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Over 700 Masters Headed to Boston

 


Hall of Famer Raschker to lead Olympians, world champions in record assault at USA Masters Champs

BOSTON – More than 700 top competitors between the ages of 30 and 90+ will descend on Boston this weekend for the 2007 USA Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships. Boston plays host to the meet for the 12th time since 1975 and boasts perhaps the best field ever, including 36 current reigning world champions. Among the headliners is 2004 Sullivan Award Finalist Philippa “Phil” Raschker, who just turned 60 Feb. 21. The living legend of masters track and field is entered in nine events and looks to assault world and U.S. 60-64 age-group records in each. Double American record holder Bob Matteson of Bennington, VT, will similarly is in the men’s 90-year-old age group, with more records on his mind.

The meet kicks off at 4 p.m. Friday, at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center at Roxbury Community College, 1350 Tremont Street. Final events will be held from 4-6PM Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, and 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.

Each time a top masters athletes graduates to a new 5-year age group, it creates a stir as records are in jeopardy. No athlete embodies this more than Phil Raschker. A resident of Marietta, Georgia, Raschker was the first and only masters track athlete to be a finalist for the Sullivan Award for America’s top amateur athlete.

The other four finalists in 2004 were basketball star Lebron James, Olympic speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno, swimmer Michael Phelps, and University of Connecticut basketball star Diana Taurasi. Raschker has set more than 200 U.S. and world track and field records during her career. In Boston she will compete in the 60-meter dash, 60 hurdles, 200 meters, high jump, long jump, triple jump, pole vault, shot put, and pentathlon (another 5 events combined).

Raschker said that she hopes her recognition “inspires lifetime fitness as we age” and that “sports are breaking the age stereotype.” Raschker dedicates her medals to “all the aging athletes out there. The majority of Americans are over 40 now, and 35 million Americans are over 65.” She wants to “send the message that we never need to lose our competitive spirit and that we can remain healthy and fit for an entire lifetime through participating in sports. There are competitors even over 100 in masters track and field, and I hope one day to be among them!”

USATF-New England is hosting the meet. Former USATF-NE President Gary Snyder is now National Chair of USATF Masters Track and Field, elected at the 2006 USATF Annual Meeting in December in Indianapolis. Snyder, 63, will be competing in the meet in the 60 and 200 meters.

This year’s oldest entrants include four over 90: Bob Matteson, age 90 of Bennington, VT, who holds American records in the 200 & 400, is in five events — the 60, 200, 400, 800 and 3000. Leland McPhie of San Diego, who turned 93 March 10, is the meet’s oldest and is entered in seven events–the 60 meters, high jump, long jump, triple jump, shot put, 12-lb. Weight throw, and 25-lb.superweight throw. Betty Jarvis (92), oldest female, of Aberdeen, N.C., is in the shot put and weight throw. Rev. Champion Goldy (90), from Haddonfield, N.J., is in the 60, 200, and shot.

In one of the nicest stories in masters track, symbolic of its generational flow, 50-year-old Carla Hoppie of Centralia, Wash., and her 20 year-old college sophomore son, Chris, are going to college and competing on the SAME COLLEGIATE TRACK TEAM (son in decathlon, Mom in heptathlon & pentathlon) at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, Ore. Carla is competing in the Pentathlon in Boston.

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