Senior Games Contestants Win Despite COVID Challenges | News


LINCOLNTON – The COVID challenges couldn’t slow down this year’s Lincoln County Senior Games contestants. Several have placed in the state games and will go to the national games in the spring.

“Due to COVID, this year’s local games have been changed,” said Missy Calloway, program coordinator / senior games coordinator. “We made a hybrid of in-person and virtual competition. Virtual simply means that the participants have been graded and submitted online. We only had a few sports in our local games that were considered virtual. Most of our sports have taken place in person but with special social guidelines. Many were organized as “drop-in” events where participants showed up at a designated time for us to learn. Most have been scored individually, not against the live competition. We hope to go there completely in person with full competition in the spring. “

State games were completely virtual. Participants received rules and guidelines for each sport and submitted their scores online. The state competition was held in September and the marks were due in early October.

Tim Hepler has been in the senior games for several years now. He has placed first in the 10K Run at the State Games for the past three years and will compete in the National Games. He also placed third in the 5K Run.

“I am a truck driver and I was very overweight,” he said. “It’s a very unhealthy job and the average lifespan of male truck drivers is 57 years. I was 56 years old and my doctor told me I was pre-diabetic and pre-hypertensive. He was about to put me on medication unless I did something about it. I have been on the Keto Diet and have lost around 80 pounds. I started walking and running as part of my church’s Run for God program. For two years, I mainly walked it and got mad at myself, so I started running. It’s not just about weight, it’s about what you put in your body. I learned a lot about nutrition. I ran the Charlotte Marathon last month. I crossed the finish line at the same time as John Davis of Parks and Rec.

Hepler recommends that anyone who plans to start running get up from the sofa and start walking because you have to walk before you can run.

The oldest woman participating in the State Games, Dorothy Swart is 82 years old. She placed first in the 5k Power Walking and second in the 1,500m Power Walking. Brisk walking is walking at a fast speed without running.

“It was my first time competing at the state level,” she said. “I have always been active. A friend of mine made the senior games in Gaston County before Lincoln County had any games so I started there. As soon as Lincoln County started, I got on board. It’s a lot of fun and I meet a lot of people. I had both knees replaced and I was advised not to run, which is why I started with brisk walking.

Lincoln County speed demon Mariella Cook has cleaned up at the state’s senior games and will be competing in the national games. She placed first in the 100 meters and second in the 400 meters, 800 meters and 1,500 meters.

“I’ve been playing North Carolina State games for about 15 years,” she said. “Before that, when I lived in Tennessee, I participated as well. I just turned 70 so I’m in a new age group now which is exciting. I participated in four national competitions. A lot of the people I meet are new. I have been running since I was 25 years old. I am lucky to still be able to compete. There is something for everyone in senior games, so if you are thinking of competition, give it a try, but you have to listen to your body and gradually get started. Running is not for everyone. I have met a lot of people who have started running later in life and they love it. Of course we want to win, but the senior matches are a friendly competition. It gives you a great sense of accomplishment.

In the state competition, Lincoln County seniors received the following placements:

Glenda Carter competed in the singles bowling and will compete in the national games in May.

Margaret Christopher placed second in Vocal Small Group.

Cindy Clenney placed first in the discus, first in the shot put and second in the standing long jump.

Mariella Cook placed first in the 100 meters and will compete in national games in May. Cook won the most medals for Lincoln County, placing second in the 400, 800 and 1,500 meters.

Donita Davis placed first in the soccer throw and third in the softball throw.

James Gantt placed first in Basketball Shooting and second in Vocal Small Group.

Tim Heafner placed second in the softball throw. He also placed second in Silver Arts for Painting – Oil.

Robin Heafner placed second in softball, basketball and football throwing.

Timothy Hepler placed first in the 10K Run and will compete in national games. He also placed third in the 5K Run.

Dennice Herman placed first in the Cornhole.

Steve Herman placed second in softball and cornhole throw, and third in horseshoes.

Debra Putnam placed second in football and softball throwing, and third in basketball shooting.

Christopher Sanford placed second in doubles bowling and third in mixed doubles bowling.

Terry Sanford placed first in doubles bowling, second in singles bowling and third in mixed doubles bowling

Mark Shanklin placed first in the standing long jump and fourth in the 50-meter.

Ronald Singleton placed first in the 5k walk and second in the 1,500m walk

Dorothy Swart, who was the oldest participant at 82, placed first in the 5k Power Walking and second in the 1,500m Power Walking.

Dwight Turner was the oldest male participant and placed first in golf.

“It is an honor to work so closely with our senior population through the Lincoln County Senior Games,” Calloway said. “Their hard work in training and in competition is inspiring. I am so proud of each participant and their representation of Lincoln County at the local, state and national levels.

As everyone knows, the past two years have been difficult for everyone, especially our seniors, she added.

“The Senior Games have always been a way to stay healthy, both physically and mentally,” she said. “While we have had to make adjustments to our games to compete safely over the past two years, including virtual competition, we hope 2022 will be a return to our normal in-person games. The Lincoln County Senior Games have something for everyone from quilting and painting to pickle ball and cheerleading. If you are over 50, come see us. Registration will begin on March 1, 2022.

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