'Golden Years'are Lively Ones For Senior Athletes

4 Sports Story

January 05, 1992|By Daniel P. Clemens Jr. | Daniel P. Clemens Jr.,Staff writer

In June, a group of Carroll senior citizens put a new twist on the idea of the "golden years," traveling to upstate New York to compete for gold medals in a national athletic competition.

Ten county athletes took part in the biennial U.S. National Senior Sports Classic III in Syracuse, which featured six days of competition in 18 events --from archery to softball -- for athletes 55 and older.

Among the 5,000 people who came from across the nation to competewere former Olympians and professional athletes.

"The athletes here are very, very, very good," said 63-year-old New Windsor resident Bill Thomas, who competed in the 800-meter and 5-kilometer runs and the triathlon.

Carroll athletes held their own.

Among the countymedal winners was Westminster resident Carol Knepp, who captured twosilver medals in the 65-69 age bracket of the women's cycling events. Knepp also competed in several swimming events.

Thomas' sister, Taneytown resident Diane Perry, grabbed the bronze in the high jump in the 55-59 age group and took part in other track and field events.

Eva Thompson of Hampstead and Mary Sanders of Westminster won goldmedals in archery. Thompson's husband, Peter, took a silver in the men's age 60-64 archery.

But winning a medal wasn't the only goal for these athletes from Carroll. Many were driven by the desire to challenge themselves.

"Hey, I finished!" said Edward Overton, a 56-year-old Eldersburg resident who rode in all four men's cycling events,including the mile sprint and the 5- and 10-kilometer races.

Thomas turned in his best time ever in the triathlon.

To what did he attribute that feat?

"Desire," he said. "Some people say you shouldn't be so competitive at this age. But I'm not content to come in last."

And don't mention retirement to this group. The games hardly were over when some in the Carroll contingent began looking ahead to the 1993 competition, scheduled for Baton Rouge, La.

"The Lord willing and the creek don't rise, we'll be there," Sanders said.

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