Malaga relay mess yields new Team USA selection procedures (but Net savvy is mandatory)

Major decisions were made at the annual meeting, but we don't yet know all of them.

At the Columbus annual meeting, members of the Masters Track & Field Committee debated the relay selection process — an effort to avoid another Malaga mess. The result is a wag-the-dog statement that justifies the use of M70 Charles Allie in the M65 4×100 in defiance of then rules. For the first time, USATF masters’ relay goal is “is to win as many relays as possible. The secondary goal is to involve as many Team USATF Masters athlete applicants as possible in the relays.”


The old rules suggested that staying in your age group was Job One: “The TSC will consider athletes from an older age group who are not needed as a runner or an alternate to complete a team for a younger age group if necessary.”

But helpfully, the new procedures are laid out in excruciating detail (See the policy here), even mandating (for the first time) that every Team USA member at worlds have Internet access:

All Relay Applications, initial selections, and final selections will be available on a GoogleDoc spreadsheet available to all Team USATF athletes and administrators continually throughout the championship. The URL address of this spreadsheet will be in the “Team USATF Masters Championships Notes” that are sent to each of the USA championship entries before each championship. It will be sent out on various social media channels. And it will be circulated to all those on the Team USATF Championship WhatsApp group. Whenever possible, this spreadsheet will be updated at least each evening of the Championship. The spreadsheet is the key document showing the status of the relay teams at all times; first all those that apply, then prospective teams, and finally the actual selections for teams.

Got that?

Jet-setters Jerry and Christel Donley have run masters meets around the country.

Jet-setters Jerry and Christel Donley have run masters meets around the country. Photo by Rob Jerome

So now we assume that even the oldest tracksters use social media and Web apps. It’s a milestone for our niche sport. But I doubt it comports with reality.

The work-around for M90 and W80 sprinters and the like may be attending the morning team meetings. But even that is iffy. Not everyone’s schedule meshes with the team manager’s.

I’d love to hear audio of that discussion — and whether anyone challenged team manager Phil Greenwald. (It wasn’t just his group’s relay selections; he faced accusations of ignoring athletes and blowing them off.)

We know about the new relay policies from Thanks, Sandy “Speedy” Triolo and comms team!

But we’re still waiting to hear on where the 2021 indoor and outdoor masters nationals will be. Such decisions are made at the annual meeting. And who’s in the 2018 Class of the Masters Hall of Fame? (The answers came minutes after I wrote this. has a post with all the answers. See below.)

At least we found out the winner of the David Pain Award for Distinguished Service — a first: the married couple of Christel and Jerry Donley. (But their names don’t appear in the USATF list of honorees.)

Christel (83) and Jerry (88) are Masters Hall of Famers (inducted in 1997 and 1999, respectively), and both are great picks as they call it a career on one of their gigs.

The notice concludes: “Jerry and Christel have recently retired from their positions as the Mid America Region Co-Coordinators after 30+ years of service to the Masters Track & Field Community. We wish them all the best and look forward to seeing them on the track and field for years to come!”

Finally, in the Tying Up Loose Ends Department, I’m happy to report that M60 jumper Willie Banks is leaping into IAAF politics. (See my Times of San Diego story.) Delegates at Columbus picked Willie over incumbent Stephanie Hightower as America’s nominee to the all-powerful IAAF Council. He’ll seek election next September at the IAAF Doha world championships.

Good for Willie, and good for us! We have a masters advocate in the highest reaches of track and field.

Here are other highlights from Columbus, care of

Bids for Future Championships
After receiving updates from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on plans for the 2019 Indoor Championships on March 1-3 and from Ames, Iowa, on plans for the 2019 Outdoor Championships on July 11-14, the Committee heard bid presentations for 2021 from The Armory in New York City for indoors and from Sacramento, California for outdoors. Both were accepted conditional upon a favorable review from the MTF Championships Games Subcommittee and determination of appropriate dates (potential conflicts with the 2021 WMA Indoor Championships in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and the 2021 NCCWMA Outdoor Championships at a site to be determined in Toronto next summer will need to be avoided).

[My takes: New York’s Armory leaders once raised my ire by landing indoor nationals and then, suddenly, saying fuhgedabouit — forcing a scramble to find a new host for 2007. But Armory God Norbert Sander has died. Methinks their debut nationals should be fine. But let’s make a condition: You can have nationals if you carve out space for a Masters Hall of Fame display within the National T&F Hall of Fame at the Armory. Sacramento last hosted nationals in 2010 (a warm-up for 2011 worlds). Let’s hope global warming takes a break.]

The MTF Budget of nearly $250,000 for 2019 is essentially the same as it was for 2018 ($50 less). This actually represents the continuing commitment of the USATF National Office to MTF as most committees sustained cuts of 5-10%. Internally MTF is allocating more funds in 2019 to anti-doping efforts to allow more drug testing at championship meets than in 2018.

Hall of Fame
Six people will be inducted into the MTF Hall of Fame at the Outdoor Championships in Ames, Iowa next July. They are:

  • Paul Babits (M55 pole vault)
  • Ty Brown (M70 hurdles/sprints)
  • Dick Hotchkiss (M80 throws)
  • Marianne Martino (W65 racewalk)
  • Sandy Pashkin (administrator)
  • Ruth Welding (W60 throws)

In other Hall of Fame related news, MTF Chair Rex Harvey announced that Mary Trotto has resigned as chair of the HOF Subcommittee and that he will solicit candidates for the position and the Executive Committee will interview them and make a recommendation to him early in the new year. He thanked Mary for her long service as HOF Subcommittee Chair as well as Awards Subcommittee Chair (a position she relinquished to Rachel Guest at the beginning of 2018) and previously as Active Athlete Representative on the MTF Executive Committee.

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!

Be the first to comment on "Malaga relay mess yields new Team USA selection procedures (but Net savvy is mandatory)"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.