The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors approved a recommendation to extend the IHSA Track & Field State Final hosting contract at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston at their regularly scheduled meeting at the IHSA offices in Bloomington on Tuesday, April 18, 2017.
The contract extension, which will keep the Girls and Boys State Final Meets at O’Brien Field for an additional five years, runs from 2018 through 2022.
“Eastern Illinois is excited to continue to serve as the host for the IHSA Boy’s and Girl’s State Track & Field Championships,” said EIU Athletic Director Tom Michael. “This state championship has been a vital part of the community for more than 40 years. This is a great way to show off Eastern Illinois University to thousands of people for two great weekends of competition. In partnership with other units on campus, EIU Athletics looks forward to continuing this long-standing May event at O’Brien Field.”
O’Brien Field first hosted the boys’ state meet in 1972, due to a scheduling conflict at the University of Illinois’ Memorial Stadium. The meet returned to Memorial Stadium in Champaign in 1973, before EIU took it on again in 1974, where it has remained ever since. EIU is also the only home the girls’ state meet has ever known, as it debuted there with the inaugural finals in 1973.
“Eastern Illinois University is synonymous with Illinois high school track & field,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “We enjoy a great partnership with EIU and the surrounding communities of Charleston and Mattoon. They provide amazing support for the event, and we are proud that another generation of IHSA track & field student-athletes wills strive to compete at O’Brien Field on the final weekend of the season.”