The Fort Hays State University track and field outdoor season will begin in rocking fashion on Friday and Saturday.
The collegiate distances races and throwing events are scheduled for Friday at the Rock and Roll Distance Festival, while the rest of the collegiate and high school events are scheduled for Saturday at the Alex Francis Classic.
Typically the collegiate throwing events are also on Saturday, but head coach Dennis Weber said he moved them to Friday for the safety of the athletes competing.
“Two years ago it was just a big mess with the high school and college trying to get all the throws in,” Weber said. “Especially with it being the first meet of the year, everybody brings everybody. It was kind of dangerous, since there was a lot of people running around.”
Music will be played on Friday during the distance races, but Weber said the music would continue some on Saturday as well.
“It’s nice to not have to sit around all day,” junior distance runner Cole Ginther said. “Also, with it set up this way we get to run in the evening when there’s less wind and it is more likely to be cooler out.”
Weber said the distance festival allows the distance runners to become the stars of the show.
“We will have a big jamboree for the throws and the distance on Friday,” Weber said. “That speeds up the meet on Saturday a little bit too to get some of those long distance events out of the way.”
Weber said the meet should not be a big one since many colleges would still be on their spring break. Only four colleges are bringing their full teams: Colorado College, Colby Community College, Garden City Community College and Cloud County Community College, but Weber said some Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference schools should be bringing some athletes as well.
“It is not going to be a real huge meet, but it should be fun still,” Weber said.