UVa Athletes Get First-Hand Look at Flood Damage

By: Matt Holmes Email
By: Matt Holmes Email

Wednesday June 18, 2008

It's just another day of training at Lannigan Field, as members of the UVa Track and Field team get in some work under the sun. But last week skies weren't so sunny, as eight team members competed at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in flood-ravaged Des Moines, Iowa.

"Many of the hotels were evacuated [and] a lot of the roads were shut down," said discus and shot put athlete Billie Jo Grant, "so it was always the worry of will we be able to get to the track and get what we need to get done done."

"It was pretty exciting to see the flow of the water and how places where we could stand a day earlier, we couldn't even see the next day because they were under water," added Assistant Track and Field Coach Carrie Lane.

They say fortunately the track did not flood and so they were able to compete. But for opponents who saw the floods hit close to home, the week wasn't all about track and field.

"University of Iowa students actually helped fill up [sandbags], the athletes too, so that was very good to hear that fellow athletes were contributing to helping the people there," said discus thrower Yemi Ayeni.

Despite a successful weekend for the UVa team, they come home to Charlottesville with a certain amount of sadness.

"I read in the USA Today the city was excited to have the NCAA Championships there because it was going to produce $10.7 million in revenue for that weekend," said UVa Director of Track and Field Randy Bungard. "I felt really bad for those businesses that weren't going to reap any of the benefits of hosting the national championships. It's pretty sad."

With the national championships done, many of those UVa athletes are now working on training for the upcoming olympic trials.

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