SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

November 8, 2013

Jean DePlacido column: Pomeroy, Pierce enjoy Masters Championships

By Jean DePlacido
Correspondent

---- — Diane Tedford Pomeroy and her coach, Roger Pierce, had the time of their lives at the World Masters Track and Field Championships in Porto Alegre, Brazil recently.

The outdoor championship meet is held every other year in a different country, and over 4,000 participated in the Olympic-style competition for athletes age 30 and over.

Pomeroy, who used to live in Beverly and now resides in Essex, won three individual silver medals (400 meter, 800 and 1,500) and was a member of two gold medal winning relays at the US Masters Track and Field Nationals last July. She had competed in Worlds in 2011 before starting to train with Pierce, but never placed in world competition until now.

The All-American track star at Bryant University and member of the school’s Hall of Fame won the semifinal heat in the 400; two days later she ran a 63.84 to take third, just 1.54 seconds behind the Australian winner. She also won the 800 semifinal and placed fifth in the final in 2:30.49.

Pomeroy still holds records at Bryant and Wahconah Regional High School.

Pierce, 69, a former Beverly High runner and captain of the Northeastern University team, holds three world titles in the 400 meter and has 13 gold medals in world competition as well as 31 USA national titles.

Injuries have plagued him much of the past year, but he ran well enough to place fourth in the 400, fifth in the 200, sixth in the 100 and was also a member of the gold medal relay team at the US Nationals. His goal was to qualify for the 400 meter finals, and he exceeded his expectations with a fifth place finish (66.15), only 1.7 seconds out of second.

Pierce advanced to the semifinals in the 100 and 200, but didn’t run the 200 to watch the 47-year-old Pomeroy in the 800 finals at another stadium across town. He competed in the 65 plus category, anchoring the 4x100 relay to victory in 52.83 and an hour later ran a strong second leg on the winning 4x400 team (4:22).

“I wanted to be there with Diane because she trained so hard,” said Pierce. “Her 400 was a tremendous validation of her ability and courage under very difficult conditions. I can say from personal experience that third and fifth place in the world isn’t too shabby.”

Immediately after the relay, it was a mad dash to the airport while still in sweats and USA uniforms. Because things were running behind schedule, Pomeroy was unable to run on the winning USA relay.

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Holly Smith is making quite a name for herself as the field hockey goalie for the University of New England. The freshman, who was a three-sport star at Peabody High, was selected Commonwealth Coast Conference Rookie of the Year and first team All-Conference after being named Rookie of the Week three times.

Smith extended her consecutive scoreless minutes streak to 364 after blanking Salve Regina and Nichols College. She now has eight shutouts in the 18 games she has started, including a 5-0 win over Nichols in the CCC semifinals.

The top-seeded Big Blue, who are undefeated in the conference, host Gordon in the finals tomorrow. Her goals against average is 1.51 overall and 1.00 in the conference.

“My team is so much fun,” said Smith, who is a Health, Wellness, and Occupational Studies major and wants to be an occupational therapist. “I love it here.”

Smith was field hockey and softball captain for the Tanners and a member of the swim team. She is now putting all her energy into improving field hockey skills.

“I’m focusing on improving my game,” said Smith. “I had no idea I’d be starting as a freshman; I just went out to compete for the spot and started the first game.

“It’s been an awesome first year, especially making the playoffs. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know the competition. It’s a lot different playing on turf instead of the bumpy grass field at Peabody. I’m used to the faster game because I played with the Cape Ann Coalition travel team. Actually on turf it’s a little easier for the goalie to judge where the ball is going to go, but it does come in fast.”

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On Sunday the R11A 5K run/walk will be held at St. John’s Prep at 9 a.m., with all proceeds to benefit the Rich Angelo Scholarship Fund. Angelo died suddenly while competing at the USA National Triathlon in Burlington, Vermont.

Last June two scholarships were given out in his name. There’s a free fun run for kids ages 3-10 around track.

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Jean DePlacido is a correspondent and columnist for The Salem News. Contact her at jmdeplacido@aol.com.