The Top Contenders At the USATF Masters Champs

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

INDIANAPOLIS - Many of America's finest masters athletes will compete for national championships this week at the 2008 USA Track & Field Masters Outdoor Championships at Spokane Falls Community College in Spokane, Washington.

The USA Masters Outdoor Championships annually showcases extraordinary demonstrations of speed, power, skill and endurance by many of the world's finest masters track and field athletes, proving that age is no barrier to lifetime fitness. Athletes compete in five-year age divisions, beginning at age 30.

For a full meet schedule and entry list, see:

Below is a list of many of the top masters athletes competing this week in Spokane, followed by a list of local Spokane athletes, who will challenge for national honors. The lists were compiled by Pete Taylor, Media Committee member and USA Masters Championships meet announcer.

1. Carmen Ayala-Troncoso. Ayala-Troncoso, who represented the United States in the World Cross-Country Championships in both 1994 and 2000, and who participated in the U.S. Olympic Trials at age 41 (5,000-meter run), will make her national masters track debut in the outdoor championships in Spokane. Ayala-Troncoso is entered in the 800 and 1,500 meters in the 45-49 age group.. She is the American record holder for the 5,000m in both the 40-44 and 45-49 divisions.

2. Patricia Porter. A 1988 Olympian, Patricia "Trish" Porter (nee King) will be the favorite in the women's high jump in Spokane. Porter, who holds the world mark for women aged 40-44 of 1.76 meters/5 feet, 9.25 inches, will be jumping in the 45-49 group. Porter now lives in New Mexico, but competed for the University of Oregon.

3. Karen Steen. A standout at Pacific Lutheran University (Tacoma, Washington) some years ago as an intermediate hurdler, Steen is entered in the 2,000-meter steeplechase at Spokane. In 2005, she set a world mark for the 40-44 group in this event (7:05.06, or 5:42 per mile over barriers and water jumps).

4. Steve Robbins. A Seattle resident, Robbins ran for the University of Arizona in the early 1960s and, more recently, has won eleven world championships in the masters sprints. Entered in the 65-69 group, earlier this year he ran an unthinkable 25.20 in the 200m for a world mark. Robbins will be very hard to beat in the 100 and 200.

5. Ed Burke. Ed carried the U.S. flag into the Los Angeles Coliseum during the 1984 Olympic Games. That year marked his third Olympics, and 24 years later he can still spin the hammer a long way. In fact, he owns the world mark for men 65-69 in the hammer (55.72 meters/182 feet, 10 inches), and the Californian should be untouchable at Spokane.

6. Lorna Forde. In the 1970s Lorna Forde simply "owned" the world-famous Penn Relays. The former Long Island University star competed in two Olympics for her native Barbados and has been enshrined in the Penn Relays "Wall of Fame." Watch for her in the sprints at Spokane (55-59 group).

7. Sal Allah. Saladin "Sal" Allah is without peer when it comes to combining style and power, and no one has been able to better the 1:54.18 he ran in the 800 three years ago at age 45. Allah pulled off the difficult 400/800 national championship double in 2006 and '07, and look for him to do it again this year. Allah, who resides in New Jersey, could no doubt run for all of that state's colleges or universities right now.

8. Bill Collins. At age 57, Collins ran 11.44 in the 100 at the Penn Relays this year, a world mark for men 55-59. Unlike many masters standouts, Collins was a huge star as a collegian (All-American at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas) and as an open performer (ran on the world record U.S. team in the 4x100 in 1977 at Dusseldorf 38.03 seconds). Collins will be favored to win the 100, 200, and 400 at Spokane, and don't bet against him, as he has emerged as the greatest male masters sprinter in U.S. history, even surpassing the legendary Payton Jordan.

9. Carol Finsrud. A University of Texas standout, who threw in the Olympic Trials as recently as 2000, Finsrud is one of the finest throwers the U.S. masters program has ever produced. Finsrud holds the American masters records in the discus for 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, and 50-54, with the last record a world mark of 45.66m/149-10 that she achieved in Italy last summer. Watch for Finsrud (she lives in Lockhart, Texas) to tear things up in Spokane.

10. Donna Schultz. From Portland, Oregon, Schultz will be looking to "touch the sky" in the pole vault for women aged 50-54. Donna is the world indoor record holder in this age group (3.11 meters/10 feet 2.44 inches) and may go higher at Spokane.

11. Jeanne Daprano. "The Versatile One" can do it all, and this Georgian will show her stuff once again at Spokane. The world record holder in the mile for women aged 70-74 (6:47.91), Daprano won the 400 and 800 at last year's worlds and should go to the front in any race she enters.

12. Nolan Shaheed. The best musician in the field, Nolan (Pasadena, Calif.) was the musical director for Marvin Gaye and played lead trumpet with the Count Basie Orchestra. On the track, he won the 1,500 and 5,000 in world championships last year and was named USA Track & Field Male Masters Athlete of the Year. He will be tough to beat, although Horace Grant will give him all he wants in the 800.

13. Paul Babits. This Fort Wayne, Ind., sensation could probably beat 98% of collegiate pole vaulters -- very impressive for a man who competes in the 45-49 age group. This winter Babits cleared an amazing 5.15m/16-10.75 for a world indoor record.

14. Val Barnwell. The reigning world outdoor champion in the 100m, Barnwell scorched a 7.18 in the 60 meters in winning the 2008 world indoors and establishing a world mark. Excellent for high school, good for college, but Barnwell (Brooklyn, N.Y.) is in the 50-54 age group!

15. Kathy Martin. The first-ever USATF national Masters Athlete of the Year (2004), Kathy holds a slew of records and should dominate in Spokane. One of her best marks is the American standard for the mile in the 50-54 group (5:15.55). Martin, from Northport, N.Y., will compete in 55-59 at Spokane.

16. Bob Lida. This Kansan runs like a young thoroughbred, turning in winning times of 13.26 (100), 26.80 (200), and 1:01.00 (400) at the worlds last year in Italy. Good marks for anyone, but Lida is in the 70-74 age group.

17. Oneithea Lewis. This strongwoman usually has little trouble in collecting gold, and this year should be no exception. Lewis, who competes for the Shore AC of New Jersey, is the American record holder in the shot for 45-49 (13.55m/445.50), but her world hammer record for that age group of 56.22m/184 feet, 5 inches is even more impressive.

18. Bruce McBarnette. A Princeton graduate with a lifetime best of 2.16 meters/7 feet 1 inch in the high jump, McBarnette will have an excellent shot of bettering the existing American record of 1.88 meters/6 feet, 2 inches for men 50-54 established many years ago by Herm Wyatt. McBarnette jumped 2.00m/6-6.75 just two years ago to establish the current American mark for men 45-49.

19. Charles Allie. This Hampton Institute graduate now lives in Pittsburgh and has won multiple world titles in the sprints. Among his greatest efforts was the 52.24 he ran in the 400 several years ago to establish a world mark for men 55-59. Look for Allie to be in front when the M60-64 sprints are decided in Spokane.

20. David Ashford. Ashford'ss unspeakably fast world mark of 13.73 in the 110 hurdles, set in 2003, remains the standard for men 40-44. Ashford, from Wheeling, Ill., is now in the 45-49 group and will be extraordinarily difficult to deny in the hurdles at Spokane.

21. Kay Glynn. If you missed her on David Letterman you can still catch her in Spokane. The acrobatic Glynn, from Hastings, Iowa, will be in a variety of events (55-59 group) and will do well in each one. She has already broken the legendary Phil Raschker's world pole vault record of 3.05 meters/10 feet, for this age group and should garner plenty of gold during the nationals.

22. Frank Condon. From Chico, Calif., Condon broke Earl Fee's world indoor record in the mile for men 65-69 this past March in Boston, running 5:11.43.

23. Nadine O'Connor. O'Connor, who was the silver medalist in the 100 at the 2007 world championships, will forego the sprints at Spokane but will be in the pole vault. O'Connorrecently vaulted 3.06m/10 feet .50 inch for a pending world mark in the 65-69 group. She is from Del Mar, Calif.

24. Orville Rogers. Rogers, of Dallas, Texas, obliterated the existing world indoor mark in the mile this past March in at the USA Masters Indoor Championships Boston and was recognized by Sports Illustrated's Faces in the Crowd. His time was 9:56.58, and his age group was (and is) 90-94. Look for him to do great things in Spokane.

Spokane Area Participants

Several local athletes will be giving the former Olympians tough competition, including a current world record holder, award winning college, high school, and club coaches, and even a former coach of a current USA Track and Field Olympic Team member, American men's outdoor pole vault record holder Brad Walker. Ken Bell (Spokane - Age Group 55-59): Bell is a veteran of USATF Masters events and will be competing in the 800m and 1500m.

Lauriea Blume-Michels. (Spokane - Age Group 40-44): Blume-Michels has competed in several USATF Masters events including her recent success at the Inland Northwest Masters Classic. She will be participating in the 10,000m, 100m, 1,500m, 2000m, Steeplechase, 200m, 400m, and the 5,000m. She is also a member of the Bloomsday Road Runners Club.

Truvor Bodnar. (Spokane - Age Group 65-69): competing in the 500m.

L. Calvin Brown. (Spokane - Age Group 70-74): Brown is a regular in the USATF Masters competition world. In 2003, he earned second place in his age group at the USA Masters Championships in the 10,000m run with an impressive time of 1:02:49. He will be participating in the 10,000m Race Walk, and the 5,000m Race Walk. Calvin is the oldest competitor from Spokane.

Laurie Chadwick. (Spokane - Age Group 45-49) Chadwick will be competing in pole vault and javelin, but she has a long history of sports and coaching. Chadwick is in her 19th year coaching and her sixth at Mead High School. She is a USATF Certified Level 1 & 2 Coach and a former assistant cross country coach at Gonzaga University. Overall her athletes hold 12 school records three three state championships. Besides track and field she is also a gymnastics coach and was awarded the National Gymnastics Coach of the Year in 2002. Chadwick first tried pole vaulting at age 35 and is currently the Inland Northwest age group record holder.

Janet Collar. (Spokane - Age Group 35-39): During the 2007 Bloomsday Road Race, Collar won the Washington State Road Running Championships for her age group. She has competed in previous USATF National Masters Outdoor Track & Field Championships, and recently won the 34th Annual Pelluer Invitational at Eastern Washington University. She will participate in the 800m.

William (Bill) Greene. (Spokane - Age Group 60-64): Greene is a local pediatrician who will be competing in his first USATF Masters Track & Field Championship. Locally, Greene has competed in every Bloomsday Road Race, minus two, since 1979. Bloomsday is the world's largest timed 12 km road race with over 45,000 participants annually.Greene will be competing in the 5,000m.

Zach Hill. (Spokane - Age Group 30-34): Hill will be running the 400m and the 800m.

Reg Hulbert. (Spokane)(Age Group 55-59): Hulbert will be competing against former Olympians, while his protégé Brad Walker will be competing in Beijing as the world's best pole vaulter. Reg was Brad Walkers' first pole vault coach at University High School in Spokane Valley, Wash., 1997-1999. Hulbert will be showing off his own skills while participating in the pole vault.

Linda Lanker. (Coeur d'Alene, Idaho - Age Group 50-54): Lanker currently holds nine Inland Northwest Masters track and field records in the sprints and the hurdles and won Masters Athlete of the Year in 2000. She is the assistant head coach for the men's track and field team for the Community Colleges of Spokane and will be participating in the 100m dash and the 300m hurdles (30in).

Aaron Linerud. (Greenacres, Wash. - Age Group 35-39): Linerud is a part of the Pacific Lutheran University all time top 25 for track and Field. He is also a member of the Bigfoot track club and is participating in the 2kg discus throw, the 16lb hammer throw, and the 800g javelin throw.

George Mathews. (Hayden Lake, Idaho - Age Group 65-69): Mathews is a recent gold medal winner at the 2008 World Masters Indoor Championships for the hammer throw and shot put, which was held in Clermont-Ferrand, France this past March. He is currently a USATF Pacific Northwest Assoc. Masters Track and Field Chairman, and has been involved in organization of several Masters Clubs and events throughout his career. Mathews will be participating in the hammer throw and the shot put.

Karen Miller. (Spokane - Age Group 45-49): Miller is ready to defend her Spokane title! In 1996, the last time this event was hosted in Spokane, Miller finished second in her age group (35-39) in the shot put. She also will participate in the discus throw, long jump and shot put.

Samuel Darle Miller. (Airway Heights - Age Group 75-79): Miller will be competing for gold in several events including the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, long jump and javelin.

Susan Osborn. (Spokane - Age Group 35-39): Osborn is a member of the Bloomsday Road Runner Club and competed in the U.S. Cross Country National Championships in 2005. She will be demonstrating her running prowess in the 1,500m.

Gary Peterson. (Spokane) - Age Group 65-69): Peterson will participate in the discus throw and shot put.

Rick Riley. (Spokane - Age Group 60-64): Riley can boast that he still holds the Greater Spokane League record from Ferris High School in the 1,500m with a time of 4:06:9. He did this in 1966! He will be go for more records in the 1,500m.

Chip Roe. (Deer Park - Age Group 45-49): Roe is participating in the 3000m Steeplechase.Marc Syverson. (Hayden Lake, Idaho - Age Group 35-39): Syverson currently holds a top 10 athlete designation at Westmont College in the triple jump and decathlon. He will be competing in the high jump, javelin throw and the triple jump.

Rich Tucker. (Spokane - 60-64) Tucker, many times a national 800m champion, won the 800m at the Washington State Senior Games with a time of 2.33.3. This time beat his 2006 first place finish at the same games where he raced the 800m in an impressive 2.39.1. Tucker will be competing in 400m and 800m.

Alan Wardsworth. (Spokane Valley - Age Group 45-49): Wardsworth and his wife Liz (see below) have competed in several Masters Track and Field events together. Wardsworth will be going for the gold in the high jump.

Liz Wardsworth (Spokane Valley - Age Group 45-49): Wardsworth is currently one of the coaches for the Greater Spokane Track Club for jumping events. She will be competing in the discus throw, hammer throw, javelin throw and shot put.

Ryan Weidman. (Spokane - Age Group 35-39): Weidman is currently an assistant coach at Spokane Falls Community College. He is also a member of the Big Foot Track Club and will be competing in the hammer and javelin.

Media is invited for coverage and athlete interviews. For more information or interview requests, please call Bob Weiner, USATF Masters Media Chair, at 202-329-1700 (cell), 301-283-0821 (office), or locate Bob trackside; and Suzanne Boyce of Spokane Regional Sports Commission at 509-742-9396.

For more information on the 2008 USA Track & Field Masters Outdoor Championships, visit: