Wichita State to host the 2022 AAC Track and Field Championships


Hannah Roberts

Aaron True hugs a teammate after winning the javelin with a throw of 229 feet 3 inches on Friday at the Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championship. (May 12, 2017)

The Wichita State track and field program will host the 2022 American Athletic Conference outdoor championships, from May 13-15, at Cessna Stadium, the team announced in a release on Monday.

The University of Houston was previously slated to host the event, but relinquished its rights to host a Conference Championship, with the announcement last month that they would be leaving the conference in 2023.

“We feel that we do an extremely good job of hosting championship meets and we like it,” director of track and field Steve Rainbolt said. “We’re very excited about the opportunity to host this championship meet. The world of track and field doesn’t have much to do with that decision making. I know that everybody enjoys hosting their championship but in this circumstance, I’m really excited that we’re going to be hosting.”

The conference ultimately decided to review the possibility of moving the championship meet, with Houston’s departure from the conference. Senior women administrators and athletic directors unanimously approved to relocate the meet.

Rainbolt said that he was ‘tipped off’ about the possibility of WSU hosting last week, but found out when the conference made its announcement on Monday. 

“No one had anything to do with it whatsoever,” Rainbolt said. “Our administrators didn’t have anything to do with it, the conference office didn’t have anything to do with it. It’s just in the bylaws that if you chose to leave the league, you relinquish your spot in the rotation. Then, the league office went and looked and said ‘we need a different plan’.”

This will be the second time WSU will host the conference championships after the university held the meet back in 2019. The women’s program won the championship, while the men’s team secured second place, during the school’s second year in the conference.

Rainbolt said that their experience in hosting back in 2019 played a key part for WSU to be selected to host this year.

“I loved the Missouri Valley Conference but the American really steps up when it’s time to host a conference championship,” Rainbolt said. “They pour a lot more resources into it and they help out immensely. We do what we do and we do it very well, but the American Athletic Conference league office does a very nice job of extending themselves and resources to help us host this meet.”

The Shockers will now have the comfort of home in anticipation of the conference meet but Rainbolt said hosting comes with its disadvantages.

“We significantly love it. What I mean by that is the positives far outweigh the negatives,” Rainbolt said. “The only negative that I can think of is that it’s a little bit difficult to keep everybody together. We’ll have to do a good job of scheduling team meetings and keeping everybody on the same page that way.”

The remainder of the track and field schedule hasn’t been finalized and will be announced at a later date.