Vergin wins seven medals at Masters Championships in ABQ


Over the weekend nineteen (19) athletes from USATF Pacific Northwest competed in the USATF Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  The championships were held in the Albuquerque Convention Center with over 600 athletes ages 30-99 competing over the three days of competition. While the 5,000 foot elevation was kind to the sprinters and field event athletes; the distance athletes needed to make adjustments to their normal strategies to navigate the effects of the oxygen-depleted air.
Seven of the local athletes won a total of eight national titles - all in field events or the pentathlon.  
Vergin goes all IronMan on us (AGAIN)!
Roger Vergin, 79 (Poulsbo, WA / ClubNorthwest) was the only double champion as he won the M75 pentathlon and triple jump.  Vergin, the Iron Man of masters, competed in a total of eight events (including the 5-event pentagon) and reached the awards podium six times to claim medals for finishing in the top three in his events.  He captured second place finishes in four events- 60m hurdles, long jump, shot put, and superweight throw.  His bronze medal performance came in the weight throw.  He rounded out the competition with fourth place finishes in the 60m and 200m.  Since he began competing in masters competitions in 2009 Vergin has won 33 national titles in 10 different events (decathlon, heptathlon, indoor pentathlon, outdoor pentathlon, 200m, 300m hurdles, long jump, triple jump, pole vault, weight throw) and won a total of 93 medals (for top three finishes).
"After a national championship meet, I typically return home pleased with my performance in some events and recognizing I did not do my best in others, reflected Vergin upon returning to his winter home in Florida.” “But today my main impression has nothing to do with the times or distances or medals I achieved.  It is a reflection of the joy I saw and experienced at the meet.  Everyone is so engaged, no matter if they won or lost.  We are running and jumping and joking around with our friends like we did when we were eight years old in the schoolyard.   In the airport Sunday afternoon, amidst a sea of tired looking, out of shape, unsmiling people with their heads in their cell phones, there was lots of healthy looking, animated people in athletic gear talking and reliving the last three days with each other, a smile on every face.  At 79.5 years old, I feel so blessed to be able to do this with my friends."
Vergin scored all of Club Northwest’s 50 points; which resulted in an 11th place finish in the men’s team standings.  
The pole vaulters stake their claim
Three of the gold medals won by the locals came in the pole vault where Pro Vault NW teammates Rena Wong (W55-59), McKane Lee (M30-34), and David Lindeberg (M35-39) each defended their 2016 titles in their respective age divisions and each jumped higher than last year. For Lindeberg it was his seventh title in a row.
Wong, 57, of Federal Way, Wash. won the W55-59 division with a clearance of 2.50m (8-02.25) over Teresa Lowe of Arizona who also cleared 2.50m but Wong had fewer misses during the competition and was declared the winner.  Last year she cleared 2.41m (7-10.75) to win.
Lee, 33, of Arlington, Wash. cleared 4.68m (15-04), the highest clearance of all competitors, to win the M30-34 division.   HIs winning height in 2016 was 4.65m (15-03).
In the M35-39 division Lindeberg, 38, cleared 4.40m (14-05) for his victory; 1.75 inches higher than last year.

Fellow Pro Vault NW teammates Clayton Cafferata (Seattle) and Frederick Zapf (Sammamish, Wash.) each won bronze medals for their third place finishes.  Cafferata in the M45-49 division and Zapf in the M75-79 division.
Atkins and Wright sweep M40 horizontal jump titles
Ronald Atkins, 43, (Bremerton, Wash.) and Anthony Wright, 40, (Vancouver, Wash.) and  respectively won the long jump and triple jump competitions in the M40-44 division.  
In the long jump competition Atkins trailed Jason Melton of Texas after 3 jumps, but on the next jump he soared 6.29m (20-07.50) to take the lead for good and won by 11 inches over Melton.
In the triple jump Wright and Atkins finished 1st and 2nd with Wright taking the lead on the first jump and never relinquishing it. His best jump of the day was 12.27m (40-03) which was 9 inches clear of Atkins best on the day.  Wright also placed third in the high jump (5-01) and fifth in the long jump (won by Atkins). 
Wilcox wins pentathlon
Rod Wilcox, 51, of Edmonds, Wash. joined Vergin as a gold medalist in the 5-event pentathlon competition. Competing in the M50-54 division, he scored a total of 3241 points to outdistance Kerry Sloan of Texas by 218 points. His individual event performances were: 60m hurdles (9.63), long jump (17-07), shot put (35-09.75), high jump (5-01), and 1000m (3:58.71).  This was the second title in a row for Wilcox in the event.  Last year he won with a score of 3248 points.
Silver for Zerbe and Turock
Richard Zerbe, 78, (Seattle) won picked up two silver medals in the race walk events.  In the 1 mile he stopped the clock at 12:06.47 and in the 3000m he walked to a time of 22:55.37.  Both races were won by James Veenstra of Illinois.  In the M65-69 long jump Art Turock, 66, of Kirkland, Wash. leaped 3.78m (12-04.75) to finish second to Thaddeus Wilson of California.  He also finished fifth in the 200m running 32.18 and 10th in the 60m.
Villeneuve goes three for 3rd over three days
Denis Villeneuve, 60, (Redmond, Wash.) finished third in each of the three events (800m, 1 mile, 3000m) he competed in over the three days of competition.  His times were 2:30.76 (800m), 5:51.39 (1 mile) and 11:50.24 (3000m). Picking up two bronze medals was Will Leslie, 71, of Issaquah, Washington in the M70-74 division. He ran 31.21 in the 200m and 1:13.25 in the 400m.  And rounding out the medal haul for the association, each winning a bronze medal, were: Vadim Scherbinin (M55 60m, Bellevue, Wash.) and Joe Smith (M60 Triple Jump, Lynnwood, Wash.)
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The 2018 indoor championships are scheduled to be held March 16-18 in Landover, Md. and the 2019 championships in Winston-Salem, N.C (date TBA). The 2017 USATF Masters Outdoor Championships will be held July 13-16 in Baton Rouge, Louisan.
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