Matt Pace, winner of the Jesse Lanier Memorial award as the outstanding individual in the NW La. District track meet, muscles up in the shot put ring. (click photo to enlarge)
One thing about Larry Smith. If you beat him in a foot race, he’s ready to give you your “props”.
Saturday, it was Matt Pace whose case Smith was building after the Fredericksburg, TX, resident made the trip to Bossier City specifically to run in the NW La. District Senior Olympics. Pace captured four 60-64 age group Gold Medals, three coming in the 50-meters, 100-meters and 200-meters, and each in the best times of the day regardless of age group. Smith, now in the 65-69 age group, posted times just over those of Pace, who also won a gold medallion in the shot put with the second best effort of the day regardless of age group.
Smith remembered that the Jesse Lanier Memorial Trophy goes to the outstanding individual performer in the NW District track and field meet. And just minutes after Pace, in the inside lane of the 200 meter run, flew past everyone to the best time of the day (27:05), Smith asked one of the voters on the Lanier panel who he favored. “I gotta like Pace,” the voter replied. That brought a wide smile to Smith’s face. “That’s my man,” he exclaimed.
Among the female competitors, a strong case could be made for Amy Holmes in the Lanier vote. She won fiver golds: in the 200 (38.81) and 400 (a minute and 38 seconds) meter runs and in the shot, javelin and discus. The 61-year old recorded a 23 foot 3 inch effort in the shot put, a 60-foot-2 throw in the javelin and a 60-foot-8 figure in the discus. The discus and javelin figures broke the district records for her age group (60-64). Sandy Triplett owned both those records from 2010 at 55-6 and 49-3. Holmes’ 38.81 200-meter trip shattered the age group record of 44.20 set by Betty Taylor in 2000.
Pace ran 6.94 and 13.19 in the 50 and 100. He threw 31-3 1/2 in the shot put, the second best throw of the day among all competitors. In each of the sprints, Pace bested Smith, who competed in the same heat but was running in the 65-69 age bracket. Vince Breaux of Lafayette, an icon in the district’s field events, had the best shot put at 37-1 1/2 on a day when over-night rains left the weight areas muddy and not likely to inspire the seniors to great performances.
“I wanted to compete against Larry and Dan Ursery, especially at this meet,” Pace said. “We’ve been together at meets in Arkansas and Louisiana and they have always told me about the Bossier City meet. How it is well run and how it draws some really good competition. I wanted to see for myself.”
“We used to meet when we ran at Bossier High’s track six or seven years ago,” Smith remembered of facing Pace. “He was great back then but I could beat him. We’re both a little older now.”
Pace’s early athletics revolved around baseball. He was a centerfielder and because of his speed the Minnesota Twins drafted him. But a knee injury in 1960 was a third strike for the baseball career. In fact it took three surgeries to get the knee back to where he could even dream of athletics in his future. “The doctors told me I would always walk with a limp,” he recalls. So his running became therapy and over time it has made him a formidable foe in masters and senior track.
In other results Saturday, Ken Prude smashed two age group marks during the morning at Airline High School track. Prude, 59, eclipsed his own mark in the 400 with a time of a minute and one second. The old mark was 1:06.2 by Wayne Roper in 2006. Prude ran 2:24 in the 800 meters, 13 seconds better than he clocked in 2012.
There were six previous winners of the Lanier award in this year’s field–Bob Sutton (2014), Randy Schramm(2013), Prude (2012), Breaux (2010), Dan Ursery (2008), and Smith (2007). Rules state if you win the award, you are out of that competition in the future. Other winners include Joe Cordill (2002), Roper (2003), Dickie Morgan (2004), Randy Nelson (2005), Pam Elder (2007), Mike Cox (2009) and Janneth Merriman (2011).
FEMALE: 60-64: Amy Holmes OD 23-3 Gold. 73-78: Barbara Wheeler OD 15-0 1/4 Gold. Mildred Reeves OD 13-6 1/2 Silver. Annette Burch OD 12-6 Bronze. 80-85: Dorothy Young OD 13-6 1/2 Gold. 86-plus: Maxine Thomas OD 8-3 1/2 Gold. Male: 70-77: Vince Breaux OD 37-1 1/2 Gold. Charles Jolley 30-2 3/4 Gold. Robert Gatti 28-6 Silver. Julius Cassels 27-2 3/4 Bronze. 63-67: Matt Pace OD 31-3 1/4 Gold. Nolt Menard 27-4 3/4 Gold. Dan Ursery 25-4 Silver.
FEMALE: 60-64: Amy Holmes OD 60-2 Gold. 70-74: Mildred Reeves OD 20-11 Gold. 80-84: Dorothy Young 23-10 Gold. MALE–70-74: Vince Breaux OD 102-8 Gold. Robert Gatti 79-0 Gold. 65-69: Herb Stein OD 91-2 Gold.
FEMALE: 60-64: Amy Holmes OD 60-8 Gold. 69-73: Mildred Reeves OD 31-1 1/2 Gold: Annett Burch OD 27-3 Silver. Rose Jackson OD 16-5 Bronze. 75-78: Barbara Wheeler OD 33-10 Gold. 80-84: Dorothy Young OD Gold. 85-plus: Maxine Thomas OD 6-5. MALE: 65-69: Nolt Menard 94-7 Gold. Herb Stein OD 73-8 1/2 Silver. Dan Ursery 54-8 Silver.
FEMALE: 73-81: Dorothy Young OD 19.14 Gold. Annette Buirch OD 19.15. Silver. Maxine Thomas 22.93 Bronze. MALE: 49-52: Randy Schramm 7.19 Gold. Doug Skelton 8.74 Silver. 60-64: Matt Pace OD 6.94 Gold. 65-69: Larry Smith 6.97 Gold. Dan Ursery 7.56 Silver. Nolt Menard 8.86 Bronze. 70-75: Pete Clarke 7.94 Gold. Bob Sutton 8.38 Silver. Duane Chilton 8:56 Bronze. 80-plus: Wayne Hanson 10.30 Gold.
MALE: 49-52: Randy Schramm 13.91 Gold. Doug Skelton 14.72 Silver. 60-64: Matt Pace OD 13.19 Gold. Tim Mitchell 15.08 Silver. 65-69: Larry Smith 13.25 Gold. Mike Loyd 14.16 Silver. Dan Ursery 15.11 Bronze. 70-74: Pete Clarke 14.50 Gold. Bob Sutton 16.70 Silver. Duane Chilton 176.78 Bronze. 81-plus: Wayne Hanson 31.52 Gold.
FEMALE: 50-61: Amy Holmes OD 38.81 Gold. Jenny Hackman 44.34 Silver. MALE: 49-52: Randy Schramm Gold. Doug Skelton Silver (times unavailable). 60-65: Matt Pace 27.05 Gold. Ken Endres 32.84 Silver. Nolt Menard (time unavailable). 66-69: Larry Smith Gold. Mike Loyd Silver. Dan Ursery Bronze (times unavailable). 70-74: Pete Clarke 30.25 Gold. Bob Sutton 37.16 Silver. Duane Chilton 39.36 Bronze.
FEMALE: 50-61: Amy Holmes OD 1 minute 38 seconds, Gold. Jenny Hackman 1:45 Silver. MALE: 49-52: Doug Skelton 1:14 Gold. Randy Schramm 1:22 Silver. 55-59: Ken Prude 1:01 Gold. 60-65: Ken Endres OD 1:28 Gold. Nolt Menard 1:30 Silver. 70-74: Pete Clarke 1:15 Gold. Julius Cassels 1:49 Silver. 80-plus: Ray Nelson 2:12 Gold.
FEMALE: 50-61: Jenny Hackman 3:54 Gold. Amy Holmes 4:45 Silver. MALE: 49-54: Floyd Galiano 2:45 Gold. Doug Skelton 2:47 Silver. Randy Schramm 2:49 Bronze. 55-59: Ken Prude 2:34 Gold. 65-69: Nolt Menard 3:10 Gold. 80-plus: Ray Nelson 5:16 Gold.
JESSE LANIER MEMORIAL 1,500 METERS
FEMALE: 50-54: Jenny Hackman 7:36 Gold. MALE: 49-52: Floyd Galiano 5:49 Gold. Doug Skelton 6:21 Silver. Randy Schramm 6:54 Bronze.