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Valien's WR highlights day three of World Masters

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. - Johnnye Valien set a brand new W85 pole vault world record on the third day of competition at the 2011 WMA World Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Valien, who already holds three individual world masters records, cleared 1.25m/4-1.25 on her way to her first gold medal of the competition. The Los Angeles, Caif. native will have a busy week with eight more events, several of which she may set new world records in.

Two M55 American records fall
Jonathan Matthews of Helena, Mont. bested Donald DeNoon's 13-year-old record in the M55 5,000m race walk with his time of 22:33.47. Matthews, who is also the M35 American record holder in the event, improved on the previous record by almost a full minute and was about 20 seconds off the world record in the event. He will compete later this week in the 10k and 20k road race walk events.

John Goldhammer's toss of 18.94m/62-1.75 in the weight throw earned him a new American record in the M55 age division. His mark led the rest of the field by more than six feet and capped off a US sweep of the top three positions. Goldhammer, who hails from Claremont, Calif., is set to vie for more medals later this week in the hammer, discus, shot put, and throws pentathlon.

Cohn defends world title
Javelin specialist Linda Cohn captured her second world championship in the event with a winning toss of 37.97m/124-7. Cohn, a native of Northridge, Calif., edged out US teammate Monica Kendall by less than a foot to win the W55 competition.

"To be completely honest, I was very nervous," Cohn said. "Monica Kendall is an amazing javelin thrower, and I've known about her forever. She just came into my age group, and it was big time competition for me."

Although this is not Cohn's first time winning on the world stage, the victory really sunk in this time around.

"I honestly didn't think of myself as a world champion," Cohn said. "But this time, I understand what it means, and I'm going to appreciate it."

Cohn, who didn't pick up track and field or a javelin until she was in her 50's, is just happy to have found her niche.

"It turns out this is what I was meant to do," she said. "To come here now, and to be up there and hear the national anthem. I cannot put it into words. I don't think I've ever felt prouder to be an American.

Sisley earns her first gold of the meet
Becky Sisley, the defending world champion in three W70 events, won her opening event in this year's World Masters meet with a clearance of 2.15m/7-0.5 in the pole vault. Sisley, who represents Track Town, USA (Eugene, Ore.), holds the world record for her age group in the event at 2.36m/7-8.75. Although it wasn't her best height, Sisley still felt good about her performance.

"People were jumping at different heights so you had to wait a lot to get to your bar," she said. "But in terms of my run and crispness, I felt really good about that. That's the big thing, I was rested from the drive down."

Sisley had a late start in the sport, despite a lifetime of involvement in athletics.

"I didn't start track until I was 49 years old, and I started pole vaulting at 55," she said.

The transition into track has proven to be very beneficial for the 72-year-old athlete.

"It help keeps me fit, and it's challenging," Sisley said. "I've also traveled quite a bit in the world. I've been to Russia and South Africa and Finland twice and Great Britain and now Sacramento… So I'm really happy to be involved."

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

-William Platts, M80 long jump (3.66m/12-0.25)
-Leland McPhie, M95 long jump (1.29m/4-2.75)
-Kay Glynn W55 high jump (1.40m/4-7)
-Robert Arello, M50 weight throw (17.08m/56-0.5)
-Ed Burke, M70 weight throw (19.12m/62-8.75)
-Phil Raschker, W60 pole vault (2.30m/7-6.5)
-Kathy Jager, W65 pole vault (2.30m/7-6.5)
-Florence Meiler, W75 pole vault (1.96m/6-5)
-Mark Landa, M35 shot put (14.96m/49-1)
-Mary Coordt, W40 5,000m (18:02.33)
-Carmen Ayala-Troncoso, W50 5,000m (18:44.73)
-Christine Kennedy, W55 5,000m (19:36.56)

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