FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – After Wednesday’s competition, it’s six days down and four days left in the 2019 Florida Senior Games presented by Humana. Of the 24 sports on the schedule, athletes of 14 sports have stepped onto the court, dove into the pool, crossed the finish line, held serve, pulled back a bow string, stepped up to the tee and celebrated a strike.
Two of the most-attended sports of the 2019 Florida Senior Games are still to come with Pickleball beginning Thursday at the DS Sports Plex in Deerfield Beach and Track and Field, on Saturday, at the Ansin Sports Complex, in Miramar.
More than 1,500 athletes, age 50 and over are competing in the 2019 Florida Senior Games. Following is a sampling of the tales of athletic achievement by some of Florida’s Finest Senior Athletes. For even more, visit www.floridaseniorgames.com.
Running the 5K Vistas at Vista View Park
Lakeland’s Tri Thornberg began his Saturday morning, of December 7, at the 2019 Florida Senior Games with an effortless 5K run in just under 18 minutes. He was the top overall finisher at Vista View Park and won the gold medal in the 50-54 age group. Thornberg led for the majority of the race and topped the second-place finisher, Thomas Hampton by 40 seconds.
Longevity on the Archery Range
Archer Anna Hartman established herself as an age group record holder in three age groups during Saturday’s Barebow Recurve competition. Hartman, from The Villages holds the record in the event in the 75-79, 80-84 and 85-89 age groups. Her score of 558 in the Barebow Recurve event of 2014 is the all-time high women’s score.
More than a Decade of Swimming Records
Going one step beyond Hartman’s longevity on the archery range, is Winter Haven’s Brian Voisard, in the swimming pool. Voisard etched his name in the record book in a fourth age group setting the 65-69 record in the 200-yard backstroke. He holds the 500-yard freestyle records in the 50-54, 55-59 and 60-64 age groups, with the 50-54 record dating back to 2005.
A Marriage Made in the Pool
Debbie Cavanaugh, of Fort Lauderdale, set three 65-69 age group records in her first Florida Senior Games competition and joined her husband, Cav, in the FSG Record Book as the first husband and wife duo to set top marks. Cav set the 50 and 100-yard freestyle records in the 2000 Florida Senior Games and returned for the first time since this year. In his return, he established a new 100-yard freestyle mark in the 80-84 age group. Both Cav and Debbie have a long history of swimming dating back to their college years. Cav was an All American at West Virginia University in the late 1950s and Debbie was a standout member of the University of Miami team in the 1970s and is currently a champion Master’s Swimmer.
Eagle Eye James Harden
Ocala Archer James Harden sees a lot of yellow on the range. His score of 885, of a possible 900, in the Compound Release event set a new record in the 55-59 age group. Harden is one of only two Florida Senior Games archers to achieve a score higher than 880 and he has done it twice. He set the all-time high Compound Release mark of 891 in 2011. Of his 90 shots, at Fort Lauderdale Archers, from 40, 50 and 60 yards, 36 ended up in the X-ring, which measures five inches in diameter.
A Bowler’s Excellent Weekend on the Lanes
Ed Fenstermacher, of Summerfield, had a good weekend at Strikers Family Sports Complex winning three Bowling gold medals in three different age group. In earning the three gold medals, he knocked down 2,016 points in nine games. On Sunday, Fenstermacher won the Men’s Singles 75-79 age group gold medal with a three-game score of 638. On Saturday, he teamed with Gerald Teel to win the 70-74 Men’s Doubles gold medal and set an age group record. He also teamed with Barb Johnson, of The Villages, to win the 50-54 Mixed Doubles gold medal, contributing a score of 651. His three-game total, of 727, in Men’s Doubles was the highest of the weekend of all events and in eight of his nine games of the weekend, he topped a score of 200 or more. His top single-game score, of 257, came in the first game of Men’s Doubles competition.
Shirley’s 500-Yard Swim
In the longest swimming event of the schedule the 500-Yard Freestyle, only 15 women registered for the grueling event. Among those 15 was the most experienced swimmer registered, 94-year old Shirley Chase, of St. Augustine, who completed the 20 times back and forth in the 25-yard short course pool in 22 minutes. After learning of her time, Shirley disappointedly said, “I wanted to beat my own record.” Chase set the 90-94 age group record in the 500 freestyle in 2015, when she was 90. Her caretaker, Mary Converse, reminded her that was four years ago and if she returns in 2020, she can set the 95-99 age group record.
Called out by The Mayor
At an Opening Day Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at the Lauderdale Lakes Multi-Purpose Center, Mayor Hazelle Rogers asked crowd members if there was anyone in attendance 85 years or old. Eulalee Bax quickly responded she was 89 years old and received a gold medal from Mayor Rogers. Bax was so motivated by the recognition, she registered to play Dominoes, where she was honored as the oldest and wisest female competitor.
27 and Counting
John Shultz, of Lakeland, extended his Florida Senior Games Table Tennis consecutive medal-winning years streak to 27 years, with a pair of gold medals, at the Broward Table Tennis Club on Tuesday.
Shultz, who won the first medal of the streak in 1993, added the 2019 Men’s Singles and Doubles 80-84 age group gold medals to his collection. He teamed with Deane Chickering, of The Villages, to win the Men’s Doubles 80-84 age group. Chickering, who turned 85 this year, won the gold medal in the Men’s Singles 85-89 age group.
Oh, The Stories They Could Tell
The Men’s Foursome of 75-79 age group golfers teeing off at hole number 5 for the shotgun start had a combined 62 Florida Senior Games appearances dating back to 1999.
Edward Scheid, of Bradenton, Richard and Lionel Pepin, brothers from Lakeland, and Larry Rule of West Palm Beach, came together for a little over four hours of golf on Wednesday. During that time a few tips were probably shared, a few stories and jokes were told and some good, old fashioned ribbing took place.
Scheid was the first to step up to the tee in the Florida Senior Games with his first outing in 1999 in the 55-59 age group. The Pepin brothers joined the fun in 2002, with older brother Lionel in the 60-64 age group and Richard in 55-59. Rule was the last arrival in 2004 in the 60-64 age group.
Included in their combined 62 rounds at the Florida Senior Games is a total of 5,127 strokes and 26 medal-winning performances. All four have advanced to the National Senior Games with Scheid winning gold medals in 2003 and 2005.
Prior to this year, the foursome has been in the same age group two previous times. In 2009, Rule won the 65-69 age group gold and Richard Pepin won the silver. In 2014, they were back together in the 70-74 age group and Rule once again took the gold, Scheid won the silver and Richard Pepin the bronze. This year in the 75-79 age group Scheid won gold and Rule won the silver.
As Scheid left his seat next to Rule and approached the stage to accept his medal, Rule yelled out, “Let’s hear it for the old guys!”
Some more good, old fashioned ribbing between long-time friends.
Breaking down the 62 appearances of the FSG Fabulous Foursome
Edward Scheid, Bradenton
19 total appearances, dating back to 1999
10 medals – 2 Gold, 3 Silver, 5 Bronze
1,515 strokes for an average score of 79.7, with scores between 73 and 87
Richard Pepin, Lakeland
16 total appearances, dating back to 2002
3 medals – 2 silver, 1 bronze
1,389 strokes for an average of 86.8, with scores between 76 and 94
Lionel Pepin, Lakeland
16 total appearances, dating back to 2002
3 medals – 1 silver 2 bronze
1,359 strokes for an average score of 84.9, with scores between 76 and 91
Larry Rule – West Palm Beach
11 total appearances, dating back to 2004
10 medals – 5 gold, 4 silver, 1 bronze
864 strokes for an average score of 78.5, with scores between 75 and 86
About the Florida Senior Games presented by Humana
The Florida Senior Games presented by Humana are presented annually by the Florida Sports Foundation (FSF), the state’s lead sports promotion and development organization, and a division of Enterprise Florida, Inc. The Foundation works in conjunction with a variety of local sports industry partners to present the different competitions. The Florida Senior Games, presented by Humana, an annual amateur sports tradition in Florida, is part of the state’s $57.4 billion sports industry that accounts for 580,000 jobs statewide.