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Bob Kellar: Santa Clarita will be ‘Sports Central’ in 2014

Posted: January 13, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: January 13, 2014 2:00 a.m.
 

Every year, Santa Clarita is selected to host numerous high-profile sporting events. Thanks to our championship athletic facilities, extensive trail system, bike-friendly policies and enthusiastic community, 2014 is already shaping up to be one of the best years yet for sports tourism in the city of Santa Clarita.

No matter the sport, Santa Clarita boasts some of the Golden State’s best turf to play on, and the city continuously works to grow existing sporting events and attract new ones.

These happenings bring visibility to our city and revenue to local businesses, which positively impact our local economy and solidify Santa Clarita as one of the top sports tourism destinations in California.

First on deck for 2014 is the Southern California Swimming Short Course Younger Junior Olympic Championships, held Jan. 17-20 at the Santa Clarita Aquatics Center.

This prestigious meet will bring together more than 800 swimmers from 124 teams across California and Nevada as athletes ages 14 and under vie for Junior Olympic medals in several rigorous events.

This meet is typically held indoors, but the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center was chosen as the meet’s first-ever outdoor venue due to the center’s impeccable facility.

The event is open to the public and free to attend, so residents can stop by and enjoy the competition. The meet begins at noon on Friday, Jan. 17, and at 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 18, 19 and 20, with finals taking place in the afternoon each day.

Santa Clarita will also host two dramatic race events in 2014: the Amgen Tour of California and the inaugural Wings for Life World Run, which is supported by Red Bull.

Rubber will meet the road on May 16 and 17 when Santa Clarita hosts the Stage 6 and Stage 7 starts for the Amgen Tour of California.

This marks the sixth time in the race’s nine-year history that Santa Clarita has been selected as a host city.
Riders will depart the Stage 6 start for Mountain High on Friday, May 16, and will return to Santa Clarita for the Stage 7 start on May 17 before racing on to Pasadena.

Another high-profile race will make its debut in Santa Clarita this year — the Wings for Life World Run. On May 4, thousands of runners from 30 countries across the globe will simultaneously depart their respective starting lines.
Just three race points were selected in the United States, with Santa Clarita chosen as the only West Coast location.

With no set distance or finish line, the Wings for Life World Run participants will be pursued by a moving finish line known as the “catcher car.”

Thirty minutes following the start of the race, catcher cars will individually begin advancing through each global race course. A participant’s race ends once the catcher car passes him or her, so results will be based on distance rather than time.

Local and global championships will be awarded to the male and female runners who cover the most ground before being overtaken by the catcher car.

Several youth sports competitions will also be held locally in 2014. The Masters College will host its Golden State Athletic Conference championship at Central Park in November, while LAVA (Los Angeles Volley Academy) will return to host its third annual tournament in the city’s newly-renovated Sports Complex Gymnasium and at multiple junior high and high school gyms.

Santa Clarita will also hit a home run with baseball tourism events in 2014, including several Triple Crown baseball and softball tournaments.

USSSA Baseball will host a number of competitive events at the Hart Baseball Complex, while the new VTV Baseball will host events at the Valencia Travel Village facility, further proof that Santa Clarita’s sports facilities are in demand.

From the Junior Olympics meet at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center to the Amgen Tour of California, Santa Clarita is poised to welcome thousands of athletes and spectators in 2014.

As a council member and resident, I am very proud that Santa Clarita continues to attract quality and even world-class competition.

Our city’s outstanding reputation in the sports world is a reflection of the spirit of competition and unmatched pride shown in our community.

Bob Kellar is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at bkellar@santa-clarita.com.

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