HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP — The NCAA Division III national outdoor track and field championships wrapped up Saturday at SPIRE Institute.
The nation's best Division III male and female student-athletes descended up the Harpersfield Township facility to try and win individual medals and help his or her team to a championship.
Aside from a weather delay Thursday morning, the weather cooperated. An estimated 3,500 fans were in attendance over the three days.
When it was all over, Wisconsin-Eau Claire outdistanced MIT 68-38 to win the men's competition, while Loras College (Dubuque, Iowa) edged Washington University 53-49 for the the women's championship.
SPIRE last hosted the DIII outdoor nationals in 2017.
"Once you've been through it, you know certain things the NCAA wants," said Leonard Reich, Mount Union's Sports Information Director/Assistant to the Athletic Director. "I feel pretty good with the effort everyone put forth. It's a team effort."
Mount Union is the host school, but works in partnership with Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and SPIRE.
"The Sports Commission hosts big national events, we (Mount Union) host numerous Division III championship events on campus and Spire hosts national events," Reich said. "It brings a lot of experience together."
Reich said a track and field committee visits the site in March and there are conference calls to ensure the best preparation as possible.
"They want to work with us," Reich said. "We're happy to work with them."
SPIRE is scheduled to host the 2021 Division III national track and field indoor championships.
The original schedule has SPIRE also hosting the 2021 DIII national track and field outdoor championships and the event taking place in Winston Salem, N.C. in 2022, but the tentative plan is to switch those years.
St. John Fisher, in Rochester, N.Y., is the scheduled DIII national outdoor host next year.
"The host of the next year usually comes to the site of the previous year," Reich said.
Reich also works with the media and other Sports Information Directors.
The Sports Commission has already had a busy week with Cleveland being selected to host the National Football League Draft in 2021.
It doesn't slow down, either, with a slew of upcoming signficant events, including the Major League League All-Star Game July 5-9.
Meredith Painter, Director of Marketing and Communications, and Rachel Gill, Marketing Coordinator, of the Cleveland Sports Commission were at the DIII outdoor nationals all or part of the time.
"Having hosted previously, we learned a lot and that helped us take a lot of things over to this year," Painter said. "It went a lot smoother."
Painter said the NCAA provides feedback.
"There are only 14 of us the GCSC staff and we were able to tighten up our operations," she said. "We always look back at what worked and what we could have done differently."
Painter said the cooperation between the three organizations is invaluable.
"Mount Union and Spire have been absolutely incredible," she said.