Through the efforts of the Billings Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) and Billings Chamber/Convention and Visitors Bureau, the NCAA has awarded the 2014 and the 2016 NCAA Division II Women's and Men's Cross Country Regional Championships to the city of Billings. The races will run at Amend Park in November of those years. The TBID’s Sports Consultant, Chris Frye, Ph. D, worked closely with both the national and local entities to facilitate and present the bid and booking.
“Hosting the West Regionals is a great opportunity to place the city of Billings and MSUBillings on the NCAA map and position ourselves for future events,” he explained. A total of 291 student-athletes ran in the races in 2013. The collection of participants, coaches, staff, and fans that travel to the event each year will positively impact the local economy. Athletes will come from all over the region including Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii.
Alex Tyson, Executive Director of the Billings TBID and CVB shared that, “This bid award is a culmination of huge efforts being made to better position Billings as a sporting events hub. The Billings Chamber/CVB and Billings Tourism Business Improvement District’s vision and resources are able to assist, ultimately impacting the local economy, growing tourism and the community's image.' Frye also emphasized that, “This is an example of what can be done when you focus on teamwork. Without the collaboration of the TBID, MSU-B Athletics, Billings Public Schools, Rocky Mountain College Athletics, Billings Parks and Recreation, Yellowstone Rim Runners, Big Sky State Games, Amend Park Maintenance Group and the Billings Convention & Visitors Bureau, securing this great event for two years would not have been a reality.”
The regionals will determine which five men's teams and women's teams qualify for the NCAA Div. II National Championships. In addition to the team qualifiers, the top three men's and women's individuals not on one of the qualifying teams also will earn a spot in the national meet.
The announcement was made on a live video stream on NCAA.com Wednesday. More than 430 sites were selected from a pool of 1,948 bids across all three NCAA divisions, and Billings was one of those selected as a host community.