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Federal Way trio win gold at USA Masters Indoor Track and Field Championships
Mike Waller just keeps adding gold medals to his already-packed trophy case.
The Federal Way 53-year-old won the men's 200-meter title at the USA Masters Indoor Track and Field Championships last weekend at the Harry Gladstein Fieldhouse in Bloomington, Ind. Waller's win came in the 50- to 59-year-old category.
Waller was one of more than 100 World Indoor and Outdoor Master champions among the 800 athletes ages 35 to 95 in Indiana. The meet served as a tune-up for the World Masters Indoor Championships, which are slated for April 3-8 in Finland.
Waller ran a 25.00 time in the final of the 200 meters to outdistance second-place Scott Ganowski (25.18). The top-five finishers in the race were all within .68 of Waller.
Waller also finished up in fourth place in the 60-meter dash in a time of 7.74. Kenneth Eaton won the event in 7.40.
The gold medal adds to Waller's long list of accomplishments of track accomplishments. He snagged four indoor gold medals at the 2010 World Masters Indoor Championships in the 60 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters and 4x200 relay.
The four indoor gold medals come on the heels of Waller accomplishing the same feat at the 2009 World Masters Games. The World Masters Games, which were held in Australia, are held every four years for athletes 30 years old and up. The Games, an Olympic-style competition that included 28 different sports and 30,000 participants.
In Australia, Waller won outdoor gold in the 100- and 200-meter races and the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams.
He also had three first-place finishes at the 2009 United States Masters Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Waller won the 100, 200 and 400 at the event.
Waller is currently working as an assistant track coach at Pacific Lutheran University. He is in charge of sprints, hurdles and relays for the Lutes. Waller’s coaching background also includes six seasons as an assistant at Decatur High School (1999-2004) and six years at the Federal Way Track Club (1995-2000) as the head sprint coach. Waller is also a pastor at Christ Life Center Church in Tacoma.
Waller competed for one season at Utah State University, one season at Spokane Community College and two seasons at Whitworth College in both football and track. At SCC, he anchored the school’s 4x100 relay team that won the NWAACC championship. At Whitworth, he was a two-time NAIA national qualifier in the indoor 55-meter dash and the 4x100 relay.
Waller wasn't the only Federal Way athlete at the USA Masters Indoor Track and Field Championships in Indiana. Will Leslie and Gail Kuhnly both brought home gold medals last weekend.
The 66-year-old Leslie teamed up with Joe Johnston, Bruce Mintz and Roger Pierce to win the men's 60-69 4x200 relay gold medal. Leslie's team ran an impressive time of 1:59.09 to easily outdistance the second-place team (2:08.88).
On the women's side, Kuhnly also brought home gold. The 50-year-old Kuhnly ran the third leg in the 50-59 4x400 relay team that also included Lois Allen, Susan Loyd and Lulu Hammond. The team ran a winning time of 5:29.68.