Masters set to take their marks at Con­ven­tion Cen­ter

Albuquerque Journal - - SPORTS - JOUR­NAL STAFF RE­PORT

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.

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