The National Scholastic Sports Foundation's Great American Cross Country Festival will have a new home for 2006.
Co-founder and Meet Director Emeritus Mike Byrnes announced the event has relocated to Hoover, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham. The event is scheduled for September 23.
The eight-year-old meet will take place in the newly developed course at Spain Park, one of the city parks in Hoover. For the past three years the meet took place at SAS Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina.
\"Hoover has a strong reputation for athletic excellence in our community and feels that we are building on that reputation by having the Great American Cross Country Festival as part of our cross-country season,\" said City of Hoover mayor Tony Petelos. \"We feel the reputation and goals of the NSSF and Great American closely align with ours - namely to promote the sport of cross-country and to encourage fitness as a life choice for our citizens, especially for our youth.\"
Mike Byrnes described the course as viewer-friendly and challenging. The park was developed in large part by local cross-country coaches, and several invitational and regional state events were held there during its inaugural 2005 season.
Byrnes also praised the local community for its support. "The City of Hoover, Birmingham and Jefferson and Shelby Counties have welcomed us with open arms," Byrnes said.
The NSSF produces the Nike Indoor Nationals and Nike Outdoor Nationals high school track and field meets as well as managing the Nike Team Nationals cross-country event.