Linda Cohn spears top award at Southern California Striders dinnerIn any other club, Linda Cohn would be Athlete of the Year pretty much every year. But when you’re a member of the Southern California Striders вЂ” with legends such as Stan Whitley, Kathy Bergen, Rita Hanscom and Johnnye Valien вЂ” it’s hard to get noticed. But Linda had a great 2012 season, and her club gave her its top trophy, named for the late sprint guru Dr. Robert Watanabe. But Linda is known for her big heart as well as strong arm. She’s the W55 American record holder in the javelin, and she bestowed two 500-gram spears on Linn Dunton and Rita as she looks forward to throwing the 400-gram stick as a W60 in 2013. Becky Sisley’s AR is toast.
The other highlight of the Striders award banquet in Stanton, California, two Saturdays ago was the presence of at least five Olympic legends вЂ” sprinters Barbara Ferrell Edmonson and John Carlos and high jumpers Ed Caruthers, Otis Burrell and Reynaldo Brown. See photos by Chris Stone.
Barbara, a sprint coach at UNLV who used to be at USC, was the featured speaker at the Park Avenue Restaurant. She mainly spent 20 minutes praising the super-fit Striders and sharing self-deprecating stories of her lack of tech-awareness.
“This is the best group of people I’ve seen in a long time,” Barbara said. “Look around. You look good!”
Knowing that she once held the world record in the 4×100 (as well as the 100-meter WR), I asked her reaction to the 40.82 WR set by the U.S. team at London. (Her 1968 team with Wyomia Tyus ran 42.8). She was impressed, of course. But then I asked what her Mexico City team would have run with the same track. She replied: “38 or 39.” Ever the elite athlete.
Attorney and state assistant DA Rita Hanscom handled MC duties at the dinner (and very well), and noted this was the 57th year of the Striders (which began as a postcollegiate club and morphed into masters-centric team a few decades ago).
Other awards were handed out as well, including the Renegade Award (which both I and my wife have won in recent years). This year’s recognition for the team-player-and-hard-worker was Steve Melendez, who has overcome serious illness and life crises to become a top-notch M60 long sprinter.
Among the 60-member audience at the banquet was Amanda Scotti, the W50 national sprint champion for Golden West TC who has joined an exodus from that Sacramento-based club for the Striders along with Liz Palmer (who recently moved to Boston). And a late arrival was Pete Magill, the 5K superstar who had watched his son play in a JC playoff football game earlier in the evening.
Brenda Matthews, current Striders president, got a bouquet of flowers from Rick Muth on behalf of the awards dinner committee. Former Striders presidents Hugh Cobb and Al Escobosa also were recognized.