Palacios, Hunter, and Funk Highlight Indiana performances ​at masters championships in Michigan

MastersTF_OutdoorOver the weekend twenty-eight (28) Indiana members competed in the USATF Masters Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Twelve (12) of the athletes won a total of 14 national titles with Antonio Palacios (Bloomington) and Gary Hunter (Fort Wayne) setting new U.S. records.

The Indiana athletes competed in a total of 49 events during the four day meet held  on the campus of Grand Valley State University.   In total, Indiana athletes visited the awards podium, for finishing in the top three in their event, a total of 28 times over the course of the meet.

Headlining the Indiana performances were the two U.S. records by Palacios and Hunter; as well as the three gold medals won by Leandra Funk (Lafayette).

Palacios gets late birthday present
Palacios_Antonio-16GrandRapids-croppedPalacios, who turned 50 in April, won the 50-54 long jump with a leap of 6.48m (21-03.25) to break the 36-year old record by 2.5 inches.  The previous record set in 1980 was held by Shirley Davisson of California.  “This is the hardest I have ever had to work to pull this one out, and I really had to rely on the crowd to do it,” Palacios said of the exuberant crowd. “When I got to the [long jump] board it was just give it everything for everybody. It’s really an honor.”  Palacios was the 1985 USA junior champion in the triple jump and was all-conference in the long jump and triple jump while at Indiana University.   His father was a 1968 Olympian in the high jump and his older brother, Teddy, won the 1984 national junior college championships in the triple jump and long jump.

Hunter hauls in more titles and records
Similar to Palacios, Hunter, 60, also recently moved into his new age division (60-64) and took full advantage of his ‘youth” as he soared to a new U.S. record in the pole vault.  His winning clearance of 4.05m (13-3.50) broke the old record of 4.04m by John Altendorf set in 2010.  

Video - courtesy of

“I wasn’t able to jump for the last two months,” Hunter said. “I was able to jump for the first time last Saturday and decided to push through my strained (right) calf. I wanted to go for the world record but I wasn’t playing the pole well enough.”  This was Hunter’s 11th straight outdoor title dating back to 2006 when at the age of 50 he won the men’s 50-54 title in Charlotte, N.C.   He currently holds the U.S. outdoor pole vault record in three divisions (M50, M55, and M60).

Hunter was one of six Indiana athletes to claim Pole Vault titles.  The others were:

Brenda Babits  


Fort Wayne, IN / Vault High Athletics

Paul Babits


Fort Wayne, IN

Chet Clodfelter


Roachdale, IN

Anthony Heath


Indianapolis, IN 

Karen Rieger


Indianapolis, IN

Funk is fabulous again
Funk_Leandra-16GrandRapidsPodiumFunk, 60, won the 100m, 200m, and 400m in the women’s 60-64 division.  In the 100m she ran 15.56 to defeat masters hall of fame member Rita Hanscom of California by .17 seconds.  In the 200m Funk stopped the clock at 31.27 to win by over four seconds.  Her winning time in the 400m was 1:09.55.  At the indoor championships in March Funk won the 400m and was second in the 200m.  “Strong competition and perfect weather aided in my 3 personal bests and 3 titles this past weekend,” reflected Funk.  “It’s a great feeling when you enter a new age division, can train hard, and run faster!”

Rookies catch the masters bug with first titles
Ingalls_Gerald-16GrandGrapidsOther Indiana athletes to visit the top of the awards podium were: Kenneth Drollinger (Covington) in the M60 High Jump; Gerald Ingalls (New Castle) in the M40 hammer throw; Adam Longsworth (Fort Wayne) in the M30 discus; and Matthew McCubbins (South Bend) in the M45 high jump.  It was the first national titles for Drollinger, Ingalls, and Longworth while McCubbins picked up his second outdoor title (he also has won three indoor titles).

Ingalls was recently reintroduced to the sport after a 13-year layoff.  He first tried the hammer throw in 1992 as a freshman at West Point.  He competed in the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Trials finishing 9th and 4th; respectively.  From 1997 to 2003 he served as Army Infantry Officer which made training difficult.  In 2003 he retired from competition but recently began training again in preparation for Grand Rapids.  “It is such a joy to be back and to have won my first national championship is just icing on the cake. offered Ingalls.  “Grand Rapids was a great experience back with USATF and I will be back in action this Saturday at the Indiana Championships.”

Silver medals were won by:

Arlaina Brown

W35-39 100m

Noblesville, IN 

Jerry Byrd

M75-79 100m

Warsaw, IN 

Chris Buckler

M35-39 Weight Throw & Hammer

Patoka, IN 

Chet Clodfelter

M50-54 High Jump

Roachdale, IN 

Mark Jakubowski

M55-59  100m Hurdles

Greenwood, IN 

A complete list of all Indiana performances can be found here.

Next year’s outdoor championships are schedule for July 13-16 in Baton Rouge, La.  The USATF Masters Indoor Championships will be held March TBD in Albuquerque, NM.

media services by  
Exclamation Services