Twilight Throwers rescues USA Masters Throws Championships

What if they had a USA [corrected from USATF] Masters Throws Championships but nobody offered to host it? Such a scenario loomed for 2014, when USATF Masters Throws Coordinator Jerry Bookin-Weiner announced at 2013 Lisle throws nationals that no bids were in hand for the annual meet. But according to Jim Burgoyne, a group stepped up to hold the 2014 edition August 2-3 — at College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts. “The first step was to organize the Twilight Throwers as a formal club and organized as a not-for-profit organization,” Jim writes. “Working with Steve Vaitones and Mike Travers from the USATF New England Association, we were able to gain approval to move forward with a bid. … Final approval for our bid was received the week leading up to the 2014 Masters Indoor Nationals (where I helped as throws coordinator) and we have been working very hard to put on the same high-caliber meet that has been the norm for this event in the past.” The meet includes the multis.

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Jim further writes:

Bob Cedrone and I will be co-meet directors and will be supported on the LOC by Twilight Throwers Founder President Jim Chamberas. We have asked Nicole Bullock to be our officials coordinator.

Registration is open and we hope to have over 100 participants this year.

The College of the Holy Cross has been great to work with and they are adding an additional throwing circle to meet the needs of this meet.

For more information, people can go to the meet website.

So the Traveling Tribe of Throwers, or T3 as I now call them, will have their own nationals after all. Good for them! And thanks to Jim et al for founding the Twilight Throwers (T2?).

Now if we could only have a USA Masters Jumps Nationals (adding the standing long jump and standing high jump to up the number of events). Then we’d be in heaven.

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May 3, 2014

11 Responses

  1. Bob Cedrone - May 4, 2014

    Ken – I don’t know why this is the case, but the official title of the meet is the USA Masters Throws Championships, and NOT the USATF Masters Throws Championships as you referenced in the header of your article. It is a small difference, but we ran into a little problem early on when printing up press releases and other meet-related literature. Why “USATF” would not want to have their brand associated with the meet in the title remains an unanswered question, but that is how the information was relayed to Jim Burgoyne and me.

  2. Ken Stone - May 4, 2014

    Thanks for the note, Bob.

    In fact, most championships USATF runs are labeled USA championships. Don’t know why. (I’ll check with my Indy sources.)

    I also learned in my 2-minute research today that the USA Masters Throws Championships didn’t exist before 2009. They had separate pentathlon meets.

    Check out the 2008 schedule:
    http://www.usatf.org/Events—Calendar/National-Championships.aspx?year=2008

    They had TWO masters throws meets:
    http://www.usatf.org/events/2008/USAMastersWeightPentathlonChampionships/
    http://www.usatf.org/events/2008/USAMastersWeightSuperweightChampionships/

    Weird.

  3. Ken Stone - May 4, 2014

    Another weirdness: The vast majority of national championships on the USATF calendar aren’t called USATF championships.
    http://www.usatf.org/Events—Calendar/National-Championships.aspx?year=2014

  4. Bert Bergen - May 4, 2014

    Not a thrower but nice to see my alma mater , Holy Cross, get get a little press . They are going to love that campus .

  5. tb - May 4, 2014

    “USA Championship” is a pretty good way to name nationals.

    If I remember correctly, West Seattle also had the first ultra weight championships the day after (?) the weight and super weight. At the time, the weight was being excluded from nationals, which left the weight, weight pentathlon, super weight, and ultra weight pentathlon uncontested. They rolled these all together into the Throws Championships at Mac Wilkins’ Concordia center the next year, but nationals added the weight; perhaps to limit defections.

  6. Cathy Baar - May 4, 2014

    Nice to see this meet! I will be in an intensive Masters Degree-level class at the time so I can’t be there, but I would like to “like” Twilight Throwers so I don’t miss any more competitions. Kudos!

  7. Jim Burgoyne - May 4, 2014

    We “Like” Likes! :)

  8. Ken Stone - May 5, 2014

    USATF spokeswoman Jill Geer tells me:

    You’ll be seeing more “USATF Championships” in 2015 and beyond. The reason behind USA and not USATF is a little wordy. But as you can see from a few event listings this year, we are moving in that direction from a branding perspective.

  9. Ken Stone - May 5, 2014

    Michael Roth posted on FB:
    “pro” events get the usa designation, “amateur” events get the usatf designation.

  10. John Stilbert - May 8, 2014

    I don’t believe this story is entirely accurate. I have it on good authority that a serious and viable bid was in to host this competition in the Austin-
    San Antonio Texas area, but the East coast was strongly preferred because the event was held in the central part of the US the previous year and they like to rotate it around geographically. So a more accurate lead would have been “What if they had a USA Masters Throws Championships and they wanted to do it ‘in the Northeast’, but nobody there offered to host it…until the last minute? Granted, it’s not much of a story, but that is the story.

  11. Jerry Bookin-Weiner - May 8, 2014

    John, you are correct. The story isn’t entirely accurate. Neither, I might add, is yours, though it does add some elements of truth that Ken missed (or didn’t know about).

    Let me start by saying that the USA Masters Throws Championships is not an easy meet to host – not because we throwers are a difficult bunch, which we aren’t – but because of the technical requirements for the facility. There need to be five separate venues for each of the five events in the Throws Pentathlon with sectors that do not intersect. And the sectors need to meet the exacting standards of flatness in the IAAF rulebook – a downward slope of no more than 1:1000 – that’s 5cm (about 2″) in 50m, which is about as far as just about any masters thrower throws anything and basically imperceptible to the naked eye. There also needs to be a place somewhere at the venue where there is a slab of concrete from which the ultraweights can be thrown onto an equally flat surface. There are very, very few college facilities that have five separate venues for the five different implements with sectors that do not intersect. The typical college facility doesn’t even have five separate sectors, much less five non-intersecting sectors. And many college facilities directors don’t want to let outside groups in because of liability fears/football obsession/you name it….

    And, if there is a facility that meets the requirements and a facility manager willing to allow his/her facility to be used, there also needs to be a group of masters athletes/officials locally willing and able to host the meet. We’ve been very fortunate up til now in having George Mathews and Mac Wilkins in 2009, Ruth Welding and Sue Hallen in 2010 and 2013, Carl Reichard in 2011, George Mathews again in 2012, and now the Twilight Throwers in 2014. We have others lining up for at least the next two years as well at facilities that we know pass muster.

    It is true that when we started with this meet in 2009 the stated goal was to have it in the western third of the country, followed by the central third, followed by the eastern third on a three year rotation. So far, now six years in, we’ve managed to keep to that rotation and it looks like we will be able to maintain it for many cycles into the future.

    Yes, there was interest from a group in the Austin (more precisely San Marcos) area in Texas. Unfortunately the facility has some limitations and we are still waiting (at least I am) to hear if they can be overcome in order to hold this meet there in the future. The central third of the country would come up again in 2016 and I’m hopeful that the group led by Seth Brower will either solve the issues that he and I discovered during a site visit last fall at Texas State in San Marcos or find another facility in the area (reportedly UT-San Antonio has a workable facility, though there hasn’t been a site visit yet).

    There also was interest from several places in the east as we searched for a venue – in fact I inspected two venues and John Seto looked at two or three others on my behalf. Unfortunately there were issues with each of those venues as well – sloping fields and intersecting sectors being the usual culprits. Meanwhile, the Twilight Throwers were always in the background expressing interest in hosting the meet at Holy Cross but there were some local issues to overcome there too. Those were finally resolved in the fall, and they were able to put together an official bid by early January.

    So, it’s not that no one was willing to host the meet in the east; it’s that no one was willing to host the meet at an acceptable facility in the east until the Twilight Throwers cleared away the local issues last fall. Their persistence and willingness to clear away hurdles has been exemplary and at Holy Cross we have a wonderful facility that meets all of our specifications and an institution that looks forward to welcoming us – led by their head track and field coach Jim Kavanagh, a thrower himself.

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