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Valien captures second WR on day five of World Masters

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. - Johnnye Valien of Los Angeles, Calif. set another world record on the fifth day of competition at the 2011 WMA World Masters Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Valien's winning mark of 2.21m/7-3 in the W85 long jump edged out the previous record of 2.19m/7-2.25 set by Ruth Frith of Australia in 1995. Earlier in the meet, Valien set a world record in the W85 pole vault, where there had been no previous record.

Three runners improve own records
400m hurdle specialists Darnell Gatling (Bronx, N.Y.) and Lisa Daley (White Plains, N.Y.), and 800m standout Jean Daprano (Fayetteville, Ga.) improved their own American records in their respective age groups.

Gatling ran a 56.86 in the M50 division to improve the record he set at last year's USA Masters Outdoor Championships by two hundredths of a second. Gatling also owns the 400m hurdle record in the M45 age category.

Daley's time of 1:03.95 bested her previous record in the W40 division by half a second. Tomorrow, Daley will look to defend her World Masters W40 200m title as the second fastest qualifier for the final.

Daprano faced stiff competition from Anne Stobaus on the home stretch of the W70 800m race, but came out with both the victory and an American record. Daprano's time of 3:03.13 was over a full second faster than the mark she set four years ago.

Veterans LeBourne and Valle take home 800m titles
World Masters veterans Anselm LeBourne (Maplewood, N.J.) and Lisa Valle (Albuquerque, N.M.) took home their first gold medals of the meet with wins in the 800m.

LeBourne, who is the reigning world champion in the M50 1,500m, led a U.S. sweep of the M50 800m race. LeBourne crossed the line in 2:01.30, just ahead of teammates Ray Knerr (Venture, Calif.) and George Shackelford (Los Angeles, Calif.).

"We always have the top 50-year-olds in the world," LeBourne said. "And on a day like today, it's just U.S. all the way."

LeBourne's time may not have been a personal best, but he's more than satisfied with his performance.

"You train all year to come to the World Championships and win the gold medal," he said. "It doesn't matter how fast or slow the time, because once you win, they can never take away from you that you were the world champion."

Valle successfully defended her World Masters W45 800m title, clocking a time of 2:20.73.

"I had to hold back because I knew there was a little bit of wind here on the home stretch, and I didn't know the competition that well," Valle said. "I have a pretty strong kick, and that's all I had to rely on."

Valle, who will compete later this week in the 1,500m and 2,000m steeplechase events, has found her niche in the mid-distance events.

"I just love the shorter distances like this," she said. "I don't do the long events like the 10k and the marathon. They're good, but this is just so much heart and guts. Just an all at once effort."

M55 triple jump field highlighted by Banks
Three-time Olympian and former triple jump world record holder Willie Banks (Carlsbad, Calif.) highlighted a talented field in the M55 triple jump. Banks took the lead with his final leap of 12.31m/40-4.75, but was overtaken by Austria's George Werthner Dr. in the last jump of the competition.

"Unfortunately, in practice I pulled up on my hamstring, so I couldn't use my full run," Banks said. "You know usually if you get a cramp or pull up or something you just want to quit. But I gave it my best shot and I was very fortunate to be able to complete my jumps. All the guys rallied behind me, and they kept me going. It was great."

The support and camaraderie amongst the athletes is one of Banks' favorite things about masters competition.

"That's one of the good things about the masters [meets]," he said. "Everyone is rooting for everyone else, and it makes for better competition and better jumps for everybody."

Banks, who is known for his good-natured attitude, had the crowd cheering and slow-clapping, a track and field trend that he actually started.

"We started it back in 1981 in Stockholm, Sweden,"Banks said. "And it kept following me all over the world. So everywhere I go, I have the home team."

Other US event winners from today's competition include the following:

-Audrey Lary, W70 long jump (3.22m/10-6.75)
-Gary Schuler, M35 high jump (1.97m/6-5.5)
-Doug Spainhower, M75 high jump (1.40m/4-7)
-Raymond Propst, M80 high jump (1.06m/3-5.75)
-George Roudebush, M85 high jump (1.05m/3-5.25)
-Paul Friedenbach, M40 pole vault (4.50m/14-9)
-Daniel Besmer, M45 pole vault (4.20m/13-9.25)
-William Platts, M80 javelin throw (36.48m/119-8)
-John Goldhammer, M55 hammer throw (53.37m/175-1)
-Oneithea Lewis, W50 weight throw (18.76m/61-6.75)
-Ruth Welding, W55 weight throw (12.83m/42-1.25)
-Robert Price, M35 400m long hurdles (55.54)
-Thaddeus Wilson, M60 300m long hurdles (45.42)
-Barbara Jordan, W75 200m long hurdles (41.71)
-Maurice McDonald, M70 800m (2:34.37)
-Gary Patton, M65 800m (2:21.25)
-Sonja Friend-Uhl, W40 800m (2:10.02)
-Neil Fitzgerald, M40 800m (1:55.70)
-Michael Schroer, M35 800m (1:57.14)

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