Sandy Pashkin, as roadblock to records, has to go

How do masters records get ratified? It’s a mystery of the universe. In my 10 years of watching the sport, I’ve frequently vented on the cruddy work of those who profess to be the guardians of age-group bests. Pete Mundle was The Man for decades, but he became The Mess. Pete passed the baton to Sandy Pashkin as records chair, and now she has fumbled it. Three cases in point: the M50 outdoor 4×400, the M50 indoor sprint medley relay and the W55 superweight throw. Despite credible applications that contained officials’ signatures, these records remain unratified.

The sprint medley relay mark –an AR — was made in February 2004; the throw in mid-July 2006. Worse than the delays, Sandy takes an I-can’t-be-bothered stance. Athletes say she ignores their inquiries. So in utter frustration they wrote me — and two sent copies of their record applications.
In mid-October 2006, Myrle Mensey of St. Louis wrote me:
“I filed the proper papers for the American record for the superweight throw about 2 months ago and it has not been updated. The rankings show the mark but it does not show as the American record. I sent it to Sandy P. and followed the directions carefully. Can you assist me with this? Thanks.”
Myrle later sent me her record application (shown here as a PDF) that indicates she heaved the 25-pound ball 9.08 meters (29-9 1/2) at 2:30 p.m. July 15, 2006, at the USATF Open/Masters Championships at Sterling High School in Sterling, Illinois. That betters her own listed American Record of 8.77 meters (28-9) set in November 2005. The meet result is online.
Today, the USATF masters records page for the superweight throw says records “Lasted (sic) updated: 09/22/2006” — but Myrle’s latest record isn’t reflected.
Ed Gonera of New York proudly runs with Sprint Force America, USATF Club No. 2012 in 2002. On August 11, 2002, he writes, Ed (along with Bob Bowen, Roger Pierce and Carroll Blake) was a member of an M50 team that clocked 3:37.20 for the 1,600-meter relay (results shown here) at the Orono masters nationals. Easily an American age-group record. (The listed world record is 3:35.88 by an American “all-star” team at the 1989 world WAVA meet.)
But the USATF masters record page for this event (again “lasted updated” on 9/22/06) shows an April 2006 mark by a Bill Collins Houston Elite team as having the pending M50 American record of 3:41.66.
On Feb. 22, 2004, a Sprint Force America team of Frank Schiro, Ed Gonera, Roger Pierce and Carroll Blake ran an indoor sprint medley relay at the Armory track in Manhattan. Their FAT time of 3:56.78 bettered the American M50 best listed in National Masters News. Although the event isn’t contested in masters nationals, NMN publishes such nonstandard relay marks.
Frank wrote me a month ago about the history of this record application:
“We ran the race, got all needed documentation and I sent to Mundle. No response, no comments, nothing. I email Pashkin (who had just got involved with records and at that time was actually answering back). Pashkin (cites) “overwhelming” problems with Mundle and all the things he has messed up, asks me to resend (application) to her. I do this by second-day mail (cost $14). She responds to follow-up inquiries (by) saying, “Actually, it’s not her territory” as the sprint medley is not an ‘official record.’
“I respond: Why then is it published? See this year’s (January, I think) National Masters News. And she responds: ‘OK, when I see the wrong record published again I’ll correct it. . . . I respond: ‘Why in the world would you let them publish an inferior record when you have legal documentation of a legal superior effort?’
“This is the point when she no longer responds to any of my emails. . . .Once again Sprint Force America is cheated.”
Sandy seems to have a thing for Sprint Force America. While WMA lists the M40 4×400 world record as being set by an SFA team at the 2001 Penn Relays (3:20.83 by Sal Allah, Kevin Morning, Ed Gonera and Ray Blackwell), the American ad hoc record remains 3:21.54 by Danny Thiel, Ken Brinker, John Tucker and Joe King at Eugene in 1989.
Some months back — even before Sandy Pashkin rebuffed my interview attempts — I wrote to then USATF Masters T&F Chair George Mathews about a situation involving unratified records from Boston masters indoor nationals.
George replied:
“Ken, please take it easy on Sandy. Believe me, she is doing all she can to post these records. In most cases I believe she hasn’t gotten the documentation she needs to move ahead.. . . . Sandy and I have repeatedly asked Boston to produce the paperwork without success. I have even copied the guy from New England who thought he wanted my job at the last election. No results. If you want to embarrass someone, embarrass them. Sandy is the best there is, and much better than we have ever had. Please trust and support her efforts.”
Trust and support Sandy?
Sorry, Charlie. Time’s up. Sandy can’t cope with the demands of the job, and she appears to be playing favorites (and punishing those she doesn’t favor). This is unacceptable.
It may be a mystery on how records get ratified, but it isn’t on how records chairs are removed. Such committee heads serve at the pleasure of the overall masters T&F chair.
Sandy isn’t the only person in the universe capable of keeping masters records. It’s clear she’s failed our sport and its best athletes. Should she be replaced?
Why not?

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November 23, 2006

8 Responses

  1. Richard Rizzo - November 24, 2006

    As a proud member of SFA who was in attendence at the Penn Relays on that historical day with 40,000 in attendence witnessed the greatest that ever was run by any other Masters team in the world!! The 4×400 relay Sal Allah, Kevin Morning,Ed Gonera,& Ray Blackwell ran 3:20.83. to stun the crowd at Penn that glorious day. To achieve thier desired goals thru hard training and dedication to the sport we so love and not to be recognized for the accomplishment is totally improper by any governing standards.

  2. Mary Harada - November 24, 2006

    First Ken trashes Pete Mundle when he was record keeper – (2005) and the records were a mess, now he attacks Sandy Paskin as – apparently – being no better – I am waiting for a solution. The record keeping has been bad, it seems to have gotten better – but – according to Ken -three alleged failures ( I write alleged as I have no clue if they were properly submitted- ) and Sandy must go. Ok Ken – who do you nominate for this thankless and unpaid job?
    Be part of the solution and not just basher. It is easy to criticize – I know – I do it all the time – and I admit that if I had a record and it was not being recognized, I would be bent out of shape – but what we need is not more lashing out in anger – we need some constructive suggestions. How about taking over the record keeping! No – don’t blame you – it is a no win situation. WMA puts nothing much into the record keeping – National Masters News is not an official record keeper as far as I know – IF there are to be world records maybe a world organization should be in charge of that. If there are American records – then USATF should accept responsibility for that. So far what we seem to have is unpaid volunteers being hammered by those with grievances. I have great sympathy for those whose records go unrecognized – but lets get a grip here – who should be taking responsibility for the record keeping? Who is paying someone to do what is a time consuming task? And is it fair to expect someone to take over this job that has been badly handled and then get blamed for not sorting out past mistakes? Who made the mistakes anyway – Sandy? Pete Mundle?
    So she does not return your phone calls- frankly after the way you write about her – why would she?

  3. Quick Silver - November 24, 2006

    Mary Harada asks, “So she does not return your phone calls- frankly after the way you write about her – why would she?
    I would have thought it was part of the job.
    Quick Silver
    Hong Kong

  4. Ken Stone - November 24, 2006

    Although most USATF officials are indeed working for free, the masters records czar controls a budget of $3,000.
    Check out this link:
    (You’ll have to stitch the two lines together.)
    Bottom line:
    Paid or unpaid, volunteers have to do the job correctly or step aside for someone who can. And who will do the job if Sandy is ousted?
    Just ask the membership. Someone of substance might very well step up to the plate.
    Sandy isn’t God.

  5. mike p - December 24, 2009


  6. mike p - December 24, 2009


  7. James Oglesby - January 3, 2013

    To all bloggers who write (pro or con) re: Sandy Pashkin and or USATF—- Dosen’t USATF have access to a rather large sum of money or at least a rather large budget? I don’t know,if indeed Sandy has such a huge burden for which she receives no remuneration or gratitude. But it seems to me, if that were to be the case, why can’t such a large, well-endowed, generally well-respected organization pay for someone to help her and her counterparts in USATF. In most other sports in this country, there exist competing organizations, ie: boxing, martial arts,etc. Not so with our sport. Its USATF or nothing—-maybe senior games is a slight exception yet even the senior games at State and National levels quote USATF rules. I am not taking sides here, simply asking a question, although I too, am on the short side of getting explanations, and answers to questions either written or telephonic.

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