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Colleen Barney is our Jessie Graff — but ‘American Ninja Warrior’ didn’t show her

Longtime viewers of NBC’s reality show “American Ninja Warrior” know that many of the female runners of the obstacle courses are former track stars, such as Jessie Graff, the stuntwoman. So it’s no wonder that ANW producers picked W50 sprinter Colleen Barney to run the course last March at Universal Studios in Los Angeles. Too bad her run wasn’t shown last week in the Season 11 premiere — almost certainly because she didn’t fit the narrative. See my Times of San Diego story for details. Also scroll down to near the bottom of the story for pictures I took of…


‘The Legend’ sprints out of hibernation: Phil Raschker enters National Senior Games at 72

Nine years ago, Phil Raschker was quoted as saying: “At times I have stepped away from being competitive and gone into hibernation for a while. But when I don’t have the object of being able to compete, I find that I’m not quite living the lifestyle that I want to.” Don’t look now, but Mama Bear is coming out of her cave. Now 72, the Masters Hall of Famer I’ve long called “The Legend” is entered in seven events at the mid-June National Senior Games in Albuquerque, where the elevation will help her have a shot at records. She’s in…


Irene Obera sets a Sports Illustrated record — third time in ‘Faces in the Crowd’ since 1962

The June 18, 1962, issue of Sports Illustrated had an article by Jack Nicklaus advising right-handed golfers how to hit a left-handed shot. Also: full-page ads promoting whiskey and cigarettes (Marlboro and Viceroy) and a blooming sprinter from Northern California in “Faces in the Crowd.” It read: “Irene Obera of Berkeley, Calif., has out-sprinted everyone on her home-state tracks this season with three breezy 10.9s and an 11.0 in the 100-yard dash, gives promise of being a front-runner for the AAU women’s nationals next month in Los Angeles.” How did Irene do? She took fifth in the 100-yard dash (in…


M55 hurdler Kerry Sloan admits raping underage girl; 2 other victims emerge

Kerry Sloan, a world-class masters hurdler, faces a minimum of 10 years in prison after cutting a plea deal in his underage sex case, according to the feds in Oklahoma. Here’s how a TV station reported the news: TULSA, Oklahoma — A private track coach and retired U.S. Army sergeant first class from Killeen said in a plea agreement he sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl during a trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to meet with college coaches, the Department of Justice said in a press release. Kerry Sloan, 56, pleaded guilty Tuesday to transporting a minor with intent to engage in…


61 USATF entrants will split $33,000 in Toruń world meet travel and lodging grants

Rex Harvey just capped his career. Even with his elite and masters record decathlon records, our national masters chair can point to a milestone in the masters movement — at least in the United States. More than 60 Americans will get financial help to compete at Toruń indoor worlds, and likely will earn prize money as well. This is the geezertrack equivalent of Nicolaus Copernicus (touted by Toruń as their most famous son). Here’s the announcement Wednesday from Sandy Triolo, USATF MTF Communications chair: 84 USATF Masters Athletes applied for the W#1 Torun Program! 61 are currently eligible and one…


Look for Irene Obera, Bill Jankovich to redefine age-85 abilities at Winston-Salem nationals

I’m not in Winston-Salem this weekend for indoor nationals, but I’m eager to see results, especially from newbie W85 (and Hall of Famer) Irene Obera (entered in 60, 200, 400, 800, high jump, long jump, shot put and triple jump) and M85 Bill Jankovich (60, 60 hurdles, 200, 400, high jump, pentathlon, long jump, pole vault, shot put and triple jump). Bill set a monster AR in the indoor hep a month ago. Who hazards a guess at Irene’s record-setting at JDL Fast Track? Also notable: Jim Barrineau, the Olympic high jumper, is venturing WAY outside his comfort zone. My…


Colleen Barney gets shot at NBC stardom — to appear on ‘American Ninja Warrior’

W50 sprinter Colleen Barney has been posting Facebook photos of herself training at a gym — hinting that she’s prepping for “American Ninja Warrior.” Last week, she made it official. She aims to be the best over-50 woman ever to appear on the reality show when she tackles the L.A. Universal Studios course March 6. She’s not sure if she’s the oldest woman ever invited, “but I do hope to make it further than any woman over 50 has gone (right now that means I have to complete at least the first two obstacles)!” Colleen — already a certified Super…


Martha Mendenhall hopes to elevate masters at new Flop House High Jump Club

You can take the girl out of the high jump but not high jump out of the girl. So it goes for world champion Martha Mendenhall of Tacoma, who may be retired from competition but still in the game. Big time. Her latest effort is coaching the well-named “Flop House” High Jump Club, which invites masters athletes. “Only one [masters member] so far and he is from Oregon,” Martha says. “Tacoma doesn’t have a lot of, if any, masters high jumpers that I know of. There are a few in the Seattle area and I’m hoping as my “Flop House”…


Peter Brady debuts Masters Milers podcast on iTunes with John Trautmann, Nick Berra

In the beginning was the masters mile — exhibition events at indoor meets for middle-age men. David Pain of San Diego organized these races and found them popular enough to start a sport — masters track and field. (Older athletes had run track, but David’s role was being the Johnny Appleseed of age-group athletics.) More than 50 years later, M45 middle-distance star Peter Brady is continuing the Pain legacy. First he helped found the Masters Milers group on Facebook (with 1,000 members). This month he’s launched a podcast — free audio interviews on Apple iTunes. (A related website is a…


W55 race walker Carmen Jackinsky preps for 50K nationals, has Olympic Trials in mind

Carmen Jackinsky of suburban Portland, Oregon, is an inventor, coach and W55 race walker. Not sure which order she would use. But proving again that masters are far more interesting than kiddies, I point to my profile of Carmen in Times of San Diego. She walked funny as a child, she recalls, and was put in dancing. Then she wouldn’t stop hanging from a bar upside down and became a gymnast. Then she injured her back and was told she’d never be an athlete again. So she took up race walking. And then she decided to improve the design of…