Having enjoyed the benefit the past few years of hosting on the new Liberty Indoor Track and Field Complex in Lynchburg, Va., the Bulldog Invitational has grown to more than 80 teams and will celebrate its 12th running in 2020 as the newest member of the National Scholastic Athletic Foundation’s (NSAF) slate of Select Meets.
The meet is set for Saturday, January 4, 2020 on Liberty’s blazing, banked 200-meter oval, and Milestat.com – part of the Milesplit and Flosports network – will once again be providing live streaming as part of its full coverage.
Meet director Halle Paauw, also the head coach at Liberty Christian Academy, announced that the event reached its 85-team acceptance limit by the early registration deadline of Dec. 14. Teams not registered but still interested can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Liberty Christian Academy started hosting the meet in 2009 with about 40 teams, said Coach Paauw – in her 3rd year as head coach at LCA and directing the meet – and it has now more than doubled in size. It’s one of the outstanding events in Virginia and in the mid-Atlantic/Southeast part of the country. Coach Paauw noted that teams registered so far include Virginia national class powerhouses like Loudoun Valley and Highland Springs, as well as other stellar programs from the home state, North Carolina and Maryland. Many of the meet records stand as a testimonial to the level of competition there:
- Britton Wilson, as a Godwin Mills HS (VA) junior in ’18, set both the girls’ 300m and 500m standards at 39.31 and 1:13.33 (US#1 marks at the time). As a senior last winter she was NBNI 400m runner-up and then later won NBNO and USA U20 400m hurdles titles outdoors.
- Kurt Powdar, the 2018 and ’19 NBNO 110m hurdle champ, set the 55H meet record there last winter with a 7.20 – a US#1 time only he bettered nationally during that stellar senior season at Oscar Smith HS.
- Marcellus Fletcher hit the first 50-foot triple jump (50-1.75) of his prep career (William Byrd HS (VA) to set the Bulldog meet record in 2015. Several times an NBN All-American, he was the national indoor runner-up that winter and has gone on to excel as a collegian.
- Virginians aren’t the only ones who hold meet records. Former Southeast Raleigh HS standouts Jaclyn Howell (’14) and Jayon Woodard (’15) came from North Carolina to set Bulldog standards in the 55H (8.27 in ’14) and 300m (34.84 in ’15), respectively. Athletes from Maryland also attend the meet.
The NSAF’s Select Meet program provides funding each year for athlete travel to a group of specific, high-quality track and field meets around the country. The program, which has been in existence for more than 15 years, was created to assist developing athletes in getting outside of their regions to events offering a stronger competitive experience, while also assisting in the growth and level of competition at those specific meets. Grant recipients are determined by collaboration between the NSAF and the meet directors.
The “BIG3” High School Series at the Ocean Breeze Complex in Staten Island, N.Y. were previously announced as part of the NSAF 2019-20 Select Meet slate. The full schedule will be announced soon, but in recent past years the events have included meets like the VA Showcase (also at Liberty U.) and the Simplot Games indoors; the Arcadia Invitational, Howard Wood Dakota Relays and Great Southwest Classic outdoors; and several others.
About the NSAF
The National Scholastic Athletics Foundation (NSAF) was founded in 1990. It is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization with the mission of opening doors to the world for our youth, through athletics, and providing them opportunities to succeed. That includes supporting high school and junior-aged track and field athletes in the US through national high school competitions, including the New Balance Nationals Indoor and Outdoor; The Great American XC Festival and HBCU Challenge; and the American Javfest and Ironwood Throws Classic. It also includes Team NSAF international competition and team-building events in Cuba and Iceland; clinics and event-specific special projects, such as Project Javelin Gold and Project Triple Jump; vigorous grant programs, which enable high school athletes to compete around the country, at USATF Junior Nationals, and internationally; and with program development grants, which are awarded in the winter and fall each year. The NSAF provides approximately $250,000 in grants annually. For information about how to get involved with NSAF, please visit https:/www.nationalscholastic.org.