Explore La Crosse estimates more than $3 million economic impact from WIAA State Track & Field

High School athletes from around the state are running toward the finish line of the track and field season.

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association state track and field championships are underway as La Crosse welcomes thousands of visitors.

WIAA officials said they love to bring the event to La Crosse.

“The community of La Crosse and the surrounding areas just role out the red carpet for this event,” said Stephanie Hauser, assistant director of the WIAA.

Explore La Crosse Director of Sports Sales and Events Jeremiah Burish said it’s one of the largest high school sporting events in the state.

“This is La Crosse’s largest hosted sporting event,” Burish said.

Hauser said there is a reason the event has returned 28 straight years.

“We love coming here,” Hauser said. “It doesn’t matter if you stop at a local business like a Kwik Trip or you stop at a restaurant, you get that same feeling from everyone that you talk to. They are just so happy to have the event going on in town.”

Burish said the facilities are state-of-the-art.

“UWL has one of the best track and field facilities in the country,” Burish said.

The number of people it brings for two days still amazes event planners.

“You are looking at about 24,000 total people for this event, which is just incredible for a two-day event,” Burish said.

New visitors bring economic opportunity for area businesses.

“Conservatively, we think that this is about a $3.5 million economic impact for the area, which is absolutely incredible,” Burish said.

Hauser said it also leaves a footprint on the lives of the athletes who work so hard just to get here.

“It’s life-lasting and as you grow older and you have your own children that have those memories as a parent it even has a deeper impact,” Hauser said.

Burish said the scenery is an added bonus.

“It’s an incredible view,” Burish said. “I get goose bumps every time I get step onto the track and look at the backdrop. It is unreal.”

He said it’s what brings people back.

“They see the beauty that we have here,” Burish said “They see all the amenities and things there are to do. They understand, “We have to take a vacation here.'”

Hauser said it brings joy to everyone involved.

“You are exhausted by the time it’s done, but really, truly, it’s exhilarating and I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Hauser said.