- Tracking the Storm, Part One
- Athletes Race to The Village for Indian Day
- Golf is in His Blood
- And more!
Sports Brief: Four American Records Broken in Track & Field
After the first two days of track & field, there have been a number of records shattered. In addition to the 22 NSGA records that have been bested, we have seen four American records set so far.
- Colleen Burns (McIntosh, NM) now holds the American women’s 70-74 record in the 400m with a time of 1:17.38
- Colleen Burns also holds the American women’s 70-74 1500m record with a time of 6:15.98
- Neringe Jakstiene (Memphis, TN) broke the American women’s 55-59 long jump record with a jump of 5.06m.
- Brian Hankerson (Hollywood, FL) is now in possession of the American men’s 60-64 long jump record with a jump of 1.75m.
Top 5 State Medal Count
New NSGA Records: 98
New USA Records: 4
Tracking the Storm, Part One
Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins, the oldest woman to ever compete on an American track, sprinted her way to another gold medal back home to Louisiana Monday at the UNM Track and Field Complex, finishing the 50-meter dash with a time of 21.05 seconds. Not bad for a 103-year-old.
“I feel good about it, I didn’t get a good start, but I did pretty well,” she says about her performance before a gathering of media cameras.
A showdown in the 50-meter dash against Hollyce Kirkland of Tennessee, another 100+ competitor in the event, failed to materialize after Hollyce suffered an off-the-field injury and had to withdraw from competition.
Julia, who built her leg strength from a lifelong habit of cycling, says she continues to run because of what it demonstrates to the country.
“I’ve been told that I’m an inspiration to a lot of people and that makes me feel good,” she continues. “I’m helping, in a way, in the health of our country.”
Julia enjoys meeting all the people at the games and seeing them do remarkable things. Julia adds that running is now her passion since deciding to run the 100-meter dash when she turned 100.
The 50-meter race represents a warm-up, since the distance is not recognized for official American records. The main event happens Tuesday morning when Julia attempts to beat her own world record in the 100-meter race, and she will take on a new challenge with the 200-meter race on Thursday.
Story by Gabrielle Hockstra-Johnson
Stroutland’s Passion for Tennis Never Ends
There is more to tennis than just getting the ball over the net. It’s a sport that requires physical, technical and mental discipline. Jane Stroutland, 70, has pursued her passion for the game for many years and this year, she is showing her excitement at the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana.
Jane first picked up a racquet at age 14 with little knowledge of the game before she started taking lessons in her early 20s. She later entered several United States Tennis Association (USTA) tournaments and begin traveling around the country.
“I was very athletic but I never took lessons until I got older. I played in a more resourceful way than the totally correct way,” Jane says.
In 2013, Jane made her first appearance at The National Senior Games in Cleveland, where she won the gold medal in women’s doubles competition. In 2017, she repeated the feat and added a silver in singles competition.
Jane’s enthusiastic attitude has inspired many people, including her family to get started with playing tennis. Jane and her daughter recently started competing in doubles tournaments together, supporting and encouraging each other.
“I was a high school tennis coach and have passed the sport onto my children, and also my husband,” Jane says. “I’m just passionate about the game. I think it’s a wonderful way to stay fit, to make friends and to learn how to win and lose gracefully, both of them take discipline.”
This year Jane is ready to play her best and stay positive as she competes in a new age bracket. Her excitement for the sport has helped her work hard to improve her skills and face her biggest enemy, her nerves.
“I love passing my passion onto other people because I can see how it has really helped make me a better person,” Jane concludes.
Story and photo by Hayley Estrada
Athletes Race to The Village for Indian Day
New Mexico takes pride in its Native American culture and history. At the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana, athletes didn’t have to travel far to get a taste of the Native American culture with the celebration of Indian Day at the Villa Ernesto Ramos: The Village Health and Wellness Expo located inside the Albuquerque Convention Center on Monday.
The Village was filled with high energy as spectators crowded around to watch the Native American Women Veteran Warriors Color Guard present the colors to open the celebration followed by youth group performing a ceremonial dance to an Indian chant in honor of the Native American Athletes participating in The Games.
Native America Calling, hosted by Tara Gatewood, a Navajo from the Isleta Pueblo, scheduled a live call-in radio panel featuring NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker, Larry Curley, executive director of the Native American Council on Aging (NICOA), and 73-year-old cyclist Simeon Gipson, who prides himself in being Cherokee and Choctaw. The panel discussed The Games in Albuquerque, Native American health and athlete participation as part of the live call-in radio show.
Athletes also stopped by the NICOA booth exhibit for information about health and social services.
“I love that the 2019 National Senior Games is being held in Albuquerque this year,” said Kayla Sawyer, a representative from NICOA. “My favorite part about being here is seeing all of the competitions and different vendors here in The Village. I’m glad that there is an organization that recognizes such an underrepresented group such as our elders; especially a day specifically for our American Indian elders. It’s amazing that we are able to recognize the contributions that the Alaskan Natives and American Indians make to our community and also nationally.”
Story and photos by Christina Fitzsimmons
Golf is in His Blood
For Sid Dye, golf is not just a sport, it’s a family tradition. Sid’s dad taught him and his brothers how to play and respect the game, and he took part in his first golf tournament when he was just ten years old.
“Some people fish, some people (like my wife) shop, and we play golf,” he quips.
The Salem, IN duffer played his first National Senior Games in Pittsburgh in 2005, where he earned a silver medal. With each successive trip to The Games, Sid always finished in the top ten and has two gold medals and one silver medal.
His ongoing Senior Games golf journey at the state and national level has extended his family ever wider by making many new friends along the way. He met his best friend John Younce (read John’s 2017 Athlete of the Month feature here) in Pittsburgh and they now meet several times a year to knock the ball around, often competing together at Indiana Senior Games and Ohio Senior Olympics.
For the last 14 years Sid and his family play golf at their family reunions in different parts of the United States. Cousins, aunts and uncles all join in the fun. He plays at local clubs each weekend with friends and travels to play with John every chance he can get to continuously practice to keep his skills growing.
Sid’s golf passion has impacted his immediate family as well. He’s taught his sons the sport, and one of them is teaching his own four- and six-year-old sons how to hit a golf ball.
“It’s ingrained. When we get together there’s golf involved,” he says with a satisfied tone.
Story and photo by Seairra Sheppard
Susan Ingraham is Just Having Fun
Winning isn’t everything, but it does feel good. With that in mind, imagine how elite swimmer Susan Ingraham, age 60 of San Antonio, must feel.
With six gold medals under her belt from the 2017 National Senior Games and the positioning to sweep the competition at the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana, Susan is a swimmer to watch out for.
This year, Susan is competing in the 50-, 100- and 200-yard butterfly and freestyle – six races in total. The Games Daily News caught up with her after her first race: the 100-yard butterfly race. Susan not only won the race, she broke the National Senior Games record for her age division.
“I’ve broken numerous national records, and I just got a [National Senior Games] record for the hundred fly,” she said.
Susan followed that race with another win. She won the gold in her age division for the 200-yard freestyle race as well. The remainder of her four races will follow later this week.
A renowned swimming instructor. Susan shared that coaching others helps her to better understand her own swimming technique and that swimming helps her understand how to be a more effective coach. She calls it a symbiotic relationship.
“I have athletes with different challenges. It challenges me as a coach to think about how to prepare athletes for their events, and sometimes I even end up preparing for their challenges alongside them,” she said.
Susan shared that her experience at The Games is not just about winning, but that she enjoys the National Senior Games as a comprehensive experience.
“I really enjoy doing the Senior Games. I always feel that, for as large as it is, and as many sports are involved and all the other social events, it is always so well organized,” she said. “It makes it fun for us as athletes. We always try to either come in a day or two early or stay a day or two extra at the end.”
Story and photo by Tim Harris
More From Track: Why We Enjoy The Games
There are many reasons why senior athletes from all over the United States convene every two years to participate in The Games.
Beth Carrin, North Carolina
“It’s just so wonderful to see everyone competing and enjoying the atmosphere and to also challenge yourself.”
Wayne Foulke, Pennsylvania
“The combination of the competition and the town itself. It’s a great town got to compete during the day and do things at night.
JoAnn Sampson, Florida
“I like coming to The Games because I get to see all of my friends and we have a beautiful time, I keep coming back because it is the best thing I could ever do, is come here and be with a generation of champions.”
Photos by Gabrielle Hockstra-Johnson