Saturday, December 2, 2017

Congrats to USATF Masters Award winners! And to a few non-award winners!

Masters Age Group Award winners 2017

 30-39: Sean Burnett, Walter Dix

 40-49: Antwon Dussett, Sonja Friend-Uhl, Allen Woodard, Derk Pye, Jeferson Souza, Latrica Dendy, Eric Cole

 50-59: Khalid Mulazim, Lorraine Jasper, Joy Upshaw, Antonio Palacios, Oneithea Lewis

 60-69: William Collins, Carol Finsrud, Myrle Mensey, Reta Hanscom, Doug Torbert, Thaddeus Wilson Sr, Noel Ruebel, Charles Allie

 70-79: Kathy Bergen, Joanne Marriott, Larry Hart, Gary Patton

 80+: Jeanne Daprano, Gloria Krug, William Bell, Robert Culling, Ian Reed

Kathy Martin, Bob Lida

Yes, there were inconsistencies
Overall, very few awards were given this year.  No one in the M55 group got it.
It's very clear why most of these athletes received this award, less clear why a few did, and why a few did not.  With any type of award that depends on voting, there are always inconsistencies.  What is clear is that the so called "Masters Award point scoring system" was completely ignored.

As a prime example of the inconsistency of this award -

I'm not going to mention any names except for one.  It is completely astounding to me that Karnell Vickers  did not get this award.  He finished with FOUR #1 World rankings in M50: (100m, 200m, 110m H, and 400m H) and won 4 National Championships.  And he did it in what is arguably the most competitive and stacked age group in the world.  What does one have to do?  Contrast this with another hurdler that received the award who won just one National Championship and finish with just a #3 world rank indoor, although he had (one) #1 rank outdoor.  And, a W75 lady won 4 Golds in Daegu.

OK... then a #1 world rank seems like a good indicator.  What about Karnell?  What about Don who finished with #1 rankings in 2 events indoors?  At least one of the award winners was no where near #1 World rank.

OK, then perhaps American records seem like a valid criteria?  Not even this was consistent.  Some American record setters won the award, while others did not, like two who set American records in the 5K and 10K.  The 10K was a WR!  Still, not good enough?

Personally, I think that the point system takes all of these things into consideration... it accounts for both championships and records.  Yet the voting committee ignores it.  In the past years, at the awards dinner, a very clear spread sheet was developed noting the accomplishments of all the award winners.  I can't wait to see the spread sheet on this one.  Indicated by a spread sheet I saw on the '15 and '16 seasons, it seems that the point system was followed somewhat or informally, why not this yr?

In a sport like track and field, there shouldn't be awards given on any other basis than what is empirical:  data and numbers.  Personalities, opinions, cuteness, and name recognition (i.e. those that have participated for many yrs)...  should not play a part.  That is why I think an awards point system is appropriate.  It deals with numbers.  But, even that present point system could be improved, perhaps adjusted to reflect how competitive the championship event is (i.e. number of entries) and World and US rankings.  Not all championship events are equally contested.  For example, one person got the award for '16, winning a World Championship in a fairly low turnout event, and a National Championship where the person was the only entry in the event age group and ran uncontested.  In '15, it seemed that the award required at least three medals:  World Medals of any color, and/or National Championship Gold.  The award criteria has shifted year to year and that isn't consistent or good.

Another argument for adherence to an award point system is that it encourages consistency and participation.  This is the way the professional elite track competition the Diamond League is run.  Why shouldn't masters be run the same way?

1 comment:

  1. The key point, Bill, of which you are well aware, is that very few awards were given. We had a ton of talent among the younger (W30, W35, W40, and W45) women, and yet those four age groups received a combined total of two awards: LaTrica Dendy and Sonja Friend-Uhl. Somehow I think it was different in previous years.

    Peter L. Taylor