Texas A&M University - Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium
Texas A&M University’s Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium has raised the bar in sports with its state-of-the-art, six-lane, 200-meter track system, featuring a Mondotrack surface.
Full Name of Facility: The Rhonda & Frosty Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium
Total Capacity: 5,000
Size of Track: 200 Meters
Opening Date: January 24, 2009
The key elements in this track are the two curved sections that can be banked for high-speed running events. Even more attractive is the hydraulic system that raises and lowers the surface with just a push of a button – a process can be completed in a few minutes. Pat Henry, Texas A&M’s track and field head coach, says that when choosing among tracks for the new facility, he knew a banked track could enable athletes to achieve qualifying times at prestigious meets.
Best equipment gives best times
The Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium at Texas A&M has been established as an envious setting for highly anticipated track meets. This includes the NCAA Division I Indoor Championships and the Texas A&M – Mondo Challenge, where track and field athletes from two rival athletic conferences vied for bragging rights.
The $38 million facility was completed in December 2008, and is one of the largest collegiate indoor track and field facilities in the U.S. It also boasts one of the world’s few hydraulic banked tracks in the country.
“It’s almost impossible to run a qualifying time on a 200 meter flat track anymore,” says Henry. “A banked track allows the athletes to achieve their best possible times and enable them to qualify for championship meets.”
A banked track lets runners maintain their speed going into turns for faster overall times. “On a flat surface, runners have to slow down to make turns. But with a banked track, athletes can maintain their speeds because there’s much less deceleration at turns.”
Versatility works for everyone
With the hydraulic system, Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium is not limited to just track and field events. The hydraulic tracks can be lowered to be perfectly flat. When the track is level with the surrounding surfaces, the facility can easily be used for other sports or activities. In addition, the track and the rest of the floor are easier to clean when the track is in the lowered position.
Henry was familiar with the Mondo banked track at the University of Arkansas. “It had the kind of banking that I felt was appropriate for the best performances, so I talked to Mondo about getting a track with the same radius and banking,” he said. “If we could do that, then we would have one of the best, and fastest, tracks in the country.”
Another aspect of this hydraulic track is the ability to adjust it to any interval, which is perfect for a variety of training purposes and levels of competition. Assisting with the winning performances, the Mondotrack FTX surface provides high-quality shock absorption, skid resistance, force reduction, and overall comfort for the athletes as they practice and compete.
Mondo’s reputation for success
The university also chose a Mondo track in part because of the company’s longevity and consistent quality. “In my 38 years of coaching, I’ve dealt with Mondo extensively,” says Henry. “Unlike many other companies that are in business for only a few years, Mondo is a stable company that back their products with the best in service.”
Just as the veteran coach envisioned, the Mondo track is very fast. In a little more than two years, eight collegiate track records have been set on the track. “We’ve had some great performances on the Mondo track,” says Henry. “We wanted a track that would let athletes perform their best and Mondo has proven that it does.”
In addition, Henry says the Mondotrack surface is holding up very well. “We’ve run a lot of meets on it, and we’ve been very pleased with its strength and wear. It’s doing everything Mondo said it would.”
Calling all athletes
With a gleaming new venue and state-of-the-art track, Texas A&M has been selected to host several prestigious meets in the past few years, including two NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships (2009 and 2011).
“Having such a great facility with an equally great track lets you be considered to host national championships,” says Henry. “People around the country understand what a wonderful facility Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium is, and that we have a superb, fast track. We’re proud to have such a magnificent indoor track and field facility with a world-class track system from Mondo.”
In addition to the championship running track, the Gilliam facilities also include eight independent sprint lanes, two long and triple jump sand pits, four pole vault runways, and two throwing rings.
In order to facilitate a cheering crowd, the stadium features a pre-engineered bleacher system with press boxes and portable grandstands to seat over 4,100. A high-quality climate control system adds to the comfortable, fully air conditioned environment. Completing the structure are two press boxes, fully operating concessions, and restroom facilities for meets and other events