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Opening Session officially kicks off 2017 USATF Annual Meeting


COLUMBUS -- USATF kicked off its 39th Annual Meeting Thursday with over 1,200 of USATF administrators, coaches, and athletes gathering at the Hyatt Regency Columbus.


Vin Lananna, in his inaugural address as USATF President, recapped his 17-city Presidential Listening Tour across the country where he visited 24 USATF Associations, stating that the insight gained greatly influenced his leadership moving forward.


“When we boast of being the World’s #1 Team, we are not just talking about the medals won,” Lananna said. “We’re talking about the work done by all of you and that’s something we just can’t forget to celebrate.”


Lananna highlighted 2017 success stories such as Team USATF’s record number of medals at World Championships and hosting more than 8,100 athletes at the USATF Hershey Junior Olympic Championships. Looking ahead, he touched on building a comprehensive and strategic plan that will move USATF into the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games on strong footing.


He concluded by outlining goals for 2018 and beyond, including growing membership, improving communication and providing greater access to facilities.


To close out Opening Session, USATF Board Chairman Steve Miller remarked on the addition of six new board members and spoke on working together for common goals.


“There is something very special about getting together as a group,” Miller said. “The one common goal we have are the children under our charge and the people we affect. If we do it together, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish.”


Lananna presents eight President’s Awards

USATF President Vin Lananna awarded this year’s President’s Awards to the following individuals:


Jason Bryant – MUT – Coach – Official – North Carolina

As the men’s LDR representative and awards coordinator for MUT, Jason volunteers countless hours to support the sport by overseeing logistical and equipment needs. He is also a competitor, having placed third at several USATF MUT championships and is a multiple-time masters champion. He was race director for the USATF 10km Trail Championships and was recently selected as Team Leader for the 2018 U.S. Long Distance Running Team. Jason is the head cross country coach at Surry Central High School and Cross Country Regional Director for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.


Phil Galli – Para – Official – Coach – New Jersey Association

Phil has been a key figure in adaptive athletics since 1994. He was instrumental in creating the 2017 USATF Youth Para Championships with collaboration from Adaptive Sports USA and Adaptive Track & Field USA. Phil currently serves on the Games Committee for the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation and is a USA Swimming and USA Track & Field Official. He has served as chairperson of Wheelchair Track & Field USA, and coached four U.S. Paralympians in track & field.


Stephanie Hightower – Past USATF President – IAAF Council Member – Elite Athlete

Stephanie has been a trusted athlete and leader at every level of the sport. From an NCAA champion and world record holder at the Ohio State University and winning the 100m hurdles at the 1980 U.S. Olympic Trials to her current role as IAAF Council Member, Stephanie’s impact has been through her lifetime of service. Stephanie has served on several USATF committees and councils, as Team Leader for Team USA at the Olympic Games, President of USATF for two consecutive terms, chairman of the board, and received the most votes of any candidate for IAAF Council in their 2015; she currently serves on Council.


Bruce Long – Youth – Official – Three Rivers Association

Bruce Long is a longtime USATF Three Rivers member and serves as the Officials Coordinator for the Association. He has served in several roles for the youth division, including Region 2 co-coordinator and Northeast Zone Rep. Bruce is now serving as Youth Field Referee. He is a valuable member of the Youth Athletics Division and serves on site evaluation teams and officiates at dozens of high school and collegiate track & field events.


John McNichols – Coach – Official – Indiana Association

During his 34-year tenure as head coach at Indiana State University, John united the community of ISU and Terre Haute to create Cross Country Town USA, where it hosted the NCAA Cross Country Championships 12 times. John also served as an official at all levels including the 1984 Olympic Games, 1987 Pan American Games, 1988 U.S. Olympic Trials, and as a Head Marshal at the 1996 Olympic Games. As a volunteer, John served on the USATF Development Committee from 2000-2009. John served as a coach for Team USA at the 2016 IAAF U20 World Championships in Poland. Nichols passed away in December, 2016, at age 66 from complications from a stroke.


Jamie Nieto – Olympian – AAC – Coach – Southern California Association

Two-time Olympian Nieto is a three-time USATF outdoor champion (2003, 2004, and 2012) and 2004 U.S. Indoor champion. Jamie earned a silver medal at the 2003 Pan American Games and a fourth-place finish at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, where he achieved his personal best mark of 2.34m. He coached two NCAA All-Americans and a USATF Junior National Outdoor Champion as an assistant coach at USC. Jamie continues to be an inspiration as he continues recovering from a training injury  in April 2016 that initially left him paralyzed. Earlier this year he walked down the aisle for his wedding, and he moved across the stage Thursday night under his own power.


Lauren Primerano – Chair, USATF Club Council – President, USATF New York Association

Lauren is President of the New York Association, where her leadership has generated unprecedented growth. She also serves as National Chair of the USATF Club Council and locally as the Director of the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex on Staten Island, which has hosted USATF Youth Indoor Championships.  She has served as Meet Director for Indoor Youth Championships and several USATF National Club Championships at New York’s Icahn Stadium. She is a former coach at her alma mater Manhattan College, and was a U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier in the javelin.


Blane Williams – Youth Club Coach – Georgia Association

Over the past 14 years, Blane’s athletes at the Heat Track Club (Marietta, Georgia) combined for 14 national champions, 44 national medals, 11 national youth age-group records, and more than 100 youth athletes have gone on to compete at the collegiate level. Blane’s children, Kendell and Devon, have gone on from the Heat Track Club to both become NCAA National Champions for the University of Georgia and to represent Team USATF at the international level.


USATF CEO Max Siegel will deliver the State of the Sport on Sunday, December 3 at Closing Session.

The 2017 USATF Annual Meeting continues through Sunday in Columbus. Click here to download the official app and view the schedule, speakers, and more.


Follow along on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using #USATF17.

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