Western hosting first track meet in 22 years

John Hurley

It hasn’t happened in 22 years, but this weekend Western will host the National City Track and Field Invitational, the first collegiate meet held on the Hill since April 1982.

Until now Western was unable to host a track meet due to inadequate facilities. The addition of high jump and pole vault pits along with new throwing facilities have finally made Western capable of such an event.

Sprinting and javelin tossing won’t be the only things going on this weekend at Smith Stadium. The track will be dedicated to Western graduate Charles Rueter. Rueter, a former basketball star on the Hill, has been active for the past 50 years in Western’s track and field program.

“He has made a huge contribution to track and field in Kentucky and the national level,” coach Curtiss Long said.

After working both as an announcer and official, Rueter will retire as the current head of USA track.

“Excellent track and field is coming to town,” Long said.

Long feels that the Hilltoppers are up against stiff competition from schools such as Cincinnati and Kentucky, both of which are from major conferences such as the Conference USA and the Southeastern Conference.

“I’m pleased with our team’s quality,” Long said.

Western’s men’s team finished third in the Sun Belt Conference Indoor Championships, the Lady Toppers finished fifth. Senior sprinter Jonathon Brown, junior thrower Raigo Toompuu and sophomore thrower Kristo Galeta have all qualified for the NCAA mideast regional championship meet.

“We’ve been very competitive lately and that’s what I want to see,” Long said.

Long said he believes that the sprints will be the key event for Western. However, the weights will also weigh heavily.

“We’re looking forward to this weekend,” senior distance runner Enda Grandfield said.

The Hilltoppers aren’t feeling much pressure from the fact that this is the first meet held at Western in 20 years.

Reach John Hurley at [email protected]