Story Reported by USATF Website, 2-22-17
Over the weekend four (4) athletes from USATF Niagara 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.
Winning national titles were Genesee Valley Harriers teammates Ben James (Honeoye Falls, NY) and Gary Radford (Cicero, NY). Both competed in the men’s 60-64 division. James, 60, captured the 400m running 56.79; defeating Paul Fragua of New Mexico by 1.52 seconds. His time was just 1.11 seconds off the American record held by masters hall of famer Bill Collins. Additionally, his time scored 93.11% on the masters’ age-graded tables (above 90% is classified as “world class”) and converts to 46.37 for an open athlete’s performance.
Radford, who two weeks earlier won the national cross country title in Bend, Ore., captured the 1 mile in a time of 5:42.64. His win appeared to be a lock as he hit the bell lap (200m to go) as he held a 9-second lead but a late charge by Timothy Conheady of Illinois resulted in victory margin of less than 1 second.
Picking up two bronze medals was Scott Siriano, 50, of Dillion, Colorado. His third-place finishes came in the 1 mile (5:15.31) and 3000m (10:26.32). Rounding out the Niagara performances was Timothy Riccardi, 58, of Marietta, NY (M50, 4th 3000m, 9th 1 mile).
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 Masters Outdoor Track & Field Championships will be held July 13-16 in Baton Rouge, La.