MB gets 2014 USATF Junior Olympic XC championships

USA Track and Field (USATF) officials have announced that Myrtle Beach will host the 2014 Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships, making the destination one of only three cities in the nation hosting events for the 2014 youth championships.

The 2014 event will be held at Whispering Pines Golf Course on Saturday, December 13, 2014.

This will be the third national championship event hosted in Myrtle Beach in recent years.  Officials attribute securing the event to the strong partnership and collaboration of the South Carolina USATF Association, city of Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Junior Olympic Cross Country Championship was first held in Myrtle Beach in 2011.

“USATF is delighted to bring the 2014 Junior Olympic Cross Country Championship back to Myrtle Beach in 2014,” said USATF National Youth Chair Lionel Leach.  This will be our third national championship event there, and we have been impressed each time by the beauty and hospitality of the community, and by Mayor Rhodes’ personal commitment to produce a quality event.  We are looking forward to a great 2014 Cross Country Championshipin Myrtle Beach.”

In 2011, 2,300 athletes from 46 states participated in the National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championship held in Myrtle Beach.  Officialsestimate it delivered considerable economic impact, generating $2.1 million in direct visitor spending locally. The event rotates around the country, and 2014 was the next eligible year for Myrtle Beach to again host the championship.USATF officials made the choice last week at their annual meeting in Daytona, Fla.

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to host the USA Track and Field Cross Country Junior Olympic Championships in December 2014 at Whispering Pines Golf Course,” said Mayor John Rhodes, in reaction to the USATF decision.  “We expect more than 7,500 athletes, family members and coaches for this event, which will be a tremendous boost for our hotels, restaurants and retail establishments in December 2014.  We thank the USATF for awarding the bid to our community and for demonstrating their faith that we will provide a great experience for these athletes and their families.”

Mayor Rhodes personally attended the event proposal presentation at the USATF annual meeting.  “We would also like to thank our partners in this event – the South Carolina USATF Association, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Myrtle Beach Track and Field Club,” the mayor added.

“The USATF South Carolina Association is excited be in partnership with the city of Myrtle Beach again in hosting another national championship,” said USATF-SC president Perry Funnie.  “We know that with our continued collaboration and partnership, the event will be a huge success.”  As part of winning the bid, Myrtle Beach will automatically host the USATF-SC Association’s meet with around 300 athletes, as well as the Region 4 (Georgia and Florida) meet with an estimated 1,000 athletes expected.

Other area representatives who attended the presentation included: Olympic athlete Amber Campbell, USATF-SC president Perry Funnie, USATF-SC vice presidents Norm Venyah and Tim Tyler, USATF-SC treasurer and youth chair Linda Ellis, USATF-SC secretary Val Jacobs, USATF-SC past president and meet director Chris Kling, Myrtle Beach Track and Field Club head coach and assistant meet director Rich Richardson, Coach O CEO Charles Oliver, CVB sports tourism manager and hospitality chair Mark Beale, City of Myrtle Beach sports tourism manager and event coordinator Tim Huber, and City of Myrtle Beach assistant city manager and local organizing committee chair John Pederson.

For more information and updates on the 2014 Junior Olympic Cross Country Championship and other USATF events, visit www.usatf.org. For information on the USATF South Carolina Association and events, visit www.usatfsc.org.

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