The Fort Payne High School track and field team has earned the opportunity to host what could be the biggest athletic event in school history.

The Wildcats have been selected by the AHSAA to host one of the State Sectional Track Meets next spring.

The meet will last two days on April 28 and 29 and will qualify track and field athletes for the State Meets in Gulf Shores and Cullman.

Fort Payne track and field assistant coach and meet director C.M. Sanford said the event could be one of the biggest the high school has ever hosted.

“We’ll get to host three different classifications this time,” Sanford said. “That means we should have around 38 schools and 1,200 athletes competing here for the weekend. The last time we got to host sectionals, we had two classifications come here. Having a third this time will make this one of the biggest events the school has ever hosted.”

Several teams will travel from across the state for the meet. Sanford said having so many teams and families traveling to the area should bring a slight boost to the local economy for the weekend.

“A lot of these teams will have to travel pretty long distances to make it here,” Sanford said. “I expect that several teams will stay in local hotels and will just stay through that Saturday. So, I definitely think Fort Payne can benefit from us hosting the meet.”

The team hopes to take advantage of competing on their home track as they look be well-represented again at the State Meet. The event also requires the help of many volunteers who will help conduct events throughout both days.

“We’ve been very lucky over for the amount of help we’ve received from volunteers in the past,” Sanford said. “We’ll need around 60 people to help us out with Sectionals. We’ve had several parents and former athletes help us out in the past. Many of them get approved to be officials through AHSAA and they help us out a ton. We’re very grateful for all the help we’ll receive when the time comes next spring.”

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