POTOMAC VALLEY GAMES - THE INSIDE STORY

Champions Put It All On The Line
by George Banker
    The largest field ever, a total of 317 athletes, registered for this two-day track and field meet (251 men and 66 women).
    Their ages ranged from 2 years old to 96 years old.
    94 records equalled or broken
    “I like these meets and you never know who is going to show up. As a track runner I prefer the track 5000 meters, than on the roads”. said winner Jim Garster (35.2). Garster took the lead from the first lap by keeping a 15 meter gap throughout the event. Trailing in second was Paul Zink with 17:46.40 followed by Jay Wind with 17:56. “I try to key off other people as I lap them, it gets tricky. I think of them as others coming up behind me. I was concentrating on running each lap and getting through each one.  I think the meets are fun and a good opportunity to race and to be involved in track and field” added Garster.
    Susan Rizzieri of Arlington, made a decisive move going into the second lap to take the lead from Jennifer Lazio. Rizzieri set the pace which kept Lazio at a distance. The first mile for Rizzieri was 6 minutes 21. Rizzieri won with 21:43 and Lazio 21:59.
    “This was my first track event. I’m sorry they are over with. I tried to run relaxed and I was concerned about the competition. I tend to go out too fast.  If I was challenged, I would have tried to come back. The 5K on the track seems so long and I slowed near the end” said Rizzieri.“
    “I brought home the hardware, that’s an important thing you know. This was my first track meet and I took first in my age group. This was cool, it was great. I’d come back and do another one. You run faster on the track, it’s different. There is a lot of stuff going on the sidelines”. said fifth place Susan Ross, with 25:51. Ross is heading for the Dublin Marathon in October.
    “My mind went blank and I looked straight ahead, all the frustrations and confusions are gone. My only thought was doing my best” said Sue Barnes (70), after taking second in the 100 meter dash with 18:32. Lenore McDaniels (70) dominated from the start with a 17:82 win. McDaniels has pending world records set last month in Maine at the USATF National Championships in the 300 hurdles
76:50; high jump 3’11 1/4” and pole vault 6’10 3/4”.
    The women’s mile going into the first lap saw 16 year old Sherise Green with a 15 meter lead with 1 minute 23 seconds for the first lap. Going into the second lap, Green began to fade as Karen Lein made the move to take the lead. There was a problem, Patricia Zerfas had other plans, with a strong surge into the third lap, the lead was taken and a 15 meter gap was established. Zerfas held on to win with 6:03 and 6:06 for Lein. “Last year, there were two faster females and I thought they were going to be here and my plan was just to stay behind them. It depends on who shows up, when the girl (Green) took off I was going to stay with her. I did a 50 mile trail run in British Columbia last month, I have my endurance back but not my speed, not real zippy”, said Zerfas.
     The first hottest contest was the master’s mile as Dennis Coleman was being pursued by Paul Ryan. The first lap was covered by 66 seconds by Coleman with Ryan at 71 seconds followed by Paul Zink at 72 seconds. Going into the second lap Coleman and Ryan dropped Zink as the pace accelerated with a surge. Coleman threw in a ten meter gap, Ryan faded slightly, not willing to concede and surged to close within 5 meters. Going into the last lap Ryan surged but Coleman responded first and kept Ryan in check to win with 4:49 to Ryan’s 4:50. Zink captured third with 5:04.
    “Either Dennis was in good condition or running on adrenaline. He ran a great last lap. I was trying to be foxy and stay right behind him. Dennis is 40 and I’m 47 and I claim a deficiency of age, every year we get a little older. It’s well done for Dennis”, said Ryan.
    “In the last quarter, I heard someone say, ‘Dennis go to your 800 speed’“, added Coleman.
    Chagrin Falls, Ohio produced the oldest athlete, John Hosack, age 96, attempting to secure a world record for the 200 meters. His unofficial time was 1:28.68. The record for the age-group 95–99 is 1:02.28 but there is no existing age single record   for 96. “I’ve always liked to run. I ran for the University of Florida in 1924. I laid off for 50 years and started back in 1980 with the Senior Olympics and found the Over The Hill Track Club and joined. I try to do the best that I can do in each event”, said Hosack.

1971 National Champion Competes
    “This was my first meet in 20 years. It’s the spirit of the runners which is different than in business. I’m back for family, fun and exercise, the same things that got me started. There is something good to be said about sportsmanship”, said Dr Delano Meriwether, after placing second in the 400 meters with 1:00.28. Meriwether was the U.S. National Outdoor Champion at 100 yards with 9.0 seconds set in 1971. “One thinks that track is big in California and New Jersey, but it’s here locally. This is a first class meet.  You can pick any heat that you want. "

Palmer and Link Duke It Out
    The Weight Pentathlon saw some heated competition between Junior athletes Ashley Palmer and Kristi Link.  They duked it out over the two days with Kristi victorious in the Discus, Shot Put and Weight Throw. Ashley prevailed in the Javelin, Hammer Throw, and Weight Pentathlon tally.
 

  • —Valerie Meyer contributed to this report.


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