DtB sent a congratulatory note to Tom Langenfeld on Monday after he won yet another USA Masters high jump title. By our count, the victory in the M70 high jump was Langenfeld's 17th national title.
"Well, if you count indoor championships," Langenfeld gently corrected us, "I guess it’s actually my 28th masters high jump title —16 outdoor, 12 indoor. But that’s spread over almost 34 years."
Langenfeld (pictured), who cleared 4-7 for title #28 at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston on Sunday, won his first outdoor crown in 1975; his first indoor victory came in 1976.
"I’ve lost almost a foot and a half of altitude since then," he noted, "but I still get pumped for these things. And every once in a while I nail a jump that feels a little like old times. Can’t say I did that in Boston this year, though I felt pretty good about the jump that won it."
Langenfeld is noticing some wear and tear on his 72-year-old body.
"My training has been relatively limited since last summer because of a lower back/hip problem," he said, "which also seems to have cut my vertical jump by three to four inches. It may be that some of the moving parts are starting to wear out."
"I’ve only rarely let an injury keep from the national meets," he continued. "They’re just too much fun—and the addiction to competition is too strong. So I went – and managed to beat a couple of guys who were either coming down with or coming back from injuries themselves."
Langenfeld, the USATF-Minnesota Masters Track and Field Chairman, reported that other Minnesotans fared well at the event, which will move to Landover, Maryland next year after finding its home in Boston for eleven of the last twelve years:
"Ralph Maxwell, the 88-year-old retired judge who has divided his time between Richville, Minn., and Alamo, Texas, in recent years. He set two American age-group records while competing in the M85 indoor pentathlon on Friday—a record 3,626 points for that event, and a record 15.10 in the 60m hurdles. Also high jumped 1.07m/3’6”, long jumped 2.80m/9’2¼”, threw the 3kg shot 7.29m/23’11” and ran the 1,000 m in 7:06.43.
"He came back the next day to take seconds in the open 60m, shot put and long jump.
"It was a pretty good meet for Minnesota high jumpers generally. Valeriy Snezhko of Plymouth finished third and Rick Allen of Richfield sixth in the M50 high jump, both clearing 1.60m. Valeriy had fewer misses. Other Minnesotans:
"Multi-eventer Mike Moser skipped the pentathlon this year in favor of the M55 pole vault and came away with the third-place medal. He also ran legs on ad hoc 4x800 and 4x400 teams in M50-59 relay competition.
"Thom Weddle of Minneapolis – fourth in the 3000m (11:52.28) and fourth in the mile (5:56.95). At 69 he’s at the top of his age group and by far the oldest entrant in both events.
"Barb Spannous of Excelsior was forced to drop out of the W60 3000m with a foot injury with just two laps to go."
Photo by Thom Weddle, Langenfeld at the 2004 USA Masters Outdoor Championship.