Community Sports

Bellingham master’s runner continues decade of dominance

Bellingham masters runner Dena Birade, center, competes at the United States Track and Field Masters Outdoor Championships in Michigan. Birade won the 100 meters national title in her age group.
Bellingham masters runner Dena Birade, center, competes at the United States Track and Field Masters Outdoor Championships in Michigan. Birade won the 100 meters national title in her age group. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

For the 10th straight year, former Bellingham High School assistant track coach Dena Birade is the country’s fastest woman in her age group.

Birade retained her crown by winning the women’s 40-44 100-meter dash Saturday at the United States Track and Field Masters Outdoor Championships at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich. Birade was timed in 12.66 seconds in the final, beating second-place Josette Hobbs by 34-hundredths of a second.

Birade followed that performance up by placing second in the 200 meters in 25.72 seconds on Sunday. Latrica Dendy won the national title in the event with a time of 25.51 seconds.

Bellingham’s Steve Kemp successfully defended his national title in the men’s 60-64 outdoor pentathlon, scoring 3,281 points Thursday. He beat second-place Russell Jacquet-Acea, who had 3,088 points.

Bellingham’s Daphne Sluys also successfully defended her title in the women’s 55-59 400 meters with a personal-best time of 1:06.69, beating out second-place Debra Hoffman by nearly a half second.

Sluys also finished second in the women’s 55-59 100 meters Saturday with a time of 14.59 seconds and second in the 200 meters on Sunday in 29.7 seconds. Joy Upshaw won the titles in both events in 13.68 seconds and 27.68 seconds, respectively. She also ran the anchor legs for the gold medal-winning teams in the Women’s 55-59 4x100 and 4x400 relays and won a silver medal in the shuttle hurdle relay.

Bellingham’s Sean Messiter finished second in the men’s 50-54 1,500 meters Sunday with a time of 4:30.66. He was less than four seconds behind winner Lan Summay, who was timed in 4:26.69.

Bellingham’s Scott Rick finished second in the men’s 50-59 high jump by clearing 1.6 meters (5 feet, 3 inches) on Friday, two inches behind winner Terry Parks.

Laurent Birade, Dena’s husband and another former sprints and hurdles coach for Bellingham, finished third in the men’s 40-49 400-meter long hurdles Sunday with a time of 1:01.42. Karnell Vickers won the event in 57.89 seconds.

Sluys’ finish and time in the 400 meters corrected July 19, 2016.

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