by Graeme Shirley
BOSTON, Mass. - (March 24, 2002) - The San Diego USATF contingent to the National Masters Indoor Track and Field Championships was a small one, only five competitors, but they returned with a world record, three American Records, and eleven medals, four of them gold.
After months of coaching by Steve Scott focused on the mile for women aged 55-59, Joni Shirley faced the current world record holder, Joan Ottaway, beat her by more than 14 seconds, and smashed the world record by six, finishing in 5 minutes 43.96 seconds. En route to the mile she narrowly missed the world record for 1500 meters, but took 18 seconds off the American record in 5:22.7. The indoor mile championship goes with thirteen other national championships that Joni has won since turning 40, ten on the track and three on the roads.
Another spectacular race was Harold Tolson stumbling out of the blocks in the 60 meter dash for ages 60-64, rolling, and still finishing in 9.74 seconds. He turned that seventh-place finish around with a win at 200 meters (26.95) and a second at 400 meters (1:01.84).
88-year-old Leland McPhie set two American indoor records in winning the high jump (1.07 meters, 3'-6") and the 12-lb weight throw (7.96m, 26'-1½") for the 85-89 age group. McPhie was far from the oldest at the meet, as Everett Hosack of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, competed at age 100.
The Championships were held at the Reggie Lewis Track & Field Facility. The 200-meter track has six lanes of mondo on a wood base. The short sprints and hurdles are on an eight-lane straightaway.
For complete results visit the National Masters Indoors site.