Masters elite to compete at USA Outdoor Masters Championships


Jared Slinde
Communications Intern
USA Track & Field

More than 1,100 of the nation's finest masters athletes (ages 30+) will compete August 2-5 at the 2007 USA Outdoor Masters Track and Field Championships on the campus of the University of Maine in Orono.

One of the stars slated to compete in Orono is John Simpson of Texas in the M40 (40-44) age group. Earlier this season Simpson, a two-time All-American while at Baylor University, rang up a 10.50-second performance in the 100 meters. Among those he'll face is former University of Maine sprinter Carl Smith, who ran 10.58 back in 1991.

Also on hand will be Patricia "Trish" Porter, out of the University of Oregon, who represented the U.S. in the 1988 Olympics in the high jump. As the world record holder for women in the 40-44 age group (1.76 meters/5 feet 9.25 inches), Porter is a heavy favorite to win.

Also keep an eye on familiar headliners Nolan Shaheed (M55) of Pasadena, Calif., Alisa Harvey (W40), of Manassas, Va., and Bill Collins (M55) of Houston, Texas. Shaheed, at one time the musical director for Marvin Gaye, is the 2007 male masters track and field athlete of the year in the U.S., and he still runs in open meets. Alisa Harvey won the comparable award for women this year, and she remains a major force in open competition. Already this year the Tennessee All-American and former top-ranked American woman in the 1,500 meters has run a national W40 record of 2:07.57 in the 800m. Bill Collins was selected as the male world masters track and field athlete for 2006, and he has thrilled spectators in countless venues. Last summer at the USA Masters Outdoor Championships he blazed a wind-aided 11.26 in the 100m.

The 45-49 and 40-44 groups will be loaded with standouts. Saladin "Sal" Allah (M45), from New Jersey, is a big-time masters runner in every respect. He runs with the effortless style of a top collegiate or open competitor and his times confirm his brilliance. He is the world outdoor record holder in the 800m for M45-49, with his time of 1:54.12.

Additional M40 standouts include Getulio "Tony" Echeandia and Robert Thomas. Echeandia, of New York City and Puerto Rico, finished third at the 2007 Puerto Rican Open Championships (not age-graded) in the 400 intermediate hurdles and he won both the 400m and 400m hurdles at last year's USA masters nationals. Thomas, an emerging masters superstar, thrilled the fans at the Penn Relays this past April with a brilliant anchor leg in the 4x400m relay, in which his squad finished in 3:21.12.

Also in M40, keep an eye on David Ashford, who holds the age group record in the 110m hurdles with an otherworldly clocking of 13.73 seconds.

Among the many standouts in the M50 age group will be high jumper Jim Barrineau of Burke, Va. Barrineau competed in the 1976 Olympics for the U.S. and managed to beat National Track & Field Hall of Famer Dwight Stones 19 years later at the 1995 world masters championships. Bruce McBarnette, now 49, of Sterling Va., entered in the M45 high jump, broke the indoor and outdoor world records last year and won the last indoor and outdoor world masters championships.

Aaron and AdrianSampson, M45 long-jumping twins from Salt Lake City, Utah, will lend some spice to the jumping competition at Orono. Aaron still holds the M40 (40-44) world long jump record at a remarkable 7.68m/25-2.50, and twin Adrian hasn't been too far behind. Will the 17-year-old world mark for M45 of 7.27m/23-10.25 could be in serious jeopardy.

W45 will include Joy Upshaw-Margerum, sister of 2004 Olympian Grace Upshaw and daughter of Monte Upshaw, who broke the high school record of Jesse Owens in the long jump. Upshaw-Margerum will be a favorite in the 100m, 200m, 80m hurdles and long jump.

The W55 division (women 55-59) will be headed by Northport, New York's Kathy Martin, a former USATF Masters Athlete of the Year and a record setter nearly ever time she steps on the track. Martin, who has set countless records in the middle and long distances, has tremendous range and will be favored in every event she enters.

W60 features Philippa (Phil) Raschker from Marietta, Georgia, a finalist for the Sullivan Award in 2004 (along with Lebron James and other worthies). Raschker, who is generally considered to be the most-accomplished female masters track athlete in the history of the U.S. program, celebrated her 60th birthday in February of this year - opening up the possibility of a whole new set of U.S. and world records. Raschker specializes in the sprints, hurdles, jumps and combined events.

W65 will be headlined by Nadine O'Connor of Delmar, Calif., and Professor Marie-Louise Michelson of the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Dr. Michelson, a mathematician, recently tore through 5,000 meters in 20 minutes 27.08 seconds, a pace of 6:35 per mile and a world record. She posted a sizzling a 29.37 seconds performance in the 200 meters earlier this year to break Hall of Famer Irene Obera's mark by more than a full second. In 2006, O'Connor was named the U.S. Masters Women's T&F performer of the Year.

In May, Jeanne Daprano (Fayetteville, Ga.) became the world's first woman 70+ to break the 7-minute barrier in the mile, turning in an unprecedented 6:47.75 at Duke University. She recently broke the American record for women 70-74 in the 400 meters (1:18.64) and the 800 meters (3:07.69).

M70 will showcase the hard-charging Bob Lida of Kan., who destroyed the existing American M70 indoor 400m record with a scalding time of 61.35 seconds. Earlier this summer in Louisville he set the new outdoor record with his time of 61.59 seconds.

Among the many outstanding throwers at Orono will be Tom Fahey, who is a professor of kinesiology at California State, Chico. Dr. Fahey, who was named Outstanding Professor at the university for 2005-2006, was the world masters outdoor champion (M55) in the discus in 2003 with his toss of 51.40 meters/168 feet, 8 inches.

Oneithea Lewis (New York Cith) and Carol Finsrud (Texas) are the top two women in masters throwing in the U.S.Lewis, who will compete in the W45-49 age group, is a multiple world champion and former Millrose Games shot put winner. At Charlotte last year (2006 masters nationals) she put the shot 13.03 meters/42 feet, 9.50 inches to win the gold.

Carol Finsrud, from the University of Texas, in the 50-54 group, is also a multiple world champion, who competed in the Olympic Trials as recently as 2000.At last year's Charlotte nationals she threw the discus 41.94m/137 feet, 6 inches to nail down the gold.

*This release was contributed by Pete Taylor, USA Masters Championships public address announcer and member of the USATF Masters Media Committee.

The meet schedule and current list of athletes entered are available at the Championships web site: