Originally conceived as a post-season invitational for the states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, the Southwest Classic debuted in 1930 and was conducted until the Depression caused the meet to close in 1933. An organization of coaches and track officials resurrected the meet in 1978 with 125 invited athletes from the states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. In 30 years the meet has grown to include over 600 invited athletes from the states of: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah.
High School athletes from around the country, and even around the world, are invited to compete at the Great Southwest. Presently the Great Southwest Classic is recognized as one of the top four postseason regional/national track and field invitational in the nation.
2014 will be the 39th edition of the Southwest Classic. The meet will include three days of competition. On Thursday, June 5, 2014, the events of the 39th annual Southwest Classic Decathlon and Heptathlon will begin. Friday, June 6th, will feature the second day of the Decathlon and Heptathlon. Then on Saturday June, 7th, over fifty events will be contested for the 39th annual Great Southwest Track & Field Classic.
The major purpose of the Southwest Classic is to provide the outstanding boy and girl athletes in each state the opportunity to compete in a regional invitational meet. Over the years the quality of the competition has resulted in national rankings and recognition for the athletes. For the past 31 years many of the participating athletes have received scholarships to college as a result of their performances at the meet, in addition to being invited to national invitational meets. A number of Southwest Classic alums have gone on to compete in the Olympic Games, US Olympic Trials, and the NCAA Championships. The meet features five relay events (4 x 800, 4 x 400, 4 x 200, 4 x 100, 4×100/110 Meter Hurdle Shuttle Relay) which the selection committee has the option of inviting the state’s all-star relay members and/or a school team that represents their state.