USATF indoor meet director: No shot entries beyond locals
I’m often told, “He who pays the piper calls the tune.” That seems to be the case with the USA National Indoor Track & Field Championships next month in Albuquerque. Four masters exhibitions are set for the meet, but two — the men’s shot and men’s pole vault — are being run by local masters. Brad Winter, a local city councilman, is in charge of the vault, which he’ll take part in. He shared information about this event far and wide. And his field will come from across the country, including several record holders. By contrast, nothing was said about the men’s shot, overseen by Jamie Koch, until I noticed its inclusion on the official schedule. Fortunately, a Midwestern thrower sought out more details and shared them with me, which led to a revealing email note from meet director Rich Ceronie, who explained that local folks were in charge of the vault and shot, and didn’t have to advertise the events.
Here’s my email exchange with meet director Ceronie:
From: Richard Ceronie
Sent: Tue, Jan 12, 2010 7:02 pm
Subject: Re: Fwd: Masters shot exhibition at USA indoor meet
Thank you for copying me of your original e-mail to Coach Franklin. As meet director of the USA Indoor Championships let me clarify for you what is happening. Its amazing to me how such misinformation can get out. At the USA Championships USATF allows the LOC (Local Organizing Committee) to host two exhibition events if they so desire. From my understanding they can be any two events with any criteria so we could have high schools girls 4×40′s, or elementary school kids 60 meter dash. Given I just got here in October, the decision had been made when the bid was submitted earlier in 2009 that there would be a “masters level” exhibition Pole Vault given one of our local City
Councilmen is an avid vaulter, and a “masters level” Shot Put since one of our Board of Regents is such.
This was intended to be comprised of about 6-8 local competitors or people they wanted to compete with. It is not even being officiated by USATF, but most likely by our local volunteer organization or even our New Mexico coaching staff. So this is not an event for the USA Master Association and we will not be opening it up to be more than what it was intended to be.
So in summary, this should not be publicized for being a national event since it was just intended to be some local folks getting together for a friendly competition. I trust this will assist in clarifying the situation.
Here’s my reply to Rich:
Many thanks for the quick reply and honest explanation.
Although everything U say appears true and reasonable, the perception may be quite different.
In fact, expect some blowback.
Mr. Koch’s shot exhibition — unlike Brad’s vault — will be seen as a self-indulgent exercise with a bunch of throwing buddies. At least Brad’s vault field has a number of world-class jumpers, and many from outside New Mexico.
The masters community is acutely aware of the danger of embarrassment on a national stage. If the distances achieved in the masters shot aren’t respectable, the USATF Masters T&F Committee may be held accountable, not your LOC. Masters exhibitions are supposed to be a showcase.
It remains to be seen if the masters shot field achieves that standard.
Best of luck.