Queen Mary: 2020 IHGF Highland Games Series Opens with a Roar

IronMind New by Randall J. Strossen: Masters Highland Games competitor, “Vern Alexander is 79 years old and still going strong,” IHGF president Francis Brebner told IronMind. IronMind® | Jaena Imboden picture Masters Highland Games competitor, “Vern Alexander is 79 years old and still going strong,” IHGF president Francis Brebner told IronMind. IronMind® | Jaena Imboden picture

Building on it tradition of more than a quarter of a century of excellence, the 2020 edition of the Queen Mary International Highland Games was the stage for the IHGF’s opening gala.

Queen Mary Highland Games: First Leg Off and Running
by Francis Brebner
President, International Highland Games Federation (IHGF)

The Queen Mary International Highland Games celebrated its 27th anniversary in Long Beach, California over two days of traditional Scottish festivities, with more than 15,000 spectators attending and over 120 athletes going head-to-head in heated competition. The Queen Mary Highland Games was the first of ten qualifying games for both the men’s and women’s A groups and men’s and woman’s masters 40 and 50 groups in the IHGF All-American Highland Games series; it also featured the championships of IHGF All-American Light Weight for Distance.

Men’s Pro Class
The pro class of top athletes across the USA included Kyle Lillie, Nathan Burchett, Isaac Burchett, Eddie Brown, Colin Dunbar, John Anthony, Gary Randolph, and Matthew Hand.
Competition got underway with the 26-lb. Braemar stone, in which Lillie took the lead and dominated the event with a winning putt of 44’ 1/2”. Second place was close with Brown landing a putt of 40’ 3” and Dunbar just 2” behind at 40’ 1”.

In the 56-lb. weight for distance, Lillie landed a great series of throws, with a best of 41’ 7-3/4” for the win. Second was a tussle with I. Burchett nudging ahead with 39’ 8-1/2” to Randolph’s 39’ 5”.

In the 20-lb. sheaf over bar, Lillie looked powerful, the only athlete who sent it sailing over 34’, for the win. A second-place tie at 27’ went to I. Burchett on countback over Randolph.

Dunbar won the 56-lb. weight over bar at 17’; a three-way tie at 16’ gave second place to Lillie on countback. I. Burchett was third.

The second day of competition started big once again for Lillie, who landed several putts over 55’ with a best of 55’ 10” for the win in the 16-lb. open stone, which now ranks him number one on the international circuit. In second place Randolph did 52’ 5-1/2”, followed by Dunbar at 51’ 9-1/2”.

Lillie was in a realm of his own in the 28-lb. weight for distance, blasting out a throw of 84’ 7-1/2” to secure the victory. Dunbar was second at 79’ 8-1/2” and N. Burchett third at 77’ 5-1/2”.

In the final event, the caber was 17’ 4” and 125 lb. and was won by Lillie with a perfect 12:00 toss. Second on countback, N. Burchett did 11:55 and 11:50 and third-place Brown did 12:05.

Final placings:
1. Kyle Lillie
2. Colin Dunbar
3. Gary Randolph
4. Eddie Brown
5. Isaac Burchett
6. Nathan Burchett
7. Matt Hand
8. John Anthony

Men’s A Group
The Men’s A Group athletes competing in the first leg of the IHGF All-American Highland Games qualifying series included Mike Perkins, Fred Cook, Kelly Coburn, Bryan Staggs, Mike Tupper, Fillippo Lovotti, Kevin Mynarski, and Raymond Coburn.

In the 22-lb Braemar stone, Mynarski took the first win with a nice putt of 35’ 4-1/2”. Second place was close, with Cook pulling ahead of Perkins, 33’ 10-1/2” to 33’ 3”.

Mynarski let fly a series of putts all over 40’ in the 16-lb. open stone, notching up his second win with 43’ 10”. Cook again was second, with 40’ 10” and Perkins third at 37’ 7”.

The 28-lb weight for distance was a seesaw battle from the first round between Staggs and Lovotti, with Staggs snatching the win on his final attempt at 63’ 8-1/2” and taking the title of All-American Light Weight for Distance champion. Lovotti took second inches behind at 63’ 4”, and Perkins was third at 60’ 1/2”.

In the 56-lb. weight for distance, Lovotti and Mynarski got into the zone, blasting out throws over 30’ with a best from Lovotti of 34’ 10” for the win. Mynarski followed at 32’ 10-1/2” and Staggs was third at 31’ 10”.

After four events, Mynarski had a marginal lead that was about to widen in the 16-lb. hammer. He produced a series of class throws from the opening round that could not be surpassed, nailing 113’ 5” for the victory. Staggs did 97’ 1” for second, and Lovotti did 95’ 11-1/2” for third.

Mynarski kept up his winning streak in the 22-lb hammer, lashing out a best of 93’ 11” for a triumphant win. Second place was a tussle, but in the end Staggs bested Lovotti 80’ 4-1/2” to 79’ 3”.

The 56-lb. weight over bar ended in a tie at 13’, with Mynarski overcoming Lovotti on countback. Staggs was third at 12’.

In the 20-lb. sheaf over bar, Staggs took top honors with a winning height of 28’.  Second place was Mynarski at 26’ and third Tupper at 23’.

The caber, which was 17’ 4” and 125-lb., proved a challenge, with the outcome determined on degrees. Mynarski pulled ahead for the win with a best of 75 degrees with Staggs second at 70 degrees. Perkins took third at 55 degrees.

Final placings:
1. Kevin Mynarski
2. Bryan Staggs
3. Fillippo Lovotti
4. Mike Perkins
5. Fred Cook
6. Mike Tupper
7. Kelly Coburn
8. Ray Coburn

Women’s A Group
The Woman’s A group included Ingrid Berrio, Annalise Horner, Allison Crain, Jarvina Routt, and Kadie McNamara.

The 13-lb. Braemar stone was a close between the top three athletes, with Routt securing the win at 27’ 6”, nipping Berrio at 27’ 4-1/2”. Third was McNamara at 26’ 6-1/2”.

Again in the 9-lb. open stone, Berrio, Routt, and McNamara were neck and neck, with Routt nudging ahead of McNamara for the win, 34’ 7-1/2” to 34’ 4”. Berrio was third at 33’ 11-1/2”.

Routt sustained her control in the 28-lb. weight for distance with a dominating throw of 39’ 3”. Second was McNamara at 35’ 9” and third Berrio at 33’10”.

In the 14-lb. weight for distance, Routt was pushed to the last round by McNamara, with Routt winning by a slight margin at 66’ 4” to McNamara’s 65’ 8” and earning the title of All-American Light Weight for Distance champion. Horner trailed in third at 58’ 1”.

The tables turned in the light hammer as McNamara unleashed a hail of throws to win with 89’ 6”. Second was Routt at 80’ 1” and just inches behind, Berrio at 78’ 2”.

In the heavy hammer, McNamara produced a splendid series of throws with a best of 69’ 6” for the victory. Again Routt was second at 63’ 3” and Berrio third at 54’ 10-1/2”.

The 28-lb. weight over bar ended in a tie at 13’ with the win going to McNamara on countback, leaving Barrio in second and Routt in third.

Routt regained her winning ways in the 10-lb. sheaf with a class height of 25’. McNamara bested Berrio on countback at 23’.

The 15’, 60-lb. caber proved a tough challenge and was determined on degrees, with Routt pulling a best of 85 degrees for the win. McNamara was second at 75 degrees and Berrio third with 65 degrees.  

As the overall winners of the IHGF All-American Highland Games series, Mynarski and Routt will compete in the finals of the IHGF All-American Highland Games Championships in September at the Great Plains Renaissance Festival in Wichita.

In the Men’s Masters 40–49 group, Jon O’Neil had a great competition, winning 8 of the 9 throwing events.  

In the Women’s Masters 40–49 and 50–59 groups, Dione Shastid took the overall honors.

Richard Campbell was on form in the Men’s Masters 50–59 group and secured the overall win.

The Men’s Masters 60+ had a stacked field of masters’ world champions, and Mark Buchanan took the grand prize, winning 6 of 9 events.


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