Decade-long event

The 10th Annual Dunkirk Invitational will kick off today at Karl Hoeppner Field with 18 schools competing.

The 18 teams include Cassadaga Valley, Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Chautauqua Lake, Dunkirk, East Aurora, Fredonia, Frontier, Gowanda, Hamburg, Immaculata, Iroquois, Jamestown, Kenmore East, Orchard Park, Silver Creek, Springville, St. Francis, Sweet Home and Westfield.

“It looks like some pretty tough competition with some strong teams,” Dunkirk coach Kurt Warmbrodt said. “We have quite a few large schools and some smaller schools. We have a lot of kids who will go to states out of this meet I anticipate. There is that kind of level of talent here.”

Along with the state of the art facility Dunkirk has, a big draw to other schools is the chance to compete in the steeplechase, which begins at 4:30 p.m.

“All the teams enjoy our quality facility,” Warmbrodt said. “That’s a big draw, but having the steeplechase is a big one. That’s a hard event for other schools to have. There isn’t always steeplechase.”

More importantly, today’s invitational will serve as a test run as the CCAA League meet will be held at Dunkirk on Friday, May 23 and Saturday, May 24 for the first time in Warmbrodt’s tenure, which spans 16 years.

“We are looking forward to showcase this beautiful facility,” Warmbrodt said. “We are always hoping for good weather, but it’s kind of iffy. When it rains, it’s hard to keep everyone warm.”

The event is free to the public.