Veterans Park to host 2010 Junior Olympic races

Cross country championships have been growing in number on the events calender each year at Hoover’s Veterans Park on Valleydale Road. The city has won the bid for its most prestigious cross country event yet, as it will host the 2010 USA Track and Field Junior Olympics National Cross Country Championships on Dec. 11, 2010.

“We are pleased and honored that Hoover was selected to host the 2010 USATF Junior Olympics National Cross Country Championships over Kenosha, Wisconsin and Terre Haute, Indiana which are both respected cross country venues,” said Hoover Mayor Tony Petelos in a released statement. “Our team worked hard to win this opportunity and we look forward to hosting the participants in Hoover and providing them with a first-class experience.”

The race is expected to draw more than 3,000 athletes from across the nation. Courses will be set for a 3K, 4K and 5K based on five age divisions from ages ranging from 10 and under to age 18.

Hoover hosted the Alabama Association USATF Junior Olympic Championships in 2007 and has hosted the Great American Cross Country Festival the past few years. In addition to several high school meets, it has also been home to the Gulf South Conference Championship the past two years.

The opening ceremonies of the 2010 event will take place at the Hanna Center on the campus of Samford University on the Friday night prior to the event, while Spain Park High School will host the closing ceremonies.

The 2008 race will be held outside Richmond, Va., in Mechanicsville. Athletes competed in the snow last year in Lawrenceville, Kan.