CWRU Links
Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS TRACK MEET

KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS TRACK MEET

The KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS TRACK MEET was an annual sporting event that brought national and international track and field athletes to Cleveland for competition between 1941 and its last meet in 1993. It reportedly was the 2nd-oldest indoor meet in the U.S. when it was suspended for lack of a sponsor in Jan. 1987. The Catholic fraternal Knights of Columbus organized the first meet on 16 March 1941 with proceeds going to the Catholic Youth Organization. The 15-event program, held at the CLEVELAND ARENA, featured a number of world-record holders. The 6,425 people who attended the 1941 meet watched competitors set 3 world records and tie another; among the record setters was local track star STELLA WALSH, who set a new world record for women in the 220-yard dash. Records continued to fall over the next 5 decades as each March world-class athletes, including many local track and field luminaries, competed in the event. The K of C meet, held at the Arena through 1971, moved to Public Hall in 1972 and changed the date to February, closer to the end of the indoor AAU championships, in hopes of attracting international athletes. The event relocated to the Richfield Coliseum a few years later. Although the meet was suspended in 1987 and 1988 for financial reasons, it resumed in 1989. In 1993 the competition was celebrated as the "50th Anniversary K of C Track Meet" and held at the CLEVELAND STATE UNIV. Convocation Center, although soon after K of C sponsorship ended and the meet was cancelled for 1994. However, Key Corp assumed sponsorship of the track meet, hosting the Key Corp Track and Field Classic in Gateway's Gund Arena in Feb. 1995. The K of C remain affiliated as advisors.