Yo, vaulters: Poles available for rent at Toronto world regional meet

Spiffy medals set for Toronto WMA regionals.

A few weeks ago, word went out that USATF Masters would take reservations for poles it would ship to Toronto for the Aug. 11-13 NCCWMA world regional meet. “If we receive enough reservations, we will ship poles,” said the message to vaulters. Now the USATF and Doug “Shaggy” Smith, NCCWMA meet director, have reached an agreement to rent poles in Toronto. “When you sign the release and pay the fee ($50 USD/$63 CND) you have access to over 30 poles in 10-6, 11-6, 12-0, 13-0 and 14-0 UCS Spirit/Pacer and Gill vaulting poles,” says the new message. “Information, pole list, reservation form and payment available are available here.” Some 860 entrants as of July 21 are listed here, BTW.

July 22, 2017  No Comments

Rex Harvey has cancer setback, won’t step back from USATF roles

Rex watched out for steeple safety at LSU nationals, where Dr. Cheryl Bellaire took a barrier. Dave Albo photo

Rex Harvey reported Thursday on his six-month cancer checkup, and it wasn’t good news. “One tumor is growing a little bit after a year and half of no change, so we will attempt some more treatment,” our national masters chair began in a Facebook post. “I have been accepted into a clinical trial. It is an immunotherapy treatment where they rev up my immune system to kill the cancer cells. It is brand new to my rare kind of appendix cancer, but has been very successful with other types of cancer. I have to have a tumor biopsy and many other tests first and then will begin at least three treatments, one every three weeks in Houston at MD Anderson. Thanks again for all your good wishes and prayers. All together, we are making this work.”

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July 21, 2017  9 Comments

Julia Hawkins at 101 becomes oldest USATF Athlete of the Week

Julia finishes her WR 100 at 101 — heading for the arms of W80 Christel Donley, who won the race in 21.60. Dave Albo photo

With a nickname like “Hurricane,” Julia Hawkins couldn’t help taking the world by storm. In being named USATF Athlete of the Week, she’s likely to hold the title of oldest AoW for a long time — or until she’s picked again. Julia is 101. Just a pup. (The previous record-holder was spring chicken Ida Keeling at 100.) “Hawkins (Baton Rouge, Louisiana), who took up the sport last year at age 100, set a pending world record in the W100 100m after finishing in 40.12,” USATF notes. “Earlier this month, she set another pending world record in the event with her finish of 39.62 at the Senior Games. With such little experience in track and field, Hawkins is quickly building an impressive resume within the sport. But if two pending world records isn’t enough, Hawkins’s participation in the weekend event now makes her the oldest female to compete in USATF Masters history.” She told Indy: “I didn’t feel like I was (breaking the record). Other times I felt like I was flying. This time, I wasn’t feeling like I was going that fast.”

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July 20, 2017  One Comment

Meet Steve Jarvis — world’s fastest M40 kidney transplant recipient

Steve has quite the collection. But he paid a price.

A local UK paper tells the amazing story of an M40 sprinter who has a leg up on 2018 Malaga worlds. In 2004, Steve Jarvis got a kidney from his mother (as detailed here). Originally a judo champ, he turned to track and the World Transplant Games, which recently were in Malaga. In Spain, he won six gold medals and set a WR in the 100 of 11.49. (See results here.) “To run 11.49secs for 100m at 41 is really special; not many athletes in Cornwall run sub 12 seconds, so to run this time at my age blew me away, still hasn’t sank in and I feel there’s more to come,” Steve said. “I took up athletics because I couldn’t do judo any more. I was British judo collegiate champion before I got ill. This was tough to take on board and the athletics was something I had to do to prove to myself that I was capable of doing something special in sports still.” He raises money for his travels via this crowdfunding site. Anyone else with a new kidney have a story to tell?

July 19, 2017  One Comment

Dave Albo laps field when it comes to masters track shots at LSU

Dave’s shots of “Grandpa” Bell are as historic as M95er.

Dave Albo was among the youngest M60s in the 400-meter dash at LSU nationals. He squeaked into the final with an eighth-place 68.85. In the final, Ben James won his 5,000th national one-lap title at 58.43 with Dave nearly 10 seconds behind at 68.12. But Dave’s shutter speed and masterful eye made him a champion at Baton Rouge. And he went home not to rest his bones but exercise his editing and posting skills. On Tuesday he shared a stellar set of William Bell vaulting at 95. He said he posted them on Facebook “just because,” stealing my trademarked excuse for anything. (You’ll be hearing from my lawyers, Colleen Barney and Rita Hanscom.) But maybe not. He might already be a Colleen client (judging from photo). In any case, here’s a case of an artist whose skills absolutely improve with age. Can’t wait to see Dave shoot at 70 and 80! Order some prints from him. And see my bonus Q&A:

Kudos to Joy Upshaw for this shot of Dave (with vest inside out) and her Joy’s Jack Rabbit teammates Gabrielle Johnson (left) and Colleen Barney.

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July 18, 2017  5 Comments

M60 walker Scott McPherson handed 4-year doping suspension

Scott McPherson, an M60 race walker, is the latest masters athlete to be penalized for doping. USADA announced Monday that Scott — who took fifth in the 3K and 10K walks at Daegu worlds — tested positive at Albuquerque indoor nationals for “presence of an exogenous androgenic anabolic steroid and/or its metabolites.” He was the lone entrant in his age group in the mile walk and 3K walk. So if was doping for the sake of an advantage, he certainly didn’t need it. USADA says he’ll be sidelined till 2021: “McPherson’s four-year period of ineligibility began on March 23, 2017, the date his provisional suspension was imposed. In addition, McPherson has been disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to February 18, 2017, the date his positive sample was collected, including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes.” I don’t know Scott, and I’m not sure if he’s the eye doctor in Lubbock I found online. But I’d love to hear his story. Please have him contact me at TrackCEO@aol.com. I suspect he’s more collateral damage than willful cheater.

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July 17, 2017  20 Comments

Bob Lida sets second M80 sprint record; Karnell Vickers was a beast

Karnell Vickers swept the sprints, hurdles and relays in M50. Photo via Facebook

According to weather charts, LSU nationals dodged a bullet — rain — on Day 4, giving sprinters and middle distance runners good footing and field-eventers a chance to breathe outdoor air. Also a slew of relay records. (Results here.) Sunday’s highlights included Bob Lida nipping Payton Jordan’s 20-year-old American record in the M80 200, clocking 30.80 to Payton’s 30.89. He’s a good shot for USATF Athlete of the Week, since he also took down the AR for 400 Friday. USATF’s press release gave due attention to the M60 200, “where In the closest finish of the day, Damien Leake (Van Nuys, California) of SC Striders Track Club narrowly beat Potomac Valley Track Club’s Oscar Peyton (Accokeek, Maryland)…. While Leake established a solid lead from the gun, Peyton closed in and nearly caught him at the end, ultimately finishing within .01 of each other, 25.65-25.66.” Walter Dix didn’t run the M30 deuce. Too bad, he’s in shape for a sub-21. Local fave Mary Norckauer completed her 11th event in the M90 group. But I also was in awe of M50 Karnell Vickers, who won six golds — 100 (11.52), 200 (23.35), 100 hurdles (13.76), 400 hurdles (57.91), 4×100 shuttles and 4×100 relay. (He barely missed Walt Butler’s legendary 13.57 WR in the short hurdles.) Take some Ibuprofen and sleep in, Karnell!

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July 16, 2017  No Comments

Bill Collins, Julia Hawkins collect insurance WRs (both 2nd best)

Bill huffed and puffed his way to another national sprint title — his 5 millionth. Dave Albo photo

Bill Collins guaranteed himself another world record Saturday. At LSU nationals, for the second time this season, he beat the listed M65 WR of 12.37 for 100 (by Steve Robbins and a Slovak) with his 12.34 into a 0.8 mps wind. At Penn in April, Bill zipped 12.33, which really should be vetted and posted by now. (Records czar Jeff Brower’s Google Doc says that mark awaits a FAT photo and zero-control test, which must have been done at such an important meet.) Also assured a WR is W100 Julia Hawkins, who can count on her Baton Rouge 40.12 to be her age group’s debut 100 WR if her National Senior Games’ 39.62 doesn’t pass muster. She was such a star the Washington Post covered her. But two 64-year-olds served notice that they have Bill’s 100 mark in their sights a year from now. Damien Leake beat Oscar Peyton 12.23 to 12.32 in their M60 showdown. As expected, “Grandpa” William Bell became the oldest vaulter on record by clearing 1.35 (4-5) on his first try. He passed 1.40 (4-7), then had his first miss of the morning at 1.45 (4-). Three and out. Still, he secured an M95 WR for the world to chase.

Damien Leake edges Oscar Peyton for the second straight year in M60 100. Both will be M65 next year, when both challenge Bill Collins’ WR. Dave Albo photo

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July 15, 2017  3 Comments

400s sizzle at LSU nationals, but rain/lightning hamper hurdlers

Another day of contrasts at LSU nationals. Day 2 saw American records in the M50 and M80 400-meter dashes — and a near-miss in M40 and W50. And lightning led meet officials to delay seven short-hurdles finals until Saturday morning, along with some throws. But USATF jumped the gun declaring M50 Khalid Mulazim’s 51.13 a world record, even though it beat the listed WR of 51.39 by Fred Sowerby in 1999. (We’ve been reporting how Germany’s Roland Gröger has been chipping away at Sowerby, topped by his 50.73 three weeks ago.) Also not highlighted was M80 Bob Lida’s 73.55, which beats the listed AR of 75.4 by Harold Chapson wayyyyyy back in 1983. (Bob ran 70.20 at Daegu worlds.) Also remarkable is M40 Antwon Dussett’s unpressed 48.94, which missed the listed AR of 48.44 by James King in 1989. W50 Charmaine Roberts clocked 61.95, just shy of the listed AR of Jai (pronounced Jay) Black’s 61.38 of 2012. Baton Rouge also saw Olympic medalist Walter Dix’s submasters debut, running 100 in 10.32 in his first masters nationals. Welcome, Walter! Hurdlers 60-plus on Saturday face a grind, including the shuttles and the long hurdles. But guts is what they’re made of. And here’s a highlight for Saturday:

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July 14, 2017  9 Comments

Mensey, Friend-Uhl, Williams and crazy weather star at LSU Day 1

M40 Mark Williams easily won the 800 in 1:58.66. Dave Albo photo

LSU’s facility was heaven. The weather was, well, hell. Hot and humid were the words most often seen on social media, describing Baton Rouge masters nationals, where Day 1 was Thursday (and results are here). And when lightning struck at the 50th nationals, people were told to drop metal objects and head indoors. Fortunately, events including the pentathlon were able to finish up indoors. And to answer a question some may be asking: No, the USATF Masters T&F Committee had no choice. Baton Rouge was the only bidder for outdoor nationals when the pick was made at the 2014 Anaheim annual meeting (which I attended). In any case, the local paper is picking some nice stories, and our cadre are putting on a great show for the paying viewers via usatf.tv. Dave Albo is getting his usual sensational photos, and the lady announcer sounds great. (Pete Taylor not being present this year.) Myrle Mensey’s W65 hammer win — beating her own listed AR with a final-throw 39.97 (131-1) — wasn’t mentioned in the USATF press release. But W45 Sonja Friend-Uhl’s 2:15.05 win got proper notice — being less than 2 seconds off Alisa Harvey’s AR of 2:13.67. And yeah, we want to hear all we can about 92-year-old Baton Rouge native Mary Norckauer competing in 12 events. (And 101-year-old sprinter Julia Hawkins.) Stay cool and dry, you guys.

July 13, 2017  3 Comments