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Golden West Invitational Moves to Berkeley's Edwards Stadium

The high school track and field invitational will be held in Berkeley for the first time in June.

Golden West Invitational Moves to Berkeley's Edwards Stadium

From a Golden West Invitational press release:

The Golden West Invitational is sharing a new home with the Golden Bears.

The nationally acclaimed high school invitational, which had been held in the Sacramento area every spring since 1965, is setting up shop an hour and a half away in one of track and field’s most revered venues — Edwards Stadium on the UC Berkeley campus.

The 54th annual Golden West Invitational will be held June 8-9 in Berkeley.

This year’s event features an expanded two-day format that should provide added excitement to the longest-running prep classic in the United States.

The roster of GWI champions include such all-time greats as Jim Ryun, Tommie Smith, Stacy Dragila, Steve Prefontaine, Evelyn Ashford, Rod Milburn, Allyson Felix, Marion Jones, Dwight Stones and Mike Powell.

Last year’s GWI at Folsom High School featured a national high school record (193 feet, 11 inches) in the girls discus by Shelbi Vaughan of Mansfield, Texas. Vaughan’s throw represented the 22nd national prep record set at the GWI.

Dmitry Piterman, a Bay Area businessman who competed in the GWI before enjoying a successful collegiate career as a Cal triple jumper, is taking over the meet directorship from John Mansoor. Piterman is enthused about what the move will mean for both the GWI and Cal’s track program.

“We have one of the greatest facilities in the world here at Cal,” Piterman said.

“Bringing the Golden West Invitational to Edwards Stadium and the Bay Area should broaden the event’s appeal significantly. The meet format will offer all high school boys and girls an opportunity to compete while also showcasing the top athletes in the country. Our budget enables us to offer athletes and spectators the best of both worlds.”

GWI entrants who finished in the top three at the 2013 California state high school championships along with the top two athletes on the national list in each event will receive automatic placement in Sunday’s finals.

The top three state finishers will receive $250 each in travel compensation; the top two out-of-state performers on the national list will receive a travel compensation of $500 to attend the meet.

No entry standards are required for boys and girls to enter Saturday’s competition. Saturday’s top finishers will advance to Sunday’s finals.

The top three individuals in each of Sunday’s finals, along with the top three teams, will receive additional travel compensation.

Entry information, guidelines for the GWI team competition, and requests for travel compensation are available at www.goldenwestinvitational.org.

With sweeping views of the Berkeley Hills, Strawberry Canyon and the Golden Gate Bridge, Edwards Stadium an incomparable setting for a track meet.

Twenty-six world records and 26 American records have been set at Edwards since it opened in 1932 as the world’s first stadium built exclusively for track and field.

In 1966, one year after winning the mile and two mile at the Golden West Invitational in Sacramento, Ryun broke the world record in the mile, clocking 3 minutes, 51.3 seconds in the All-American Invitational at Edwards Stadium.

Edwards Stadium has played host to eight NCAA championship meets, a national AAU championship, and two United States-Soviet Union dual meets.

Since 1999, Edwards Stadium has also served as the home field for the Cal men’s and women’s soccer teams.

The official name of the facility is Edwards Stadium/Goldman Field. The track was recently resurfaced and reconfigured to meet international specifications.

Tony Sandoval, the director of Cal’s track and field program, is thrilled to have the Golden West Invitational coming to Berkeley.

“Having the Golden West Invitational in the Bay Area has been a dream of ours for a long time,” Sandoval said. “Edwards Stadium has a phenomenal history, and the Bay Area has a tremendous track tradition. I’m very excited.”

The Golden West Invitational began in 1960 in Los Angeles. The event moved north five years later and was held at various sites around the Sacramento region, including Hughes Stadium, Sacramento State, American River College and Folsom High School.

“I’m glad the Golden West is staying in the Pacific Association,” said Mansoor, who serves as executive director of the Pacific Association of USA Track & Field. “We’re looking forward to another 54 years of great high school performances.”

See www.goldenwestinvitational.org for additional information. 

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