Written by Bud Page
HoHoKam member since 1974 & Big Ho 2011-2012
|How did the Mesa HoHokams get involved in sponsoring and supporting this event?
In 1930, The Mesa Tribune, then called the Journal Tribune, the local newspaper started sponsoring the “Mesa Tribune Relays”. Each high school was contacted and asked to participate in the events. They sent teams of four athletes to participated in the relays. I attended these events and had a lot of fun watching the schools compete in the various events. In early 2000 the The Mesa Tribune was sold and the new owners were asked if they were going to continue in the sponsoring of this event. They declined due to lower circulation and the economy.
The track coach at Westwood High School, James Smith, took it upon himself to sponsor the event and changed the name to “The Mesa Invitational Track Meet”.
In 2010 I was attending a “Mesa Sports Hall of Fame” event and was approached by retired Westwood Coach & current Mesa HoHoKam member, Jim Kelley and asked if this event wasn’t something that would be good for the Mesa HoHoKams to get involved with. So I approached Coach Smith to see if he would like me to ask the HoHoKams to become involved with sponsoring and providing volunteers for this event. Coach Smith was very interested in have The Mesa HoHoKams becoming the sponsor and having them help with this event. So in 2011 the name was changed to:
“The Mesa HoHoKams High School Invitational Track Meet”.
The meet is held every year in April, about two weeks prior to the State Track Meet, at Brimhall Field at Westwood High School, in Mesa. Times & distances athletes get at this meet can be used to qualify for the State Track meet. There were 22 High Schools who had teams in the meet in 2011 when the HoHoKams began Sponsoring this meet, in 2016 there were 35 High Schools who participated in the meet.
The HoHoKams provide awards for the winners as well as supply all of the help in timing of the running events and recording the distance and heights of the events.
This event continues to be the signature spring event for the Mesa HoHoKams in helping and supporting youth sports in the East Valley.