Masters set to take their marks at Convention Center
After more than a few Master-ful performances last year, the USA Track & Field Masters Championships are back at the Albuquerque Convention Center.
More than 600 athletes are expected to compete in the event that puts an understatement to the phrase, “I’m doing pretty good, for my age.”
At last year’s meet here, 44 world and American records were set. Whether the athletes loved the milehigh altitude is debatable, but there is no doubt that the fast track is a draw.
Competitors will range from as young as age 30 to as old as they can go against their contemporaries.
In fact, the oldest athletes scheduled are Orville Rogers, 99, from Dallas and Dixon Hemphilll, 92, of Fairfax, Va. It seems both believe the key to longevity is staying busy: Each is competing in the 60 meters, the 200, 400, 800 and the mile.
Among the top New Mexicans expected to compete:
Roger Assink, 71, of Albuquerque was runnerup ■ in the 100 and 200 meters at last year’s Outdoor Nationals. He underwent open-heart surgery in 2009.
Paul Economides, 71, of Albuquerque is back after ■ placing second in the shot put at last year’s Indoors meet.
David Salazar, 66, of Cedar Crest was injured and ■ didn’t run at the Convention Center last year. Then he placed second in the 800 at the Outdoor Nationals. He was a member of the SoCal Track Club 4x800 relay that set a 50-59 world record.
Lisa Valle, 50, of Albuquerque is running the 800, ■ mile and 3,000 meters. She is a seven-time gold medalist in the Outdoor Nationals since 2008.
Paul Fragua, 60, of Jemez Pueblo and Albuquerque, ■ per release is a member of the Jemez Pueblo. He won gold in the men’s 55 age group in the 800 and 1,500 at the 2014 Outdoor Nationals.
Dennis Diaz, 59, of Las Cruces, is pastor of the ■
Mesilla Park Community Church. He is making a comeback after several years of not competing, but he placed nationally in the shot put and weight throw for several years prior.
Olympians expected are Larry Hart, 70, (1976 Games) in the hammer and weight throw; Jim Barrineau, 61, (1976) in the high jump; Howard Lindsay, 53, ((1984, 1988, 1996) in the long jump and 60 hurdles; and Karl Smith, 57 (1984 for Jamaica) in the 60 hurdles and 200 meters.
Also, former Naval Academy football star and NFL receiver Phil McConkey, 59, will run in the 60 meters.