New All-American standards debut— in three grades for 1st time

The All-American Standards, a longtime revenue stream for National Masters News, are being updated. For the first time, the AAs come in three flavors — Gold, Silver and Bronze. The first batch — for running events only — was posted last weekend on “The standards are now based on the Age-Graded tables,” says Jeff Brower, chair of the AA Standards Committee. “An age-graded percentage has been set for each level (Gold, Silver and Bronze) in each event and the performance required to meet each level has been calculated.” I had other questions, for Jeff and NMN publisher Amanda Scotti, and Jeff graciously provided details. Amanda declined to share info on how much money the AAs mean to the monthly. (See what they sell.)

NMN advertises the AA standards and awards program at top of its homepage.

But Amanda told me: “Yes, our being the processors of the All-American awards does help fund the production of National Masters News.”

Suzy Hess of Oregon, a former NMN publisher, tells me the awards were not a huge money-maker, but “the one thing we were careful about was making sure the applications were applied for correctly and the athletes truly did document their results and follow the AA lists. Their result had to match meet results and sometimes the applications were sent back to the applicant due to incorrect data, or to not having the mark/distance even on the AA charts, for one reason or another.”

I haven’t compared the new and old standards, but I collated them into two PDFs:

Here’s my quickie Q&A with Jeff: Who is on your committee? Who came up with the new standards?

Jeff Brower: I received tremendous input from Jim Cawley, Michael Fortunato and Stefan Waltermann, but hours of research into historical data and input from hundreds of athletes and MTF leaders over the last 8 years drove the process as well. In the end, it was my call regarding some of the specific approaches.

When will field event and combined-event standards be posted?

No idea, hopefully before 2018.

Why three sets of standards? What age-graded percentages are involved in the tiers?

We could have developed 12 sets of standards, or remained with just one. We compromised and decided upon three. The age-graded percentage varies by event and gender, and the difference between the standards also varies.

In all cases, we rounded the calculations UP, which means the precise age-graded percentage actually varies slightly, and anyone can calculate these values easily. For example, we used 85%/80%/75% for the men in the long hurdles. It’s important to note that, once a percentage was determined, it was applied to ALL ages for that gender in that event. The integrity and reliance of USATF Masters upon the age-graded calculations in the combined events drove us to apply it to these standards.

What are your hopes for expanding the standards? Goals for the program?

We will continuously review the standards and tweak them where needed, and of course we’re working on the field and combined events as we speak. The reliance upon age-grading means that these standards WILL change when the age-graded tables change, which is roughly once or twice every decade.

Anything else my readers should know about the new standards?

Visit for up-to-the-minute information.

Me again: Collecting AA patches, pins, certificates and paperweights is fine. Just not my cup of Coke. (I prefer photos of myself beating 8-year-olds.) Good to see the standards reviewed, though.

Lemme know if they make sense. Are three varieties a good thing or bad?

I figure anything that keeps NMN a viable business is cool. Nobody is being forced to pay for the AA merchandise. Will you apply for them?

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January 12, 2017

9 Responses

  1. Michael D Walker - January 14, 2017

    The revised standards look to be pretty tough especially in some events and age groups so the number of All Americans may actually drop.
    I think the All American concept is good and revising them seemed to be long overdue.
    I am unlikely to order any of the AA merchandise but then I seldom train hard enough to worry about it anyway.

  2. Louise Guardino - January 14, 2017

    Oy! That was a lot of work to come up with the new standards. Thanks to those who suffered through the effort. Standards: Tough. Too bad there is not a Tin level.

  3. Mary Harada - January 16, 2017

    I agree with Louise – a tin level would be good – tough standards for the 80+ women – those are the ones I looked at closely. I use to be able to exceed the All American standards for the middle distance events – but no more. I could never get the sprint ones – now I do not see a single event that I could meet even with serious training. It will be interesting to see how this works for other age groups.

  4. MikeF - January 16, 2017

    I like the standards…some seem really out of rech (like silver and gold) but bronze (in my 60-64 age group and events at least)are generally a tad more approachable. And yes, I am motivated by the standards…I do shoot for them and typically eek out one on every 5 year age group…that being said, these bronze standrs enable a n athlete of my caliber to possibly reach said standards in more than one event. Bravo on all of the hard work it must have taken…and thank you.

    ONE QUESTION: when do these take effect????


  5. Jeff Davison - January 17, 2017

    No doubt a difficult task … and it has taken many years and many individuals to tacKle this.

    Tables even list M95 and M100 hurdles … which hasn’t actually happened yet … the oldest American hurdles have been M90 bracket. Not an easy task to create these m95 and m100 e tables.

  6. Ed Rhyne - February 9, 2017

    First off, I doubt elite level masters athletes (AR-holders, WR-holders, WMA finalists, and national champions) even pay attention to these standards, because many of them easily surpass these marks. So it looks like the standards really target the rest of us athletes.

    The gold standard appears to be reachable by only the better of the best and above, while the silver and bronze standards are, in my opinion very low. I used to be able to consistently reach AA status in one or 2 events each year with my best performance. Now, it’ll be a reach for me to reach the gold standard in any event. But I’ll be able to reach AA silver status easily in 4 or more events, even with poor performances.

    I looks like Amanda expanded the standards to allow more athletes to reach AA status and I get that. Especially since the gold standard is so high. While I do like the idea of having the standards—it’s a good tool for helping athletes set performance goals—I feel like they’ve lost a bit of what used to make them special.

  7. Daniel Stotter - March 30, 2017

    When do the new All American Standards take effect? And will we will still qualify under the old field event standards for the 2017 season?

  8. Salvatore Delle Palme - July 9, 2017

    I think 2 sets of standards is enough:

    #1 ALL AMERICAN: realistic standards that many athletes can shoot for, similar to the current ‘Bronze’ level.

    #2 ALL AMERICAN ELITE: extremely difficult to achieve, similar to your ‘Gold’ level.

  9. Bob S - September 8, 2017

    I like the 3 levels of All-American status. Just like in the real world, you dish out Gold, Silver, and Bronze so this suits that well. I’ve not yet competed on the Masters level but have wanted to for several years now. I am taking this to all of our alumni track guys that I’m in touch with and we’re going to use this to see how many of us can reach All-American status at any level in however many events we can. Something to shoot for as you get older.

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