FRANKLIN, Ind. (April 19) – Franklin College and the Blue River Sports Authority in Shelby County have been selected by the NCAA Division III Championship Committee as hosts for the 2018 NCAA Division III Men's and Women's Cross Country Great Lakes Regional.
The competition will take place Nov. 10, 2018 at the Blue River Cross Country Course in Shelbyville. The event is expected to be mutually beneficial for the Franklin and Shelbyville communities.
"We are very excited to partner with the Blue River Sports Authority in hosting the 2018 regionals," Franklin College Director of Athletics Kerry Prather said. "Blue River is an outstanding venue for cross-country, and I know competitors and their fans will be impressed with the facility. This event will be a boon not only for Blue River, but also for the Shelbyville and Franklin communities. We appreciate all the effort invested by the Blue River Sports Authority board and especially Gary Nolley in developing a proposal that met the hosting criteria established by the NCAA."
The proposal was coordinated by Gary Nolley, vice president of the Blue River Sports Authority, which promotes recreational and competitive sports in Shelby County. The bid was submitted to the NCAA in August 2016. It was accepted on April 18.
"To say we are excited would be a bit of an understatement," Nolley said. "Our facility has a lot going for it. It was built specifically for cross-country. It meets all the requirements the NCAA looks for, such as course width and straight-away lengths. The competitors are visible to the spectators throughout the entire course, which is not typical of most facilities."
In addition to being a first-class facility, the course is also within a 30-minute drive of 450 hotel rooms in Shelbyville, which was also a determining factor in the NCAA accepting the bid.
"Blue River Sports Authority and Shelby County Tourism and Visitors' Bureau are excited that the NCAA selected the Blue River Cross Country Course at Blue River Memorial Park as the site for the 2018 NCAA Division III Regional Cross Country Championships," said Rachael Ackley, executive director of the Shelby County Tourism and Visitor's Bureau. "Through the hard work of the board, especially Gary Nolley, a competitive bid was submitted after months of hard work. We are confident that the NCAA will find Shelbyville a perfect location, with all the amenities and hospitality the runners and officials deserve. We look forward to welcoming all the student-athletes, trainers, coaches, friends and family from across the nation in 2018!"
Franklin College and Blue River Sports Authority are also in contention for hosting the event again in 2020 and/or 2021.
"When we designed the course, it was always our intent to someday host meets of this caliber," Nolley said. "Though it has come along much sooner than we thought it would, this will be a great event for our city and for Franklin College."