Polk County's Aaron Dickey sails toward the pit during Saturday's long jump competition

It felt Saturday morning like the start of something big.

Especially to Polk County track and field coach Alan Peoples.

“With regard to track at Polk County, as far as indoors and something locally happening, this is the pinnacle,” Peoples said. “It’s big.”

It was the first indoor track and field meet held inside Tryon International Equestrian Center. More accurately, the first half of a track meet.

The WNC Polar Bear Championships kicked off with field events, the 55-meter dash and 55-meter hurdles inside the large indoor arena at TIEC. The Center eventually plans to build a full indoor track and field arena, which will be the only such venue west of JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem.

State high school meets are held at JDL. The state championships are held at JDL. Large college meets are held at JDL. To potentially bring some of those competitions to Polk County? Mind-blowing.

Polk County’s Maggie McCammon clears the bar Saturday during the early rounds of the high jump competition

“When we go to a meet at JDL, we usually leave around noon,” Peoples said. “We get there and start competing around 3:45 until 8:30 or so. We leave and stop and eat. By the time we get home, it’s 12 or 1 a.m.

“We could leave to come here at 3, compete untul 7:30 or 8, go eat and be home before 10.”

Peoples envisions the NCHSAA adding regional indoor track championships – there is only a state meet now – with TIEC involved in those. With the NCHSAA moving to eight classifications in 2025, he could also see four of those classes coming to Polk County for state competition.

The start of something big, indeed.

The WNC Polar Bear will conclude Monday at Polk County High School with the remainder of the track events.