San Diego, CA. — Even as the world celebrates the pinnacle of the art form in Beijing at the 15th IAAF World Track & Field Championships, we are reminded that each and every one of the athletes representing their nation’s colors in China began their journey on an anonymous oval where the top prize arrived upon the smile of Mom or a “Well done” from Dad, and where personal goals created podiums of pride long before the world at large ever took notice.
Last night those smiles, “well dones” and personal satisfactions returned to the old U.S. Navy Base San Diego track for the first time in more than a generation as USATF San Diego long distance chairman Paul Greer and his merry band of tracksters organized the first competitive track and field meeting in 35 years at the home port of the Pacific Fleet.
Greer is the tireless Pied Piper of San Diego running. Head coach at both San Diego City College and the San Diego Track Club, through his efforts and others America’s Finest City has one of the most robust calendars of racing opportunities, including the Summer Nights and Winter Nights Track Series and Dirt Dog Cross Country series.
“The idea for the meet first came up last October at our Summer Nights annual meeting,” said the one-time sub-4:00 miler out of San Diego State. “We were looking at potential groups to get involved to expand our track community. And I thought we didn’t see many military people at our meets. So I called Kota (Henmi) the specialist at the Naval Base rec department and set up a meeting.”
“Everybody said, let’s do it,” Kota explained. “Morale, welfare and recreation is the fun side of the military, and we want to provide as many free opportunities for our sailors, their families and retirees as we can.”
Kota Henmin stamped out 200 commemorative coins to mark what many hope will become an annual late summer meet as an intrepid gathering of military personnel, staff, retirees and family met on an unusually steamy San Diego evening.
Though the first year turnout was modest, the participants were enthusiastic, covering a wide range of athletic experience and talent. Plus, due to elevated security concerns, the brass decided not to publicize the meet outside the base ahead of time.
The schedule provided an array of opportunities, including the standing broad jump, shot put, 220 yards, 440, 880, 1 Mile, and Two Mile as the track at the naval base is old enough to have been laid out in yards not meters.
Here, then some highlights and pics of the evening.
As the sun set over the Pacific blue, retreat sounded throughout the 32nd Street Naval Station, the bugler’s call a reminder of service rendered, duty performed and bonds held. Then as a fat, sweaty moon began its tour overhead gear was loaded up and families reformed for the drive home.
Tomorrow the base will hum and stories will be told. Hopefully, a new tradition will have begun on the old base track, as 35 years was far too long a spell for the starter’s pistol to have remained silent.
As Coach Greer reflected, the meet was a small thanks from the San Diego running community to the Navy and its extended family. For all they do, this meet was for you.
2015 San Diego Navy Base Track and Field Meet
Admiral Prout Field House
August 27, 2015
|Standing Broad Jump Men||1||2||3||4|
|1||Oronde Vassell||10ft 1in||10ft 5in.||scratch||10ft 5in|
|2||Nathaniel McBride||9ft 3in||9ft 3in||9ft 10in||8ft 7in|
|3||Christopher Sievert||9ft 2in||9ft 7in||9ft 6in||9ft 8in|
|4||Krashawn Knight||scratch||8ft 5in||8ft 7in||8ft 11in|
|5||Alexander Koger||6ft 11in||7ft 2in||7ft 2in||7ft 7in|
|6||Romero Luis Jr.||5ft 2in||5ft 5in||5ft 7in||5ft 11in|
Standing Broad Jump
|1||Charlene Oliver||7ft 8in||7ft 6in||scratch||8ft 1in|
|2||Keelan McGuire||6ft 1 in||0ft 0in||0ft 0in||0ft 0in|
|3||Olivia Henrich||5ft 6in||5ft 5in||5ft 7in||6ft 0in|
|Shot Put Men 16||1||2||3||4||5|
|1||Ikey Poumele||39ft 8in||40ft 11in||39ft 7in||42ft 10in||42ft 10in|
|2||Ralph Lufkin||38ft 2.5in||41ft 1in||41ft 1in|
|3||Jay Mensie||37ft 11in||27ft 5in||34ft 10.5in||35ft 5in||37ft 11in|
|4||Luis Romero||29ft 6in||29ft 3.5in||28ft 6in||27ft 1.5in||29ft 6in|
|5||Alexander Koger||25ft 11.2in||26ft 2.5in||26ft 8.5in||26ft 8.5in|
|Shot Put Men 3K|
|Sr.||Joe Cordova||30ft 4.5in||29ft 10.5in||29ft 2in||30ft 4.5in|
|Youth||Romero Luis Jr.||15ft 8in||15ft 0in||14ft 9.5in||15ft 8in|
|220 Men – Heat 1|
|220 Men – Heat 2|
|5||Luis Romero Jr.||22.00|
|7||Quintavius Nelson Jr.||21.23|
|13||Luis G Romero||6:53.57|