Fast Riders, Quick Pickleballers and Celebration of Athletes Highlight Day Six of the 2018 Florida Senior Games

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CLEARWATER, Fla. — On the sixth of nine days at the 2018 Florida Senior Games, presented by Humana, found cyclists on finely engineered bicycles riding for top times at one of Florida’s top beach destinations. Also at two Clearwater locations, the first of four days of Pickleball began with 343 athletes in action through Sunday.

The day ended with the Celebration of Athletes at The Long Center in Clearwater where a group of athletes were recognized for their dedication to athletics and fitness. Athletes in attendance were treated to music, food, and fellowship in a gymnasium transformed into an elegant reception area.

On the roads of Fort DeSoto, with the Gulf of Mexico a few hundred yards away, Patrick Bohan, of Buena Vista, Colo., and Kathy Petrillo, of Jupiter, proved themselves as the fastest riders in the 5K and 10K Time trials turning in the top overall times in both races at Fort DeSoto Park.

Bohan had the best men’s times with a 6:57 in the 5K Time Trials and a 13:50 in the 10K. Petrillo pedaled to a top time of 7:40 in the 5K and 14:44 in the 10K.

Petrillo holds the 50-54 and 55-59 age group records in both the 5K and 10K Time Trials. Today’s rides were upped her Florida Senior Games gold medal total to 15 since 2012.

While Bohan and Petrillo may have posted the top overall times, William Otto, of Coral Springs, set new records in the 85-89 age group that had stood for 20 years. His time of 9:35 in the 5K topped the previous record by 38 seconds and 18:44 in the 10K was 1:33 faster than the previous mark. Both of the previous records were set by Brian McGrath, of St. Petersburg, in 1999.

The 20K and 40K Road Races will be run on Saturday morning with the start finish line at Crest Lake Park in Clearwater.

In day one of Pickleball, three men’s singles players repeated as gold medalists in their age group. Doug McClintlock, of St. Augustine, won the 60-64 age group for the second consecutive year, Doug Hastings, of Alexandria, Va., repeated in the 65-69 age group and Gabriel Wong, of Ponte Vedra Beach, repeated as the 70-74 age group gold medalist.

In the women’s singles competition, Deb Harrison, of The Villages, won her eighth overall women’s singles title since 2005, this year, in the 70-74 age group. Harrison won Table Tennis medals on Monday and Tuesday and will play women’s and mixed doubles pickleball.

Erica Gonzalez, of Poinciana, won her second consecutive Women’s Singles gold in the 50-54 age group. Along with her Women’s Doubles partner, Sylvia Whitehouse, of Palm Coast, the duo will attempt to win their fourth consecutive gold medal, beginning Saturday. The pair also won a gold medal at the 2017 National Senior Games.

In the Lawn Bowls competition at the Clearwater Lawn Bowls and Shuffleboard Club, Sandy Wall and Cathy Mills, of Clearwater, won the gold medal, while Arthur Allen and Dave Murray, took the silver. Allen and Murray have medaled in each of the four years Lawn Bowls has been held in the Games in Clearwater.

Taking the bronze medals were Duncan Farrell and Alice Dunkley while Cindy Higgins and Bob Fladung were the fourth-place finishers.

In the final day of six days of Tennis matches at Innisbrook Resort and Gold Club, Jeff and Ann Winkler, of St. Petersburg, won the 60-64 age group gold medal for the second time in three years. The Winklers defeated Pauline Stropp and Donald Schadt, of The Villages, 6-1, 6-1, in the championship match.

Four Humana Game Changers were honored at the Celebration of Athletes and took part in a No Bake, Bake Off where Leurene Hildenbrand, of Pinellas Park, Karen Westermann, of St. Petersburg, James White of Naples, and Claudette Braswell, of Lake Wales rolled healthy snack ball for five minutes to determine a winner.

In the end, with a total of 21 Sunshine Balls rolled, Claudette Braswell topped Westermann’s 14, Hildenbrand’s 13 and White’s 12. White won a Men’s Singles Pickleball gold medal in the 90-94 age group before coming to the Celebration to be recognized and compete.

Also recognized were the 2017 Florida Senior Games Athletes of the Year, Carol Teel, a bowler from The Villages and Mike Welter, a pickleball player from Cape Coral.

Day Seven features competition in Mixed Doubles Pickleball at North Greenwood and Ross Norton Recreation Centers, Horseshoes at Ed C. Wright Park and the first day of Billiards at Stroker’s Sports Bar and Grill with Nine-Ball competition.

Over 2,600 athletes are competing in the 2018 Florida Senior Games, presented by Humana, in Clearwater and Pinellas County through December 9. The 2018 Games are a qualifier for the 2019 National Senior Games, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, June 14-25.

The 2018 Florida Senior Games, presented by Humana, are an annual presentation of the Florida Sports Foundation, the state’s leading sports promotion and development organization and are held in conjunction with Visit St. Pete Clearwater and the City of Clearwater.