SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

July 20, 2013

Tedford-Pomeroy, Pierce earn gold at USA National Masters track meet

Jean DePlacido
The Salem News

---- — Diane Tedford-Pomeroy and her coach, Roger Pierce, brought home a bunch of medals from the USA National Masters Track and Field Championships in Kansas earlier this month.

The 47-year-old Tedford-Pomeroy, a former Beverly resident now living in Essex, collected silver medals in the 400, 800 and 1500 meter events. She was also a member of the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams that took gold.

Pierce, who is 68, collected his 32nd gold medal as a member of the men’s 60-69 year-old 4x100 relay team. He has set many world records and has won numerous world and U.S. sprint championships over the past 30 years.

“I am incredibly happy to be on the winning relay team because I wanted to win a gold medal for my 18-month-old granddaughter, Maddie,” said Pierce.

The competitors had to brave 95-degree heat with wind gusts up to 25 mph all four days of the championships (July 11-14). Tedford-Pomeroy displayed her versatility, strength and endurance by competing in so many events and finishing first or second in every one.

“In all her individual races, Diane aggressively took the lead from the gun and led nearly all the way,” said Pierce. “In the 400 meter final (her best event), she was stride for stride with (46-year old) Charmaine Roberts, a former Jamaican standout now living in the United States.”

Tedford-Pomeroy and Roberts pulled away from the rest of the field early and raced down the final straightaway together. In the last 30 meters Roberts took the lead and won the race in 60.97 seconds while Tedford-Pomeroy was right behind her in 63.32.

The 800 meter event was held the next day, and once again Tedford-Pomeroy shot out to an early lead, setting a torrid pace. But Roberts shadowed her and caught up on the final straight. Roberts, one of the best 800 runners in the world, pulled ahead with 50 meters to go and held on to win in 2:26.34, besting Tedford-Pomeroy’s 2:28.18.

On the final day Tedford-Pomeroy competed in the 1500, which is a race she seldom does, and was in front most of the way before relinquishing the lead with 30 meters remaining. She ultimately finished three seconds behind the winner with a time of 5:26.71. She finished up by running the third leg of the 4x100 40-year-old women’s relay team in 54.85 and also anchored the winning 4x400 relay.

“It was so rewarding to watch Diane compete in all her races with such grit and determination,” said Pierce. I know few athletes that train with such intensity and determination. She is a tough competitor and deserves every award she receives. She’s still learning to run sprint races, and I can’t wait until all her training comes together.”

Pierce has been injured for more than a year, and was able to train for only a few weeks before the event. He is one of the top Master sprinters in the world, and although not close to 100 percent, he was still near the front of the pack. He finished fourth in the 400, sixth in the 100 and fifth in the 200 as well as turning in a strong third leg on the winning relay team.

The next major event on the calendar for Pierce and Tedford-Pomeroy takes place in October. They will travel to Porto Alegre in Brazil to compete in the World Championships on the 16-27th of that month.

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Victoria Arlen, the Paralympic swimmer who trained for the 2012 London Games at the Beverly YMCA under coach John Ogden and others, was nominated for an ESPY Award this past week.

Arlen, who won a gold and three silver medals at the Paralympic Games, was nominated for Best Female Athlete With A Disability and went to the event in Los Angeles. The ESPY’s are given for excellence in sports, and the awards in many categories were presented live on ESPN. The ESPY in Arlen’s category went to fellow disabled swimmer Jessica Long.

Arlen, a recent Exeter, N.H., graduate, has a bright future and has been giving motivational speeches. She has her own website and urges people to “Rock Your Disability”. An illness left Arlen paralyzed, but she has great strength in her arms and plays hockey, lacrosse, skis and dances. She is also an actress, and will be one of the top swimmers on Team USA in the next Paralympic Games.

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Jean DePlacido is a part-time writer and columnist for The Salem News. Contact her at jmdeplacido@aol.com.