USATF Newsletter - November

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November, 2019

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Notes from the Desk of the Chair

USATF Annual Meeting: I hope you will be able to join us for the 2019 Annual Meeting on Dec. 5-8 in Reno, NV. For officials, the Annual Meeting always features great clinics, stimulating discussion on the state and future of officiating track & field, celebration of those who have excelled in their service, and renewal of friendships. Check out the schedule of events for the NOC in this newsletter. You will also be able find information in the Documents Library of the Annual Meeting website.

From USATF Regarding Multi-year Memberships: For the time being, USATF is not accepting multi-year memberships. We anticipate that the new membership application will be up and running at the end of the first quarter 2020. We want to transfer the least amount of data possible from the old application to the new. When the new application is running, members will have the option to select auto renew for their membership each year or purchase a multi-year membership at a discount.

New N.O.C. Grants for Implement Inspectors and Technical Managers: The N.O.C. is instituting a grant program to help Implement Inspectors and Technical Managers develop their skills by working with experienced officials in championship settings. If you are interested in applying for one of these grants or would like more information, contact Mike Armstrong at

Don't Miss Renewing Your Background Check: The required Background Screens for officials are good for two years. You will receive email reminder 30-days before your screen expires. Be aware, however, that though it may come from "" and may be addressed to "Coach" it still applies to officials. If your Background Screen expires, your certification becomes invalid. If you have questions about when your Background Screen is set to expire, contact your Association Certification Chair.

You can contact Mike Armstrong via email at


Marty’s Training Tip

As promised in the October edition, this time I’d like to give you a preview of the clinics we’ll be presenting at the upcoming USATF Annual Meeting in Reno. If you’ve never been to one, I know they can be expensive in terms of time, travel costs, lodging, meals, etc., but I believe it’s the best place to learn about our sport in all its facets – coaching, officiating, organizational skills, association requirements and opportunities. Think of it as a one-stop shop for track and field.

Each year we try and present three clinics plus the referee scenarios. This year I was able to sneak in one extra clinic where folks can get certified in a skill that is becoming ubiquitous at all levels of the sport. So, with no further ado, here are the clinics as outlined in the most current schedule available when this article went to print.

Clinic A - FieldLynx Training (Thursday 12/05/2019 @ 0900 – 1050): FieldLynx has become the de facto method of reporting marks in the field events at track meets. There are other software packages out there that work in similar fashions, so training in the proper use of FieldLynx is extremely useful. If you do run into a different software package, the learning curve won’t be as steep if you have been trained in the use of the most common procedures. In this two hour window, we’ll teach you how to setup field events (throws, horizontal jumps, and vertical events), how to set up and work in finals vs. preliminary competition rounds, how to break ties for finals (different rule books handle it differently), jump offs for various places in the verticals, how to take wind gauge readings during competition, adding athletes, etc. At the successful conclusion of the clinic, you may become certified as G1 for EDR. This will be limited to just a few folks – I’ll be bringing 12 laptops, so we can’t handle more than 24 individuals for the certification process. More than that are welcome to attend and see the presentation, but I can’t give you any hands on time with the laptops or testing.

Clinics B & C – Referee Scenarios (Friday 12/06/2019 @ 1400-1550): These clinics are identical, but as past experience has shown, we need two rooms to accommodate all of the interested folks. During the year, Robert Kern and I collect as many oddball scenarios as possible from fellow officials. These are all real scenarios that happened, and they demonstrate why we need referees – remember the referee is the individual that makes decisions on areas or situations not covered by the rules. Sometimes its common sense, and some situations really make you scratch your head. Each room will have a moderator (currently Don Berry and Robert Kern) to lead the discussion and keep things moving. This is not a death by PowerPoint lecture! The scenarios are presented, and the decision making process is elicited by discussion (one at a time please, and raise your hand so we can hear everyone). These are very popular and usually result in standing room only crowds, so get there on time if you want a seat.

Clinic D – Pole Vault Officiating (Saturday 12/07/2019 @1100-1250): Want to learn how to run the pole vault efficiently? Ever wondered what everyone does out there? How to set up the pit properly – standards, box collar position, etc.? How to interact with the athletes; keep them apprised of the constantly changing time limits? What to do when things aren’t going well? Safety issues? Weather? Rich Schornstein and Patty Mitchell will lead this presentation. They’ve been doing this a long time at lots of big meets, and it should be both interesting and informative.

Clinic E – Throws Safety (Saturday 12/07/2019 @1200-1350): Officials, athletes, volunteers and spectators have all been injured or killed in throws events in the last few years. We are playing games with implements that used to be used in battle, so we need to remember that these things are dangerous! I have seen officials and volunteers get hit by every one of the field event implements over the last thirty years, and every incident could have been prevented. Proper officiating techniques, placement of officials, scheduling of events, and meet management practices can make the sport much safer from accidental impacts. Mark Heckel has been a leader in this field for over a decade, and his presentation is one I highly recommend.

Clinic F – Umpiring (Saturday 12/07/2019 @1200-1350): Yes, I left the track presentation and clinic for last… but that’s not because I believe our support should be called Field and Track (which I do)! I have very little control over the schedule, and that’s just how it came out. With that said, Doug Glass will give a presentation on how to umpire the running events. Umpire is often the most woefully undermanned position at smaller track meets, and yet half of the events take place on the track! Doug will talk about positioning, calls, how to handle crews of different numbers, and just what the job entails. He’ll instruct you in the proper protocols, what to write on your umpire card, what to do if you don’t have an umpire card, and how to give clear, concise information to your head umpire or referee. This one should be good, and it’s a great way to close out the clinic schedule.

Those are all of the clinics put on by the training committee, but by no means are they the only place for officials to get training at the Annual Meeting. In perusing the schedule I see training for certification chairs, SafeSport, and Paralympics officiating. In addition, the various sub-committees will be meeting to discuss specific topics in a wide range of areas. The annual meeting is not a place to go for vacation – take the opportunity to learn, participate, and interact with your fellow members of the USATF family.

I start putting together these clinics for the next year during the Annual Meeting, so if you have a desire to be a presenter at the 2020 meeting, please contact me so we can discuss your topic and its appeal to our target audience.

Have a great day, and as always, if you have any suggestions for new training tips, please forward them to me at

To download a copy of Marty’s Clinics and their synopsis so that you may have it at the 2019 Annual Meeting click here.


Young Officials Grant Report

We have completed the 2019 young officials grant program and have again provided the grant recipients with a rewarding experience.

This program is very rewarding and informing to the young officials in our organization. This program will be continued this next year and we encourage certification chairs to promote the opportunity to the officials.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2020 Young Officials Grant program. Certified officials who are 40 years of age or under, who have never officiated a USATF Senior Indoor or Outdoor, or U-20 championship meet are eligible to apply. Fifteen grants of $500 will be awarded to help offset travel costs for young officials to work the 2020 Youth Indoor, Youth Outdoor, Masters Indoor, Masters Outdoor, or Junior Olympics T&F meets. Please consider getting this word out to all of your officials, and posting the information on your website.

The application or scanned PDF copy must be received no later than December 15, 2019via email or U.S. Postal Service to:

Donald Berry
115 Searsmont Road
Belmont, ME 04952-3103
Email to:


Misc. Tidbits from the N.O.C Secretary

2019 USATF Membership: Please make sure that your USATF membership is renewed for 2020 at this link. A current membership is needed for certification, along with a current background screen and SafeSport certification.

Annual Meeting Officials’ Events: Officials attending the USATF Annual Meeting can see a list of officials’ meetings and clinics at this link. For general information about the Annual Meeting, including the schedule of events for all USATF meetings and the Document Library, click on this link.

NCAA D-II Championship Qualifying Standards: To see the qualifying standards for the 2020 NCAA D-II indoor national championships, go to this link and select “2019-2020 Qualifying Standards”. This may be useful, particularly in establishing vertical jumps increments, in upcoming indoor competitions.


Para Athletics at USATF Annual Meeting by Carroll DeWeese

Opportunities exist at the USATF Annual Meeting for officials interested in Para Athletics or getting more involved with Para Athletics.

On Friday, December 6th from 1 pm to 1:50 pm, Phil Galli will conduct Para Officials Course Training. It is open to any Official who would like to be Para certified. If USATF officials want to learn about WPA rules they can either do it online or attend Phil's para rules session at the annual meeting and pass the online test. If the Official receives an 80% or better on the test and is a current USATF Association Level Official or higher in good standing (Membership, Safe Sport, & Background check) they will become Para Certified. Apprentice Officials my take the course and Adaptive Track and Field USA (ATFUSA) will recognize that they have passed the test, but the official will not get USATF Para certified on their card until they attain Association Level. They are, however, welcome to come and officiate at Para Meets (provided they are members in good standing).

In addition to the Para Officials Training, Para Athletics will have two general sessions at the USATF Annual Meeting: General Session #1 on Friday, December 6th at 11 am to 12:50 pm and General Session #2 on Saturday, December 7th at 4 pm to 5:50 pm. Rich Roberts will lead the 2 Para Meetings. Typically, the attendees at these sessions are USATF members with an interest in Para athletics and other USATF committee assigned individuals who report back to their committees. The two para athletics committee sessions will focus on updating various aspects of para athletics such as coaches, organizing events, high school para athletes, current events, awards, sub-committee working time, limited venting, etc. with only a limited focus on officials.

If you want to get on the email list for Para Athletics, make sure to attend at least one of the two Para General Sessions and get your name on the attendance list. This will hopefully insure you get contacted in the future about Para Athletics happenings.


Is Your Background Check Current?

On October 23 you should have received a special edition of this newsletter and you may have seen the above question asked. Phil Sutton of the Oregon Association wrote us with a tip on checking the status of your background check.

You can check your background status by visiting You will need to log in with your last name, date of birth and your social security number.

While you are at it, Phil says you can check your status with SafeSport by visiting If you use your first and last name search option, it shows your expire date. You can take this one step further and use the “association” search option, which shows the entire Association and their status in SafeSport.

Thanks Phil for this tip.


Coming to the Annual Meeting? Join Us Friday Evening!

If the answer is yes than join the gang for an evening of socializing and celebration as four outstanding individuals are inducted into the National Officials Hall of Fame. You can reserve your seat by downloading the Banquet Flyer and follow the directions as all good officials do.


NCAA Rules Corner ~ Rules Interpretations

The newest rules clarifications and interpretations (2019-2020) have been posted as of yesterday (11/06). You can check them out at

Mark is planning on making a brief presentation to the N.O.C. Rules Subcommittee on NCAA rule changes procedures during the Annual Meeting. Check out the schedule (See Misc. Tidbits above) for date and time.

If you find this helpful, please let Mark Kostek know.


IAAF News ~ October 2019 Newsletter

The International Association of Athletics Federations has emailed the IAAF News Edition 207 dated October 31, 2019 to their subscribers. You can click here to download your copy today.


Did You Know ~ John Klaus, a Pioneer in Track Ovals

The next Olympics returns to the site of the last Olympics to be contested on a cinder track. Amidst the red splashings in the rain and reddish dust on socks in the dry, nobody in 1964 had any idea what was to come in the world of tracks.

Fifty-five years before, 1909, a baby was born who was destined to become a giant in the world of track surfaces. Due to circumstances of his birth, he only made it through the 8th grade, working this labor job and that, but after the Depression hit and Franklin D. Roosevelt came to be President, the Civilian Conservation Corps was formed and this youth had a ticket out of abject poverty.

Assigned to work in Alaska during WW2, he came after its end to Portland and then McMinnville, where opportunities looked good, and that is how John Klaus came to be an Oregonian.

He eventually started an equipment business near the Linfield College stadium, which included a modest, 2-man paving effort. About 1963 the then Linfield track coach, Hal Smith, wanted to know if Klaus could produce a softer surface for jumping events, a challenge Klaus accepted. He had equipment to use, but no material to put in it.

He came upon the idea of using what were called buffings, scrapings off the treads of bias-ply tires so that retread surfaces could be applied. Klaus's idea was to combine these bufferings with roofing asphalt, and he used a device of his own making, a 1’x2’ box into which the mixture could be poured so that propane–fueled burners could heat the ingredients and apply them to the ground as the box was dragged along. At first Klaus drove to Portland to bring back 55-gallon containers of bufferings, but as the business expanded, he switched to dumpster loads.

His first track was laid in 1967 in Estacada. For an entire track, a much larger heated screed was needed, so Klaus came up with something six feet wide that could be pulled behind a specially-geared truck to keep the speed at 1 mph. Carrying 1,000 gallons of asphalt and bufferings, the truck made one swath of the track, a day-long operation, then would be driven to Gresham for another load of asphalt to repeat the process three more times.

Klaus improved and improved again his process over the years and eventually put in as many as 14 tracks a year. They included a high school on Vancouver Island, the College of Redwoods, and even the University of Washington! No less a person than Bill Bowerman commented that Klaus’s track was the fastest of its time. The contract for the Estacada job was $10,000 or about $77,000 in 2019. Klaus basically kept the price for each one at that.

Klaus eventually sold his business to Atlas Tracks of Lake Oswego and turned his attention to making compressed rubber mats that are found in weight rooms and horse stalls everywhere.

Upon the death of his father, Dean Klaus made certain that the Klaus business property that was sold to Linfield bore a plaque in honor of his dad’s contributions to the betterment of track participants everywhere.

Submitted by Scott Phoenix, Certification Chair for the Oregon Association (based upon information provided by Dean Klaus, Oct. 29, 2019)


Alabama Association Notes from Dora Sims

Check out the latest news from the Alabama Association by downloading their newsletter.


USATF Proposal Considerations Due to IAAF Amendments

Proposed changes to the USATF Competition Rule Book based on IAAF Amendments have been posted in the Annual Meeting “Document Library” under the Rules Committee folder.  Laurie plans on discussing these proposals during the N.O.C. Rules Subcommittee meeting. Check out the schedule (See Misc. Tidbits above) for date and time.


Laurie Boemker’s USATF Rule of the Month


1. In all events competitors must wear clothing that is clean, designed, and worn so as not to be objectionable. The clothing must be made of a material that is not transparent even if wet. The competitors must not wear clothing that could impede the view of the judges. Athletes’ vests should have the same color on the front and back. The size or number of logos on athletes’ attire shall be restricted only when required by the IAAF or USOC. This rule shall be enforced by the Clerk of the Course for track and road events and the Chief Judge of each field event.

*Refer to NCAA or NFHS Rule Books regarding size or number of logos on athletes' attire.


IAAF Rule Changes Clarification ~ Rules 184, 185 and 186

In the September and October newsletters, Betsy Reed has presented proposed IAAF rule changes that the members of the IAAF Congress would be voting on at their September meeting.

Bob Podkaminer emailed the editor to clarify that all the rules are effective as of November 1, 2019 EXCEPT for the rules applying to the plasticine and foul boards. Those rules do not take effect until November 1, 2020. Current boards are in compliance with the IAAF rules.


Congratulations Carroll, Doug, John and Roger


Did you get this newsletter from a friend?



Important Deadlines

  • Now: Renew your background check
  • Now: Renew USATF Membership
  • Dec. 15: Young Official Grant Application

Important Links

In case you were not able to open the links embedded in the above news items, they are below:

Announcements for the Newsletter

If you have an item you would like included in the newsletter, please send your submissions The submission deadline is the 25th of each month in order to be included in the subsequent issue. We will accept announcements, articles and other news-type items that are national in scope. Local announcements and opinion pieces will not be included. Please be aware that all submissions are subject to approval by the N.O.C. Executive Committee.


In Need of Officials?

If you are the official’s coordinator for a national championship or major regional meet and would like to have it listed on our calendar, please visit our new Applications page ( and submit it. All applications are subject to review before posting.

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