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Track and Field Athletes Gear Up for NCAA Preliminaries at Sac State

SACRAMENTO -- Hundreds of track and field athletes are making their way to Sacramento State for the NCAA Division 1 Outdoor Track and Field Preliminary Championships.

The athletes are hoping the upcoming weekend could send them to the national championships in Oregon.

"Definitely some nerves come with this stage when you see a bunch of great athletes out here. But I mean, it's only a good thing to kind of rise to the occasion," said Sac State senior Carly Schulz.

"I kind of get an adrenaline rush seeing everyone," said freshman Shilah Bedingfield.

There is a reason for the excitement. Around 1,700 athletes from more than 140 colleges west of the Mississippi will be there to compete.

"It's huge for Sacramento. We are talking about 1,700 athletes, plus their coaches and administrators, families and friends," said Mike Sophia, director of the Sacramento Sports Commission.

Sophia expects the event could have a "$5 to $6 million economic impact." He says his organization works to bring sporting events, like the NCAA men's basketball tournament and others, to the region because they know its big money. That money could go to restaurants, hotels and rental bus companies in Sacramento.

"They have a good time here. They have a great experience. They come back but they are spending money while they are here," Sophia told FOX40.

For the athletes, including the nine representing Sac State, it's about getting to the next round and hopefully hoisting a national championship.

"No one looks to us to do something big and we are going to come out and take some spots," Barger said.