The USA South Conference Spring Championships that were held at North Carolina Wesleyan and the Rocky Mount Sports Complex in 2013 will return in 2014 and 2015. The event brings student athletes and visitors from 13 colleges and universities to the region.
In addition, the 2014 competitions will mark the 50th anniversary of the USA South Athletic Conference, formerly the Dixie Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Last spring, more than 850 athletes and spectators came to the Rocky Mount area between April 11 and 14 to enjoy conference tournaments in five sports: baseball, softball, women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s tennis, and men’s golf. Visitors spent an estimated $1 million at hotels, restaurants, and local businesses.
Wesleyan President Jim Gray served as chairman of the organizing committee for the first year’s event and will continue in that role for 2014. “We are reaching out to the community,” he said. “We want Rocky Mount to really participate, to take ownership of this tournament.”
Gray said that he and the City and others worked for several years on bringing the tournaments to the area before their hopes became a reality. The championships had been held in Burlington, N.C., for more than half a dozen years.
The Rocky Mount Sports Complex was the venue for competition in softball and women’s lacrosse. Men’s golf held its tournament at Benvenue Country Club, and Wesleyan was proud to host men’s and women’s tennis at its new Slick Family Foundation Tennis Center. Baseball was played in Wilson, N.C., at Fleming Stadium, and in Zebulon, N.C., at Five County Stadium.
Schools that make up the conference are Averett University, Covenant College, Ferrum College, Greensboro College, Huntingdon College, LaGrange College, Mary Baldwin College, Maryville College, Meredith College, Methodist University, and North Carolina Wesleyan College, Piedmont College, and William Peace University.
Planners for the 2014 championships welcome the opportunity to showcase the area’s assets. They hope that the past success of the tournaments at Wesleyan and in Rocky Mount and the area will open up other opportunities for the region. Dates for the 2014 Spring Festival are April 10 – 13.