2022 was a spectacular year for the Eugene, Cascades & Coast Sports Commission. Not only did the Sports Commission celebrate its 10-year anniversary, but most in-person events returned and the world track and field championships were hosted here. With the new year upon us, we wanted to take a look back and highlight some events and venues that made 2022 special. We’ll look back at each season and reminisce over some of our largest events and best host venues that the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region of Oregon has to offer.
To ‘set’ off the year, volleyball took the winter by storm! Two of the largest volleyball tournaments started off the year: The Oregon Matt Hartner Memorial Volleyball Classic and the Columbia Empire Volleyball Association (CEVA) President’s Day Volleyball Tournament.
The Matt Hartner Memorial Volleyball Classic is one of the largest annual youth sporting events in Lane County. Over Martin Luther King Day weekend, this massive tournament hosts 240 to 265 girls high school-aged volleyball teams from Washington, Oregon, Canada, Idaho, Montana and California. The tournament was hosted in several facilities including 16 courts at Moshofsky Center and six courts at McArthur Court on the University of Oregon campus, along with 11 courts at the Bob Keefer Center for Sports and Recreation. In total, there were approximately 4,000 participants in the tournament this year yielding around 6,500 room nights. The variety of age groups, venues and volume of hotel rooms required a full community effort.
The CEVA President’s Day Tournament continued the volleyball fun. With over 80 different teams competing and representing over 25 different clubs in two youth age groups, the Bob Keefer Center once again stepped up to host competitive youth volleyball. This tournament brought in about 1,500 participants who, over the course of the weekend, requested over 1,100 room nights at hotels.
Spring-ing forward, Matthew Knight Arena hosted the 2022 National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling Association (NCATA) National Championship in April. The event returned to Oregon for the first time since 2011, the inaugural NCATA Championship event that was won by the University of Oregon Ducks. The Ducks went into the tournament ranked #5 and competed against all the top teams in the country including the #1 Baylor Bears from Texas (who went on to win), #2 Azusa Pacific from California, and #3 Gannon University from Pennsylvania as well as 5 five other of the country's best teams. This high-energy event filled nearly 1,500 hotel room nights over the course of a week.
On the same weekend of the NCATA National Championships, Eugene’s beloved Eugene Marathon also took place. The Eugene Marathon is a Boston Marathon Qualifier and can even earn top finishers a spot at the Olympic Trials! The event brings almost 10,000 runners of all ages and skill levels from all over the country to participate. This year, with the completion of the reimagined Hayward Field at the University of Oregon, the marathon, half marathon, 5K, and Kids Duck Dash all returned to Hayward Field as the scenic backdrop and finish line.
Next, the 2022 Pac-12 Men's and Women's Rowing Championships were hosted at Dexter Reservoir and Lowell State Park. The event brought 1,300 participants with the California men and Stanford women winning the conference championships. The Pac-12 Championships will return to Dexter Reservoir next year.
Whether it was running through the streets of Eugene, flying through the air in Matthew Knight Arena or rowing across Dexter Lake, Spring 2022 had it all.
The busiest season of them all, summer 2022 was THE summer of track and field. Eugene, known globally as TrackTown USA, hosted over a dozen elite track events in 2022. The National Scholastic Athletics Foundation (NSAF) Outdoor Nationals, the nation’s high school championships, kicked off on July 16 through July 19 at Hayward Field. The event brought in over 2,700 room night requests and had over 1,500 participants. A preview for things to come, the NSAF Outdoor Nationals kicked off an unforgettable summer.
Less than two weeks later from June 23 through June 26, Hayward Field hosted the 2022 USA Track & Field (USATF) Outdoor Championships. A competition that brought America’s top athletes to compete against each other not just to become the national champion in their respective competitions, but also to earn their spot on Team USA for the World Athletics Championships Oregon22!
World Athletics Championships Oregon22 welcomed over 1,700 athletes from 179 countries to Hayward Field in July and it was the first time the international event was held in the United States. The event resulted in over 110,000 room nights and $50.5 million in local economic impact. Tickets were sold to people from all 50 states and nearly 40 countries. Tens of thousands visited the region during the 10-day event and a record-breaking one billion people watched on television and online. Team USA won the first-ever team trophy on home soil. Records were set and champions were born while the world watched.
And finally, we move on to fall. In 2022, we saw our Oregon Ducks compete fiercely in Autzen Stadium. We enjoyed the early morning ESPN College GameDay filmed on the University of Oregon campus and the late-night revenge win that came against Utah. It was another memorable year for the Ducks who ended the season ranked 15th in the AP Poll with a 9-3 record and multiple home sellouts.
On top of college football, we hosted fun boating events such as the 2022 Northwest Nationals by the Columbia Drag Boat Association. The event saw boats screaming across Dexter Reservoir with about 500 participants and 1,000 spectators. And over at Fern Ridge Reservoir, the Eugene Yacht Club put on events such as the Day Sailer National Championship and the Harvest Day Regatta, both with over 100 participants.
2022 was filled with track meets galore, collegiate and professional sports, youth and community participation sports and so much more. We look forward to 2023 and all the new memories to come!