Larson Track & Field
Indoor and outdoor track and field competitions will be back on Augustana’s campus for the first time since the 1970s thanks to a generous lead gift from the Larson family of Sioux Falls.
The first and only indoor competition track and field facility in the city of Sioux Falls, this exceptional facility will allow AU student-athletes the ability to practice year-round. It will also offer Augustana and the city of Sioux Falls the opportunity to host future NCAA national championship track and field meets.
"The combination of an outdoor/indoor track facility will be a game-changer for our program. We can become the Mecca of track and field in Sioux Falls and the surrounding areas.”
— Tracy Hellman, head men’s and women’s cross country/track & field coach
With an eight lane, 300 meter collegiate competition track, technologically enhanced start and finish line capabilities, expanded indoor and outdoor field event space, and fan seating (Phase 1) inside its 86’ high branded seasonal dome (Phase 2), the Larson Track and Field will be a landmark on the Augustana campus. "There hasn't been this type of facility built before, and I truly believe it will change our program to help us reach even higher levels,” said Hellman. “Our program has had a rich history of success. We have a long line of All-American athletes who never had the opportunity to practice or compete on a home track. This facility is going to give us that opportunity and much, much more."
The Larson Track and Field will also serve as a year-round training facility for the Augustana football, soccer, golf, baseball, and softball programs.
“The Larson Track and Field is such a needed addition on our campus. The possibilities are endless with what can be done in the indoor space. With a climate like we have here in the midwest, having large, indoor, open space available is priceless. Any outdoor sport person knows the type of challenges that are associated with our weather here. This facility will be game changing for so many people.” — Tim Huber, head baseball coach
The 100,000 square foot interior footprint will feature 80 yards of turf and internet-accessibility. According to head football coach Jerry Olszewski, “The Larson Track and Field will be a game-changer for our Viking football program in the following ways: 1) Physical development of players has become one of the greatest indicators for success on the field. An indoor complex on campus will allow our athletes to train and physically develop to their greatest potential. 2) It will allow us to not miss out on practice/game preparation opportunities due to weather conditions that do not allow us to compete. As the head coach it is a difficult challenge to try to prepare our team for competition when we miss practice opportunities or have to attempt to get game plans and teaching of athletes done on a basketball court that is shared with other in-season teams. 3) Recruitment is the first and ongoing battle to success as a program. At this point many of our regional competitors, as well as other NSIC teams, have indoor playing surfaces."
"With a regulation width, lined football surface, we will be able to execute a full experience for our team [indoors] giving our student-athletes every competitive advantage we can. This is a game changer for our athletic programs and proud moment for our alumni to make it happen.”
—Jerry Olszewski, head football coach
In addition, the AU Recreational Services intramural programs will benefit from the use of the space 24-7, 365. More than 86 percent of AU students participate in intramural activities or club sports. Intramurals provide a great opportunity for students to exercise, compete, and meet new people.
"This multi-activity facility with an all-weather surface will fill a campus recreation void that has existed for over a decade, as it will provide countless opportunities for students to enjoy quality opportunities for intramural flag football, soccer, rugby and various other club sports. Its impact on campus recreation and on student life in general will be significant.”
— Mark Hecht, director of recreational services
Having this facility within city limits offers the larger Sioux Falls community equally great benefits. The Larson Track and Field, aside from its unique ability to host indoor competitive high school and collegiate track meets, will also play host to the growing number of local youth athletic organizations and club teams. “This project has evolved into the best of both worlds for our track program - elite training and elite competition facilities. This design means Augustana will be the home of the only true collegiate competition-ready indoor track facility in Sioux Falls. The facility will also be perfect for youth soccer or flag football games, as well as golf, lacrosse, baseball and softball practices and camps. Augustana's community relationships will continue to be strengthened with the ability to host indoor events in any sport for community groups in need of a facility during the winter months,” said associate athletic director Ann Traphagen.
When it’s complete, the Larson Track and Field will also feature a three lane 400 meter outdoor training track and expansive outdoor field event spaces. Nestled between 33rd Street and Morstad Field off of Grange Avenue, the facility will have easy access to parking and ADA-accessibility. "When we build this new indoor track and field facility, we will host numerous high school and collegiate track and field meets, along with numerous camps and clinics throughout the year. The number of students that will walk through the door into the Larson Track will be staggering. Augustana University is the place for possibilities, and the new Larson Track and Field will be the place for possibilities in regards to championship indoor track and field," said head men’s and women’s cross country/track & field coach Tracy Hellman.