Tradition found in BU Relays

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Baker Track:The Baker University track and field teams will open the outdoor season with the Baker Relays Friday at Liston Stadium. The meet was originally scheduled for Saturday, but was moved to Friday due to the prediction of inclement weather. This is the 70th year of the relays.:Baker Orange

A carnival is usually filled with kids, food and rides, however, at Baker University in 1924, the Baker Carnival was a track meet filled with high school athletes.

Now referred to as the Baker Relays, the meet is celebrating its 70th year as a Baker University event.

"Baker Relays started off as a relay for high schools," Dan Harris, former athletic director at Baker University, said. "It was used to look at local talent and to recruit potential athletes to our program."

Now, the relays host high school and college athletes. The meet is an all-day event, but the college and high school relays are on different days.

For most colleges attending the meet, it is the first competition of the season.

"It's the kickoff for outdoor (track). It's exciting to have our first meet of the year at home," Zach Kindler, head track and field coach, said.

The Baker Relays is historic in many ways. It has evolved with time, but some parts have remained the same.

"Part of what is cool about our relays is that it is in a historic stadium," Harris said.

Liston Stadium has been home to the meet from the beginning. When the relays first started, the track was an old, cinder track that had to be lined with chalk and consisted only of six lanes. After the renovation of track in 2006, the track consists of eight lanes, making it possible for the university to sponsor conference track meets.

The meet has helped make a name for Baker in the track and field world by hosting the event annually.

"It's an opportunity to continue to build our tradition in our track and field program," Athletic Director Theresa Yetmar said.

Harris said the Baker Relays are somewhat comparable to the University of Kansas Relays.

"KU Relays is one of the most famous track relays that invites athletes at all levels," Harris said. "Baker, on a smaller scale, provides the same opportunity

for success."

The most important part of the Baker Relays is not only the showcasing of Baker's track and field athletes, but the support for the athletes from the Baldwin City community.

"(Competing at Baker) really connects our campus fan base to our program," Yetmar said.

The Baker Relays were moved to 12:30 p.m. Friday from Saturday at Liston Stadium due to the possibility of inclement weather.

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