National Masters Chair Rex Harvey: Medals were goal of Malaga relay selections

Cynthia McNamee anchored the W40 gold-medal 4x100 team at Malaga that included Rachel Guest, Lisa Edwards and Cynthia Monteleone. Photo by Shaggy Smith

It goes without saying that the goal of USATF masters is winning as many medals at possible at worlds. But was a decision to move Charlie Allie down from the M70 4×100 to the M65 team in Malaga the most efficient course? I’ll let others debate that.

For now, I’ll pass along the first response I’ve gotten from USATF National Masters Chair Rex Harvey since posting the Roger Pierce complaint nearly a week ago.

Rex graciously writes:

Please make it known to your readers that, while he does more work than any of the rest of us, volunteer Phil Greenwald does not make the relay selections [and] therefore should not be referred to as such. A Relay Selection Committee of the Team Manager [Greenwald], the Chair [Rex], the Vice Chair [Jerry Bookin-Weiner] and Active Athletes Latashia Key and Robert Thomas make those selections. and it is not done lightly and is not done without majority consensus.

You can be assured that the selections were all done with the current goal in mind of maximizing the number and level of medals that the U.S. can win. Like usual, some people are not happy with the selections. That is nothing new.

If the majority of the MTF Committee want a different goal than that, then we must define the goal and develop a new guideline to meet that new goal.

Relay selection will be on the agenda for the MTF Committee at this year’s annual meeting. And the slate will be clean. Anyone can bring up any suggestion that they want, and when motions are made and seconded, a majority vote will prevail and we will proceed accordingly for Torun and beyond.

However, I’m interested in hearing from you, too.

Contribute to support independent track and field journalism:

About the Author

Ken Stone
Ken has followed track as an athlete, writer and webmaster since the late 1960s, and saw most sessions of track and field at the 1984 Los Angeles and 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He also attended the 1988, 1992, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Trials. He worked for 10 newspapers and now reports for Times of San Diego. Write him at or Story tips always welcome!

11 Comments on "National Masters Chair Rex Harvey: Medals were goal of Malaga relay selections"

  1. Rex wrote me Wednesday morning;


    The first thing I would say is that any mention of rules, or rules violations, in this matter is incorrect. What was published on the matter is a selection process that ends with the statement that: “The TSC (Team Selection Committee)will take everything into consideration” which we did in this case and there were some extraordinary circumstances that had to be, and were, resolved in the best interest of the Masters Team USATF overall which is our goal. Like in any endeavor, every individual, cannot get exactly what they want no matter how badly they want it and how much we would like to do that.


  2. Elmo Shropshire | October 17, 2018 at 4:23 pm | Reply

    What Rex is saying here is that the TSC can do anything they choose without regard for the rules. There were no extraordinary circumstances. The TSC simply broke the rules to show favoritism to certain runners. Although Phil was kind enough to send me a rambling convoluted, subjective selection process they claim to use, none of it made sense. There is only one objective way runners can count on: Runners run in their age divisions for relays.

    Here is an example of the TSC’s selection process that “took everything into consideration” and denied me a chance to run:

    Rex wrote to me: “As you had no relevant Malaga or other results the relay selection committee chose to go with athletes with relevant experience. “

    “no relevant experience”
    Prior to the relays I ran four (4) races in Malaga and won 3 gold and 2 silver medals in Spokane at the US Outdoor Nationals a month earlier.

    “relevant experience”
    The two athletes the selection committee chose to go with “with relevant experience” didn’t run ANY races at all in Malaga prior to the relay. NONE, ZIP, as in ZERO.
    Extraordinary circumstances indeed!!!

    If maximizing medals was the committee’s goal, why did they choose to field only a 65 & 75 team and eliminate the 70 & 80 team? They should have had at least three or four teams. There were easily 3 medals there instead of the 2 they got.

    The 65 year old team did not need Charles to win a medal. The 70 year old team would have had a team and won a medal with him.

    The 80 year old team would have won a medal, most likely gold, if the Committee hadn’t taken two of the four 80 year olds and dropped them down to accommodate two 75 year olds who didn’t bother to recruit a team of their own.

    Rex wrote to me, “the selection team does not recruit for relays” When the 75 year olds failed to get four out of a possible 14 athletes to run in the relay, Rex and the TSC recruited Bob Lida and Mack Stewart from our 80 year old team to give them to a High Jumper and Pole Vaulter, who didn’t run in any races in Malaga prior to the relays. Bob and Mack are the best in the world, but they would face much stiffer competition in the 75 division. The committee didn’t seem to “take this into consideration.”

    Rex, then wrote to me, “The list of names you gave as possible athletes (75 year olds) contained many that had already left, those that were injured and did not apply….”

    Rex, many potential 80 year old athletes were sick, injured or dead, and did not apply, but I still recruited a team. I was counting on the committee to follow the rules when I came to Malaga. If I had known that the TSC would break the rules and eliminate the team I recruited, I would NEVER, EVER WOULD HAVE COME THERE!

  3. Kenneth D Stone | October 17, 2018 at 5:15 pm | Reply

    Robert Thomas, a member of the relay Team Selection Committee, didn’t respond to my email queries but posted this comment on the USATF Masters Track closed Facebook group:

    Let me remind everyone of something very important that no one seems to be mentioning.

    The uniform that we wear when we represent the USA is the hardest uniform in track and field in the world to earn.

    No athlete from any other country has a harder time to earn the privilege of wearing their countries uniform as we do.

    Every athlete in the USA has to earn the right to wear this uniform and we get to wear it just by signing up.

    NO other master’s team in the world has what we have. IT WILL NEVER BE PERFECT and while some of you may think the relays should be for fun, there are just as many who think that it should be the best athletes on the track.

    The day we worked on relay selection we had spent 4 hours in regional meetings, another four hours in committee meetings and finally 5 hours in relay selection. We put together almost 40 teams and maybe we got one or two teams wrong.

    It was not intentional to leave any one specific person off, there was never any mention of going for a record. So I don’t know why everyone keeps mentioning a record. We don’t have the time to look up each record for each team and age group.

    I understand that everyone that competed in Malaga pays their own way and uses their vacation time to compete, but so do all of the volunteers that support the team.

    The relay policy was rewritten several years ago and since then, we have medaled in almost every relay team we put on the track.

    It’s never going to be clear cut when you don’t have four runners in the same age group.

    We are trying to create a buzz and sponsorship around masters track and field.

    For those of you that think attacking everyone on social media is somehow going to get you what you want, you only make it harder for people to have any interest in dealing with master’s athletes and events.

    If you take the time and look at the big picture this whole conversation only undermines what we are trying to build.

    For me I think I’m done. I have never seen so many adults be unappreciative of the work that other people do on their behalf. I spent every day except one while I was in Malaga supporting the team, even on the off days when many of you were out sight seeing I was sitting in meetings. I see no need to continue to volunteer my time for people who sit here on social media and have NO CLUE what they are talking about when you were not in the room.

    So for anyone that is interested here are all of the responsibilities that I had while in Malaga, if you are interested you can contact Rex or Jerry for information.

    None of these responsibilities come with a travel Budget.

    1) Setting up the team hotel.

    2) Finding and transporting the athletic trainers to the different facilities.

    3) Organizing the team Social.

    4) Relay team Selection Committee

    Thank you,

  4. I have so much respect for you Rex.. You are, or were my hero when it came to USATF Organizational issues. To me… you were a bright light in Masters Track and Field. I still love you buddy but…….You are stating that You, Jerry Bookin-Weiner along with Robert Thomas and Latashia Key were making decisions together, without Phil Greenwald’s input.. So, that means Phil is what, a collector of athletes best performances…a by stander collecting information? Really?)
    In order to maximize the Medal Count…and in the process breaking your own Protocol and Rules in that process, you have sacrificed the opportunity of a number of qualified athletes in their 5 yr. age groups to even compete with their age groups in a meaningful way. I just can’t see how any of it is justified.. The Blowback from that decision was incredibly destructive to at least two age groups..( 70-74 and 80-84) The Relay Selection Committee, didn’t seem to have a clue as to what their “Arbitrary Ignoring of IAAF WMA and USATF Rules and Protocol would ignite”. Did they really think they could get away with this? The answer appears to be …Yes they did..They quote rules to us for their actions, but ignore those same rules in making decisions in Relays which affect the lives of the Athletes who they supposedly represent. And now you tell us they were not rules under the SELECTIONS area of the Rules …What were they…. Suggestions?
    It seems to me that when one is in the decision making position for so many Masters athletes,at a World Championship, that ETHICAL DECISIONS matter more than Medal Counts for the USA !!!!.
    Medals should be a bonus…Ethical and reasonable decisions following listed Rules and Protocol
    matter more than how many Medals we win. They screwed up and made some illegal and very bad decisions for all the wrong reasons…and they should own up to it and stop trying to justify breaking the Rules,or should I say… suggestions.
    Notice they have not addressed breaking any rules!!! Perhaps we can remind them again…it’s on the sheets which they handed out to us…guess they didn’t think we knew how to read, or would have the courage and or testicular fortitude to challenge them..
    Actually, my wife Diane did challenge them with an e-mail, and in person right after the Relay assignments were announced…They did not respond to her e mail.. Later, at the Team gathering that Friday night on Sept. 14th, she confronted Rex and Phil about violating the their own rules, and was met with,” we posted it on Whatsapp” , an App that many of us were not able to download or use because we had no cell phone service in Spain, and we had notified them about that earlier.. In her e-mail, she questioned how the TSC had chosen the Relay Teams and pointing out how they broke their own rules by dropping Allie down from the 70-74 team , (who needed him, and by the rules, he should have remained with), to the 65-69 age group, which already had 6 qualified individuals to choose from. They didn’t need anyone!!!!
    And….. that doesn’t include 68 yr old Michael Kish, who was 2nd in the 100m and 3rd in the 200m final in Malaga but because Phil had informed Michael he could not be guaranteed a place on the Relay until the day before the Relay competition, back in a July e-mail, and again during the competition in Malaga when Michael was willing to change his travel plans to come back for the Relays. He literally discouraged Kish from even filling out a Relay Declaration. However, how difficult would it have been for Phil to tell Michael,” If you are a Medalist in the 100m or the 200m or one of the fastest 4 USA sprinters in those races..( Which he was) you will definitely be in the Relays!!!” Oh my goodness..a common sense answer to Michael’s question..By the way, Michael had the fastest 100m time of any USA 65+ member. 12.93 ..including 71 yr old Charles Allie, who was dropped down to “Help,” the 65 team.
    Here are the two IAAF WMA / USATF Rules under the Selection process that were broken:
    #2 The TSC (Team Selection Committee) will consider athletes from an older group who are not needed as a runner or an alternate to complete a team for a younger age group if necessary.
    {Charles Allie was needed, to compete with Roger Pierce and Salih Talib, and possibly Howard Booth M 75 could have been dropped down to 70s to complete team (Booth was the only viable sprinter on the 75+ team )}

    #3 Age groups may be merged when two or more age groups do not have at least two runners who have qualified for the finals, semi finals and prelims. Merged categories are then treated as one pool..
    { The 75+ team only had one sprinter who made a final in the sprints…. Howard Booth was 6th in the 80M Hurdle Final. Curtis Morgan M 75 only competed in the HJ }
    Allie and Pierce are World Class Sprinters and in the 70+ qualified under semi and final rule. Talib is a World and National 4 x 400m Champion and US Record Holder and holds the WR in 4 x 800M Relay twice.Add Booth to these three and it is a strong Relay team!!

    In the 80s 4 x 100m Relay, Bob Lida and Mack Stewart ( Two of the best 80s sprinters were pulled out of the 80s team) and dropped down to a 75+ team (with Booth and Morgan,) wiping out the 80s team which included Dr. Elmo Shropshire and Wm. Hosken, who had a shot at a Medal if Lida and Stewart had remained in their own age group. The 80s team needed Lida and Stewart to compete…..And these 80 year old sprinters were deprived of an opportunity to run with Lida and Stewart, and at their age, it could be the last opportunity for them to ever compete on the World Stage. Was that even considered?
    The 75+ team…was not a viable team and should have had Booth move down to 70s and have Morgan ( a non sprinter) team up with other 75+ who had filled out Relay declarations.

    As for the 70+ team for the 4 x 100 and 4x 400, Phil and Rex announced to Diane when she confronted them about wiping out the entire 70s Relays, that they had miraculously managed to add a 70s Relay team made up of 75+ Gordon Keller and Arnold Utterbeck to our newly formed ( after she had yelled at and complained about what they did) 4 x 100 and then M75+ Howard Booth and Utterbeck to join Sal Talib and myself on the 4 x 400. Keller tore a quad before the 4 x 100 practicing baton passing and we were not allowed to replace him with an alternate… We were a DNR!!!!
    One of the real issues here is the severe lack of communication between the TSC and the athletes about what was happening. Many countries have a posting board at their Team HQ Hotel, and Track venues on which they post information that athletes need to know, and which should be updated daily. None of this was done.. Even the posting at USA Hotel HQ where we stayed, the only info posted on a board the entire time we were there was info from our own packets..nothing we needed about changing situations going on with Events and Venues. It was difficult to find any of the TSC people despite the fact that they were supposed to be at a certain Venue at 10am every morning. But it didn’t matter because it was difficult to get a straight answer to anything when you happened to find someone.

  5. Going forward, maybe the selection meetings for the relays should be open to include the athletes. The discussions do not need to be a secret, do they?

  6. Hmmmm…our M75 USA 4×100 relay team won silver in Malaga. We beat every other team in the world except the golden Germans whose team included (a) all-universe Guido Mueller, the (b) gold and (c) silver-winning M75 100m dash sprinters in Malaga (Riechle and Kraemer), plus (c) the M75 world #17 100m (Keck). Still, silver, with two M80+ guys (one with a gimpy knee), pressed into service (since all our open M75 sprinters had already gone home). Even more incredibly, we used a couple of M75 jumpers (OMG!!! “NOT SPRINTERS!”, exclaims one wag; “NONE, ZIP, as in ZERO” races run, trumpets another). I say, masterful relay composition by the USATF selectors.

  7. What about just staying in your age group, no matter what?

  8. What about, no rules? Just let the relay selection committee use their best judgement?

  9. Friedel Schunk, former WMA council member | October 23, 2018 at 5:09 am | Reply

    Re Roger Pierce comment 10-17-18. Disregarding the impact of the TSC decision (or the USATF established practice for this matter) it is a lot of hogwash, or should I say b/s, to state that IAAF or WMA rules were arbitrarily ignored. WMA rules for relays do permit drop down of athletes into a lower age group. Look it up on the WMA Website/Documents/WMA Rules of Competition, pg. 7, Rule 170. IAAF does not deal with masters age groups rules.

    • Friedel, where in Roger’s post does he say that drop downs are NOT permitted? That is not his argument. Perhaps your association with Rex Harvey kept you from carefully considering Roger’s remarks. Interest over evidence, eh? Herr Schunk?

  10. Michael Walker | October 23, 2018 at 10:40 am | Reply

    It seems that much of the issue is related to communication/confusion as to how the relay teams are selected. Maybe simplify the criteria – for example a possible selection procedure could be that the top four US runners in an event are required to run the relays and if any of the top four are not available, the relay selection committee makes the decision as to who fills the empty slots. Is there a “Relay” coach(s) to assist the teams? If so, they should be involved in the selection and determining the order of running.
    If medals are a priority and they should be when you are representing your nation, the procedure should be easy to understand, well defined and not be left up to the runners themselves to fill the relay slots.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.