COLUMBIA - The Missouri men’s and women’s track teams will compete in the school’s first dual track meet in 24 years today against the Virginia Cavaliers.
Dual meets, or meets where two teams compete head-to-head, were the mainstream of collegiate track until they were given less priority in favor or larger, multi-team invitational meets starting in the 1970s and 1980s.
“Teams started to design their schedule to fit the needs to qualify for national meets and quietly erased the head-to-head component that made the sport so fun,” Missouri coach Rick McGuire said in a release.
Virginia coach Randall Bungard agrees with McGuire’s statement.
“Our sport has evolved into a sport that isn’t as much about competition as it is achieving a certain mark,” Bungard said by e-mail. “As coaches we’re killing ourselves and our sport with these huge two-day invitationals. Fans don’t understand these meets and the athletes and coaches get strung out over two days of 10-12 hours per day.”
Today’s meet will become an annual event on each school’s schedule and be known as the Jefferson Cup in honor of Thomas Jefferson’s ties to MU and UVA. Jefferson is known as the founder and designer of UVA and his purchase of the Louisiana Territory during his presidency paved the way for Missouri to gain statehood in 1821 and the University of Missouri was the first state school founded in the new lands in 1839.
Bungard is excited about the two teams meeting.
“We do not see a lot of teams west of the Mississippi very often,” Bungard said. “Missouri will bring a new freshness to our schedule.”
Missouri will add another annual dual meet during next year’s indoor season with the renewal of the “Border Dual” with Kansas. It will be the first time since 1976 that the two teams will compete head-to-head.
The Jefferson Cup, hosted by UVA, will kick off this afternoon at2:30 p.m. in Charlottesville, Va. . Competition will resume Saturday at 10 a.m.