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Sprinters rewrite records at USA Masters Champs

ALBUQUERQUE – The athletes at the USA Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships delivered age-defying performances, and the track maintained its fast reputation with a staggering 28 American and 7 World Records broken during Saturday’s competition in Albuquerque, N.M.

USA Masters Champs

USA Masters Champs

The three-day meet features athletes ranging in age from 30-96 in a display of speed, strength, and endurance for all ages. Track events range from 60m to 3,000m, while field events include the full range of indoor jumps and throws.  Competition resumes tomorrow at the Albuquerque Convention Center with the first track finals starting at 9:30 a.m.  Spectators are welcome, and entry is free of charge.

The 60m was the event of the day, with records falling seemingly every time the starter’s pistol blasted. A total of 14 American Records and three World Records were broken during the event. The following athletes set records: John Means (Richmond Heights, Ohio) M90 AR/WR 11.23; Robert Whilden (Houston, Texas) M75 AR 8.65; Stan Whitley (Alta Loma, Calif.) M65 AR 7.92; Stephen Robbins (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) M65 AR 7.93; Bill Collins (Houston, Texas)M60 AR/WR 7.65; Alfy Pettes (Omaha, Neb.) M35 AR 6.82; Etroy Nelson (Abingdon, Md.) M35 AR 6.89; Johnnye Valien (Los Angeles, Calif.) W85 AR 14.89; Barbara Jordan (South Burlington, Vt.) W75 AR/WR 10.31; Audrey Lary (Frederick, Md.) W75 AR 10.81; Kathy Bergen (La Canada, Calif.) W70 AR/WR 9.13; Brenda Matthews (Anaheim, Calif.) W60 AR 8.78; Renee Henderson (Merchantville, N.J.) W45 AR 7.67; Dena Birade (Bellingham, Wash.) W35 AR 7.83.

While he didn’t get his name in the record books, Burt Saidel of Dayton, Ohio claimed something that means even more to him.  Saidel has been competing at a national level for more than 61 years, even running at the 1952 Olympic Trials, yet he always came up short of winning a national title. Today, in the M80 60m Saidel finally went home with the national championship medal he has trained for so long. A video interview with the charming Saidel can be viewed here.

Throwers were also on a roll with the record books. Two men in the M75 shot put broke the American Record. Gerald Vaughn of Charlotte, N.C. heaved the shot 12.74m/41-09.75 for first place, with James Oglesby of Blowing Rock, N.C. taking the runner-up spot with 12.45m/40-10.25. In the women’s 75-79 shot put, all three athletes threw further than the listed record. Mary Roman claimed the national title and American Record in 8.49m/27-10.25. Christel Donley and Florence Meiler who both broke the national shot put record during yesterday’s pentathlon surpassed their marks in today’s competition with throws of 7.98m/26-02.25 and 7.27m/23-10.25 respectively. Multi-time world champion Johnnye Valien of Los Angeles, Calif. won the W85 shot put with an American Record throw of 5.91m/19-04.75

In the men’s 75-79 high jump, Doug Spainhower of Fruit Heights, Utah and Tom Langenfeld of Edina, Minn. both cleared 1.35m/4-05.00 to set a new American Record. Langenfeld claimed the national title when the tie was broken on the number of missed attempts

Decorated masters athlete Joy Upshaw of Lafayette, Calif. leapt to an American and World Record in the long jump with a mark of 5.45m/17-10.75. In the W75 long jump, Audrey Lary set her second American Record of the day with a winning jump of 3.26m/10.08.50.

More records were set in the field events including Gary Hunter of Fort Wayne, Ind. who vaulted 4.30m/14-01.25 to clench the American Record and National Championship crown in the M55 pole vault. Stacey Nieder of Anchorage, Alaska sailed over the bar at 1.68m/5-06.00 to set the W40 American Record.

The day’s excitement continued through the last event on the track, the 60m hurdles. Florence Meiler racked up her third American Record of the Meet and her first World Record of the weekend in the W75 age group in 13.55. Meiler was given a close race for the title by Barbara Jordan who took the runner-up spot in a very close 13.56. Jordan’s time was good enough to break the existing World and American Records as well.

In an unreported record from yesterday’s competition, Michael Sullivan of Gilbert, Ariz. set an American and World Record in the M50 400m in 52.44.

Karla Del Grande of Canada also broke a World Record in the W55 60m in 8.40.