The ceremony took place following the conclusion of the UCSD men's and women's track and field program's annual Blue-Gold-Alumni exhibition. The meet and ensuing dedication event welcomed back well over 130 former Triton track and field student-athletes to campus.
The dedication on the stadium infield began with a welcome and introductory comments from UCSD women's head coach Darcy Ahner around a demonstration of the board utilizing the program's 2012 highlight video.
Ahner then introduced former Triton All-American Christine Sonali Merrill, who became Triton Track & Field's first Olympian when she competed in the 400-meter hurdles for her native Sri Lanka at the London Games this past summer. Merrill spoke briefly following a video tribute documenting her journey to London.
With the video board serving to honor the memories of former track and field student-athletes Shannon Quigley Runningbear and Léon Talichet Roach III, Runningbear's mother, Kathleen Crowley, as well as Roach's parents, Léon and MaryAnn, addressed the 250-plus attendees on hand.
Among the dignitaries were Mark Stanforth, UCSD’s track and field and cross country coach from 1987-92, and his wife, Pat, leading donors for the video board project. Wes Williams, Triton sprints coach from 1989-98, and Tim Vallez, UCSD’s first NCAA national champion who won the 800 meters in 1988, were also present.
The 45-minute ceremony concluded with a touching final video clip remembering Runningbear and Roach, as well as documenting the lengthy, labor-of-love process undertaken by many volunteers to redevelop the south end of Triton Track & Field Stadium with a new pole vault venue and the state-of-the-art video board.
"It was a great day," summed up Salerno. "This was by far the biggest turnout of alumni in the program's history. We honored two great Tritons in Shannon and Lelie and were able to share it with an ever-growing Triton family."
The ongoing fundraising effort for the stadium improvement project is comfortably above the $135,000 mark currently. Interested parties can click here to get involved.
The Tritons' 2013 schedule officially kicks off this 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 is free of charge.
-- UCSDtritons.com --