Inaugural track and field season at 'The Podium' will include collegiate championships, first meet Dec. 11

<p><p>Spokane’s new indoor track and athletics facility will host the championships of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in February.</p></p><p><p>The addition of the event, which had been held at the University of Washington’s Dempsey Indoor facility in Seattle for the past 18 years, will bring elite track and field athletes from the Big West and West Coast conference on Feb. 18 and 19, and in 2023 and 2024.</p></p><p><p>The announcement was made on the same day the Spokane Sports Commission received its certificate of occupancy for the $53 million facility, <a href=”https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2019/dec/11/sportsplex-to-host-2022-national-track-championshi” target=”_blank”>which has been under construction for close to two years</a>, said Eric Sawyer, the commission’s chief executive officer.</p></p><p><p>“We can put the fence down and really start to schedule events from here on out,” Sawyer said.</p></p><p><p>The Mountain Pacific Sports Federation was founded during the 1992-93 college athletics season and organizes competition in Olympic sports that do not have a conference affiliation. Ten teams will compete in the February meet, including the full squads from Brigham Young University; University of Portland ; California State University, Northridge; the University of California, Riverside, and Long Beach State University.</p></p><p><p>The women’s teams from the University of San Francisco; the University of California, Irvine; University of Hawaii; Cal-State Fullerton, and the University of California, Davis, also will compete.</p></p><p><p>“The MPSF is grateful for this partnership and shared desire to promote indoor track and field,” said Foti Mellis, the federation’s executive director, in a statement Wednesday announcing the event. “We also look forward to engaging with the greater Spokane community.”</p></p><p><p>The federation’s 2021 championship was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.</p></p><p><p>This year’s installment of the federation championship will not include Pac-12 teams, as has occurred in years past, Sawyer said. <a href=”https://www.thepodiumusa.com/events” target=”_blank”>But the slate of winter events</a> includes two meets hosted by Washington State University.</p></p><p><p>The building is expected to open with a collegiate meet, the Spokane Invitational, on Dec. 11. WSU will host the Cougar Classic meet on Jan. 14-15, and a high school invitational is scheduled for Jan. 16.</p></p><p><p>The Greater Northwest Athletic Conference will hold tits indoor championships in the building Feb. 20-22, with the USA Track &amp; Field Indoor Championships to be held Feb. 25-27. Organizers predict the meet will bring 400 athletes to Spokane, and as many as 600 visitors.</p></p><p><p>The Podium will have seating for more than 4,200 spectators.</p></p>