York County has been selected to host the 2018 USA Judo Youth National Championships, which will run Saturday and Sunday, March 3-4, at the York Expo Center’s Utz Arena.
According to the York County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the event will draw as many as 700 competitors from around the nation, while up to 900 spectators are expected to fill the stands.
The YCCVB estimates that the event will drive more than $928,000 into the local economy.
York County previously hosted USA Judo’s Youth Championship in 2009, when it was known as the USA Judo National Youth and Scholastic Championships.
“After an excellent experience in 2009, we’re thrilled to bring our youth championships back to York County,” said Keith Bryant, chief executive officer of USA Judo in a news release. “Not only will USA Judo have the opportunity to work with a proven partner, but we’ll be bringing our championship event closer to the strong judo community in the Northeast. We look forward to showcasing this dynamic sport for new and old fans alike and invite anyone interested in learning more about judo to come out and watch this March.”
Other recent hosts include Reno, Nevada, and Irving, Texas.
The YCCVB lured the event to York County through its Sport York program, which aims to recruit sporting events that bring visitors to York County. Over the past decade, Sport York has attracted several Team USA events, including USA Handball, USA Softball, USA Judo and USA Taekwondo, which was the very first Olympic qualifying event hosted in York.
“Hosting a national championship event, especially for an organization tied to Team USA, will increase York County’s exposure to people from all over the United States,” said Laura Gurreri, who oversees the Sport York program as sales director at the YCCVB, in the news release. “The influx of youth athletes also presents an excellent opportunity to showcase York County to a younger generation of guests who may decide to visit us again in the future.”
The event will be open to the public.
“Hosting youth sports offers the greatest return on investment, considering the compounding economic potential for our community,” said Anne Druck, president of the YCCVB in the news release. “Youth athletes have the greatest opportunities to return as visitors, students and residents, ensuring York County’s vitality for years to come.”