MURRAY – The future of the Marshall Gage Track at Roy Stewart Stadium is in the spotlight this week as the Murray State Track and Field Facility’s master plan takes a look at the headquarters of Racer Track & Field. The recently completed Facilities Master Plan serves as a vision to improve player development, recruitment and the student-athlete experience across MSU’s athletic facilities portfolio.
One of the best track and field facilities when it opened in 1973, Stewart Stadium gave the Racer track program a big home. In 1996, the facility was named the Marshall Gage Track in honor of the Murray State Hall of Famer who competed for the Racers from 1957 to 1961.
Part of the Stewart Stadium plan comes when its more than 87,000 square feet of space is transformed into innovative indoor training spaces. The imThe pact on MSU Track & Field is immense as the team can run, jump and throw when the weather prohibits outdoor training. A second option is to build a stand-alone indoor training center east of Stewart Stadium.
“Right now one of the daily conversations we have before workouts is what the weather forecast looks like on the app on your phone,” said head coach Adam Kiesler. “That in itself would be great for all of us to know that we have a great indoor training option. I think the indoor options we are discussing create a tremendous opportunity for student-athletes and all the events they attend. Whether it’s cross country, middle distance and sprint, or throw and jump. Everything is improving for us with this kind of interior option.
Murray State also has a vision to bring Racer’s throwing programs back to Stewart Stadium. Hamilton Field, on the west side of campus, served runners well for several years.
Construction of an athletic performance center is also underway. Each team locker room, coaches office and all staff currently working at Stewart Stadium would move to this new building, including Racer Track & Field. The athletic performance center will have a new athletic training area, a weight room and a team locker room. The athletic performance center would become the heart of the athletics department.
Another plus to the renovation of the Stewart Stadium is the club space created in the middle of the grandstand. The new space will be a space for Murray State coaches to visit with the rookies and their families.
“Everything we’re talking about is going to help us in a number of ways,” Kielser added. “Maybe it’s recovering from workouts, watching workout videos, getting stronger through strength training and conditioning, or being able to study before workouts. Once we have these information spaces, it will be the starting point for all of our teams to be able to maximize the talent that each student-athlete has and that is very exciting.
Tamdra Lawrence, a former runner and the first and only athlete in OVC history to win the 100-meter outdoor championship four years in a row, is also excited about the future of Racer Track & Field. Lawrence competed for the Racers from 2015 to 2019.
“All the new things planned will make the student-athlete experience a thousand times better and it’s exciting because I want to see the program grow and improve,” said Lawrence.
Murray State is expected to host the OVC Track and Field Championships at the Marshall Gage Track in May 2022.