OBETZ — The Ohio High School Athletic Association found a new home for its state cross country championships.

The OHSAA announced on Wednesday that the state cross country state championships will be held at Fortress OBetz.

Fortress Obetz is a 50-acre multi-purpose sports complex with a 6,500-seat grandstand, that will allow fans to see more of the 5K course.

“We can’t wait for our student-athletes and Ohio’s entire cross country community to experience the state championships at Fortress Obetz,” said OHSAA Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass in a press release. “This facility is so impressive, from the course layout for the competitors to being more spectator friendly for the fans and we are thrilled to sign a five-year agreement. We would like to thank National Trail Raceway for hosting the state championships for the last nine years and doing an outstanding job as our host.”

National Trail Raceway in Hebron has hosted the state championships since 2011. The 2018 meet had to be postponed a week due to wet weather.

The majority of the parking at National Trail Raceway were in fields, which led to issues if too much rain fell the week before.

According to the OHSAA’s release, Fortress Obetz was built to host sporting events, concerts, festivals and more. It was the home of the Ohio Machine professional lacrosse team from 2017-19. The facility has five video boards, concessions, restrooms and a huge parking lot.

The OHSAA and Fortress Obetz agreed to a five-year agreement to host the event.

“The Village of Obetz is extremely proud and excited to partner with the OHSAA,” said Steve Adams, National Director of Athletic Operations and Facilities Promotion. “We feel our Memorial Park and the Fortress is perfectly suited for the OHSAA Cross Country State Tournament. We have created a safe and challenging course for the runners and kept the spectator experience in mind as well.”

The grandstand includes 1,100 flip-down seats, 2,000 bench-back seats and 3,400 bleacher seats.

Scioto Downs hosted the OHSAA cross country championships from 1985 through 2010, before a casino was added to the facility.

Email at kwiseman@athensmessenger.com; follow on Twitter @KevinWmessenger

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