Fortress Obetz to Host OHSAA Cross Country Championships

runohio

Member
50-acre multi-purpose complex in Obetz on southeast side of Columbus signs five-year agreement with OHSAA

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio High School Athletic Association cross country state championships are moving to Fortress Obetz, a 50-acre multi-purpose sports complex with a 6,500-seat grandstand located in Obetz on the southeast side of Columbus, OHSAA Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass announced Wednesday.

Fortress Obetz opened in 2017 on the former site of the Columbus Motor Speedway. The racing that will now take place there in early November represents one of the largest high school cross country events in the country, with moe than 11,000 fans.

Of significance, much of the course will be visible from the 6,500-seat grandstands, which will lead to a greater experience for fans and participants.

“We can’t wait for our student-athletes and Ohio’s entire cross country community to experience the state championships at Fortress Obetz,” said Snodgrass. “This facility is so impressive, from the course layout for the competitors to being more spectator friendly for the fans and we are thrilled to sign a five-year agreement. We would like to thank National Trail Raceway for hosting the state championships for the last nine years and doing an outstanding job as our host.”

Fortress Obetz was built to host sporting events, concerts, festivals and more. It was the home of the Ohio Machine professional lacrosse team from 2017-19. The facility has five video boards, concessions, restrooms and a huge parking lot.

“The Village of Obetz is extremely proud and excited to partner with the OHSAA,” said Steve Adams, National Director of Athletic Operations and Facilities Promotion. “We feel our Memorial Park and the Fortress is perfectly suited for the OHSAA Cross Country State Tournament. We have created a safe and challenging course for the runners and kept the spectator experience in mind as well.”

The grandstand includes 1,100 flip-down seats, 2,000 bench-back seats and 3,400 bleacher seats.

Scioto Downs, located just south of Columbus, hosted the OHSAA cross country state championships from 1985 through 2010 before the facility added a casino. National Trail Raceway in Hebron, 20 miles east of Columbus, hosted the state championships from 2011 through 2019.



### OHSAA ###



Tim Stried

Director of Communications

Ohio High School Athletic Association


Office: 614-267-2502, ext. 124

tstried@ohsaa.org

www.ohsaa.org

twitter.com/OHSAASports

facebook.com/OHSAASports

Fax: 614-267-1677

4080 Roselea Place

Columbus, OH 43214
 

Zunardo

Well-known member
Long-time Hamilton Twp resident here. Should be interesting having it at Fortress. If anyone has been to the Zucchini Festival in the last 5 years, that's the area.

Easy access off Alum Creek Drive, a mile north of the I-270 interchange.

Below is a screen shot from Google Maps showing the Fortress and surrounding area. I dunno, it's maybe 1 to 1.5 mile circuit around the whole complex (stadium, parking lots, ball fields, etc).

There is a large paved lot behind the stadium, and plenty of grass field for overflow parking. Dedicated restrooms inside the stadium. There are two concession stand windows inside the stadium, and they've brought in food trucks for additional options for football games. Just north of I-270, you've got Subway, KFC, McD's, Arby's, Wendy's, Chipotle, Taco Bell, and Donato's pizza.

BRING YOUR BINOCULARS. There are 2 scoreboards across from the bleachers, but the digital readouts are extremely small, in case you're looking for results, times, names, etc. It's probably the one thing I would change about the place. Other than that, a nice facility.

The area in general is very flat. There is a bit of a roll toward the east around the man-made ponds and such. Not sure if they would extend the course east toward the Obetz village offices. Hope that helps!

Fortress.jpg
 
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bsee54321

Member
When I see this I thought it was a good move by the OHSAA. For one parking will be on paved lots, second the grandstand is very nice. Was there for football game and was very impressed by the facility. The concern for the scoreboard has been brought up- great facility with a very odd scoreboard. The access to the facility is good. I see this as a win for the OHSAA. Of course it would nice to see the course outline.
 

bsee54321

Member
When I see this I thought it was a good move by the OHSAA. For one parking will be on paved lots, second the grandstand is very nice. Was there for football game and was very impressed by the facility. The concern for the scoreboard has been brought up- great facility with a very odd scoreboard. The access to the facility is good. I see this as a win for the OHSAA. Of course it would nice to see the course outline.
This is also next to the a facility owned by Columbus Crew (Professional Soccer Team) and I would say the Crew will work with the Fortress Management along with OHSAA if parking or course structure help was needed. Again this is a win by the OHSAA.
 
Breezed through the press release and my only question was the course map, especially with a somewhat flat area. Flat courses lead to faster times, but I like to see some changes in elevation. However, I won't condemn the change because of that.
Fans want (in no particular order):
* Easy access and, though some hate to admit it, a central location in the state.
* Ample parking, preferably paved.
* Nearby amenities, such as restaurants.
* To see as much of the race as possible.
 

Supertramp

New member
Breezed through the press release and my only question was the course map, especially with a somewhat flat area. Flat courses lead to faster times, but I like to see some changes in elevation. However, I won't condemn the change because of that.
Fans want (in no particular order):
* Easy access and, though some hate to admit it, a central location in the state.
* Ample parking, preferably paved.
* Nearby amenities, such as restaurants.
* To see as much of the race as possible.
National Trail Raceway was also pretty flat as well but had a lot of turns. I expect the Obetz Fortress course to be similar. A lot of fields to play around with. It looks like a lot of paved parking. Also, a facility with a lot of soccer fields probably had a pretty good drainage system.
And I assume no Christmas display the first weekend in November?

I like it. I'll take anything to look forward to and be excited about right now!
 

Zunardo

Well-known member
And I assume no Christmas display the first weekend in November?
Lol. Took me a minute. My wife and I were talking about going to see that last December, but never made it out. Looked interesting.

Obetz does put up a 30-foot artificial tree in the town square, but they don't have the lighting ceremony until after Thanksgiving.
 
I did see on their website there is a 5k on June 13th. Not sure if it is on the road or in the facility. This would be the first year and it is hosted by a local school raising money for track and XC. Not sure if it will still be held considering the state we are in. Will the OHSAA still look to host a preseason meet this year on the grounds??
 

psycho_dad

Well-known member
You are going to need to wait until the park is open again and the powers to be can get to the course to check everything out.
Ummm, Shouldn't things have been checked out before deciding this would be the new state meet site? I mean, I would have at least had someone figure out the course. It's not a blank open field with unlimited options.
 

ENA2

Member
We drove down to see "the Obitz". the Park is open. there were people fishing and walking. Basketball/tennis and of course the stadium was closed.
No course is marked out, but we speculated that it could start in stadium or outside on the southwest (it is wide enough for 20 teams plus and individual qualifiers) and enter the stadiumafter a quarter mile or so...then go out a big gate on the northeast side and do a big loop around a pond and practice football field for at least the first mile then re-enter the stadium at about 1.5-2 miles or more and go out the southwest gate and do a big loop out there for a mile or so.... this would include the only incline on the property that we saw. then could go back in and finish in front of the grandstand. this would be similar to Scioto downs, but not quite as much in front of the grandstands. YOu could see the start from the top of the bleechers and get in and out pretty easy. Admission may have to take place in vehicles as you enter the park, but there is ample parking. Drawbacks may include (1)traffic flow in and out off of Alum Creek as that is the only entrance, and (2) only one incline, but it could be in the last half mile of the race and with some turns to break up some of the course it probably will be a little more challenging that National trail.
 

ENA2

Member
I was excited to see it in person and if the kids can run freely for the 2020 season, I will be excited if the State meet is 12.5 laps of 400 meters or one big 5K loop..... or even an out and back course. (up hill both ways).
 
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