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Opening Session kicks off 2016 USATF Annual Meeting in Orlando


ORLANDO -- The 2016 USATF Annual Meeting officially kicked off with the Opening Session at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista in Orlando, Florida.


In her last address as President of USATF, Stephanie Hightower thanked the organization’s leadership and constituents for the significant progress made since taking office in 2008. Citing collaboration and determination for the success of USATF athletes and growth of sport overall, Hightower reflected on recent successes.


“These last eight years, USATF has done more than merely talk about leading,” Hightower said. “We’ve raised revenue, improved athletic performance, gotten out in the community… and by taking on those objectives we’ve led this organization into the future and while we’re proud of our accomplishments, we have so much more to do.”


By acclamation, USATF elected a new President, 2016 U.S. Olympic Team men’s head coach Vin Lananna, following fellow candidate Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s withdrawal from the election. Also elected by acclamation was USATF High Performance Board Seat Mike Conley and representative to the USATF Board of Directors, Len Krsak.


USATF Board Chairman Steve Miller spoke to the importance of the work that coaches and volunteers do with the future of our sport, the USATF Future Stars competing in youth track & field.


“I’ve been involved in track & field since I was nine years old,” Steve said. “While those great Olympians are inspirational and aspirational… our sport is about inspiring and creating aspirational models for 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 year olds. Without those little kids… there are no Olympians.”


Hightower awards six USATF President’s Awards

In one of her final acts of USATF President at the 2016 Annual Meeting, Hightower awarded this year’s President’s Awards to the following individuals:


Ian Dube - Former USATF Georgia president and a member of USATF for 35 years, Ian Dube left a legacy in track & field that will be greatly missed. An active participant in USATF’s Coaching Education program, Dube spent 25 years as a facilitator to ensure the next generation of track & field coaches had the opportunity for continuing education and lifelong impact on their athletes. Having held numerous positions in the Georgia Association, Dube spent four years as president of USATF Georgia and also served as executive vice president, vice president of communications and the men’s track & field chair. He passed away in the fall of 2016.


Brenda Martin - A longtime volunteer and committee member, Martin has dedicated years of service to the youth of USA Track & Field. Martin currently serves as the national representative for both coaches screenings and the records committee representative and is an active member of USATF Ohio.


Linda Lanker - Linda Lanker has worn many hats during her decades of track & field, giving her time as a coach, administrator, official and athlete. Lanker has dedicated much of her service to USATF Committees, including her current role on the Law & Legislation Committee. A tremendously successful hurdles coach, Lanker has volunteered much of her hurdle knowledge to USATF athletes as a national team coach and team manager for multiple international competitions. A tireless member of USATF Inland NW, Lanker is the association’s chairperson for both men’s and women’s track & field.


Dwight Smith - A coach for Truckee Racing Club and a longtime volunteer in the USATF Pacific Association, Smith is honored for his countless hours of dedication and commitment to the betterment of youth track & field in Northern California.


Thom Hunt - Serving on the USATF Cross Country Council since 2004, Hunt was first the secretary from 2004-12 and now serves as vice chair, a position he has held since 2012. He has dedicated hundreds of hours toward the betterment of USATF Cross Country, including as a team leader for IAAF World Cross Country Championships. Hunt directed the USATF Cross Country Championships in both 2008 and 2011, both events serving as the trials for the world championships.


Sharrieffa Barksdale - An athlete advocate, dedicated team manager and USATF Alumni President, Barksdale has been involved in USATF as a volunteer for decades. Barksdale is a former American record holder in the women’s 400m hurdles.

Follow along with USATF at the 2016 USATF Annual Meeting on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook using #USATF16. The Annual Meeting continues through Sunday, December 4 in Orlando.

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