LA JOLLA, Calif. -
When fans, friends and alumni gather at Triton Track & Field Stadium on North Campus at UC San Diego this Saturday, Feb. 9, they will be greeted by a bold, crisp new sound and an impossible-to-miss visual newcomer.
Already regarded as one of the top facilities on the West Coast with its competition oval and adjacent throwing facility, Triton Track & Field Stadium is now home to a brand-new, state-of-the-art video board.
Through the generous donations and long, hard labors of many, the campaign for this impactful addition to the UCSD Intercollegiate Athletics Department in general and Triton Track & Field in specific is nearly complete. The video board will officially be dedicated this Saturday at the conclusion of the annual Blue-Gold-Alumni exhibition, with the ceremony slated to begin at approximately 2:40 p.m.
"The dedication of the video board is the culmination of a major fund-raising effort that has included alumni, our current student-athletes and the community as a whole," said UCSD Director of Athletics Earl Edwards. "As a result, it is going to tremendously enhance the track and field experience and that of other events held at Triton Track & Field Stadium. It should put us on the map nationally as far as track and field facilities are concerned. Along with our other recent improvements, it makes this venue one of the best in the country."
"When the video board is lit up, it makes the beautiful Triton Track & Field Stadium completely come to life," offered UCSD women's head coach Darcy Ahner. "With the size and quality of the picture, as well as the clear sound system, it is bigger and better than any of us really imagined. It will add a level of excitement to track and field meets at UCSD to rival any other place. Because it was both a fund-raising project and built on volunteer labor, it has had a monumental ripple effect to make our Triton Track & Field legacy and family both bigger and closer than ever before."
Among the amenities of what becomes one of the largest video boards in a track and field facility in the United States, is a 15-foot tall by 20-foot wide (300 square feet), 20-millimeter resolution full-matrix display, capable of disseminating results, graphics and full-color video, with a concert-quality JBL sound system built into the top of the apparatus. The complete structure stands 35 feet.
The video board is a product of Brookings, S.D.-based Daktronics, recognized worldwide as an industry leader in the design and manufacture of electronic scoreboards, programmable display systems and large-screen video displays using light-emitting diode (LED) technology.
The video board will be dedicated to honor the memories of the late Shannon Quigley Runningbear (Class of 1991) and Léon Talichet Roach III, both valued former UCSD track and field student-athletes who passed away in 2009. The first use of the display came during last Saturday's fourth annual Léon T. Roach III Vault-a-Thon, after initially arriving in early January.
"With the leadership of the Quigley and Roach families, our alumni, parents and friends of the program have produced something spectacular that will serve not just the UCSD community but the city of San Diego for years to come," remarked longtime Triton men's head coach Tony Salerno.
"Just as important as the way the video board has upgraded our stadium, is the fact that it lets us honor the legacy of two of our former athletes - Shannon Quigley Runningbear and Léon T. Roach III - who each had a profound impact on our program," added Edwards.
The installation signifies the second phase of the Triton Track & Field Stadium Improvement Project, following the completion in 2011 of the Léon T. Roach III Memorial Pole Vault Terraces on the south end of the facility. Prior to that time, the stadium had not undergone any major renovations or upgrades since being built over 20 years ago, with an electronic scoreboard among the most notable needs.
Thanks to gifts received over the course of a four-year campaign from alumni, parents and friends in excess of $125,000 thus far for the board itself, and donations of labor and materials valued in excess of $150,000 in all, that need, is no longer.
Over 230 individual donors have contributed to the project, with more than 100 of them former UCSD track and field student-athletes.
An important aspect of the newest addition to Triton Track & Field Stadium will be the ability to attract even higher-caliber athletes, programs and meets than have already been seen on the La Jolla campus, with the likes of Olympic gold medalists Joaquim Cruz, Monique Henderson, Carmelita Jeter and Inger Miller having previously competed on the nine-lane track.
This coming season, alongside annual fixtures like the San Diego Collegiate Challenge (March 9) and Triton Invitational (April 25-27), Triton Track & Field will host the milestone 20th edition of arguably one of the top college track and field meets in the state year in and year out, the Cal-Nevada Collegiate Championships on March 29-30. This marks the first time since 1998 and just the second time in all that the program is set to stage the event.
The presence of a video board and the capabilities it affords in terms of live race results, in particular, paves the way for UC San Diego to host more major events in the future.
Saturday's Blue-Gold-Alumni intrasquad serves as UCSD's final tune-up ahead of the new season. The day begins with the men's and women's hammer throw and javelin at 11:30 a.m. The action on the track gets under way at 12:10 p.m. with the women's 1500. Later highlights include an alumni kids' sprint race, popular 4x400 relays and alumni steeplechase, all leading up to the video board dedication ceremony.
The Tritons' 2013 schedule officially kicks off the following Saturday on Feb. 16, with a triangular meet involving conference rival Cal Poly Pomona and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps which is slated for a 12 p.m. start at Triton Track & Field Stadium. Admission to both the exhibition and triangular meets are free of charge.
-- UCSDtritons.com --