Results from the 2021 basketball competition held at Castleton University on Friday, September 24, 2021 can be found using the button below.
After an absence of many years, Senior Games Cycling returned to Vermont on Sunday September 12, 2021, with an event staged on the grounds of Castleton University. A 5K Time Trial kicked off the day, followed by an exhilarating 20-mile Road Race through the countryside, a fantastic loop up to the Hubbardton Battlefield and back down to campus.
None of this could have been possible without the efforts of cycling coordinator Andy Weinberg, who first proposed reintroducing the sport to the VSG schedule almost two years ago. Andy not only set and marked the courses, but he also arranged for the timing and the volunteers to make it a safe and enjoyable event. Cheers to Andy!
The Time Trial was a simple out-and-back course, with some interesting balancing acts at the start so that the cyclists could take off with both feet locked into their pedals. Athletes took off at one-minute intervals and completed the basically flat 3.1-mile course in rapid fashion. After the first few competitors, there were riders both starting and finishing almost constantly in the staging area, so it was exciting indeed.
For the women, the fastest Time Trial of the day belonged to triathlete Donna Smyers from Adamant. Donna clocked 8:58, riding a borrowed road bike, to best Dee Barbic of Hinesburg’s 9:25 effort. Both won gold medals in their respective age groups. Charlotte resident Mary Clifton rounded out the top three, also breaking ten minutes in 9:42.
The times were super tight in the men’s race, with Burlington’s Sean McLoughlin posting a 7:30 clocking to barely beat out Mark Mulder’s 7:33. Nelson Hoffman of Northfield captured third in 8:11, with all three of these men winning gold in their age groups.
After a short break, it was time for the Road Race. The National Senior Games traditionally hosts 20K and a 40K Road Races, but the Vermont Senior Games received special approval to use the 20-mile course, a compromise between the two metric distances. Cyclists in other states who qualify for Nationals in the 20K automatically are eligible to compete in the 40K at NSG, and vice-versa, so Vermonters who qualified on Sunday will be able to do either or both events in 2022 as well.
The course was tremendous – check out the photos accompanying this article. The peloton took off from the Castleton campus, and did a slow rolling ride onto Main Street, where the race actually started on the east side of town. Athletes then rolled through the beautiful countryside, enjoy almost a complete lack of traffic, passing farms and forests before heading up a long, grueling climb to Hubbardton. After cresting near the town office there, cyclists dove back down to Route 30 in a treacherous, high-speed decent. Finally, near the end of the course another decent uphill challenged the field, before the riders were able to fly downhill back to the university finish area.
Course architect Weinberg was literally stunned at the times athletes were able to record, with the results much faster than he anticipated.
Kevin Ondre of Springfield was up front the entire race, and crossed the line in 57:35, an amazing effort for a 20-mile course with that kind of elevation change. Burlington’s McLoughlin staged a late charge, passing two cyclists in the final miles to finish second with a 57:52 time. Brian Conchieri from Essex posted an excellent 58:06 result, and Mauricio Rosales made the trip all the way down from Jericho worth the effort by also breaking the one-hour barrier in 58:54.
It was Dee Barbic against Donna Smyers for the women’s top honors, and once again Symers prevailed by a tight margin, as her 1:04:20 clocking proved faster than Barbic’s 1:05:16.
Complete results can be found using the link below- and, really, all the Road Race times were quite impressive.
Thanks to Castleton University, and the towns of Castleton and Hubbardton for working with the Vermont Senior Games to make the racing possible. It was an extremely successful day on all accounts, and we look forward to making cycling an annual event in Vermont once again in the future.
Click on photos below to view larger images in a lightbox.
The Vermont Senior Games hosted the annual doubles portion of its tennis tournament over the weekend of August 14 – 15, 2021 at the beautiful Quechee Club. Not only did the players get to enjoy the terrific venue, but the weather was just about perfect for both the Mixed Doubles on Saturday and the Men’s and Women’s Doubles on Sunday.
Saturday’s play featured two brackets of pairings, with the 50 – 69 – year – old teams facing off and the 70-plus players engaging in their own round-robin.
At the conclusion of play, two couples emerged undefeated. Margaret Limoge of Winooski partnered with Jim Taggart from Wallingford to triumph in the younger age group, although the tennis was competitive for sure. Over the half-dozen matches played, the largest margin was a 6-2 set. South Burlington’s Julie and Dave Reville finished second in the standings among these teams, earning their own gold medals for the 60 – 64 – year – old age group.
Among the players 70 – plus, Valentina and Eugene Demikenko earned the top spot, as the Norwich couple lost only four games over four matches (although they were playing 4-game ‘short sets.’) Another South Burlington team, Allyson Bolduc and Bob Kesner, also played strong tennis, winning three of their four matches.
The Women’s Doubles on Sunday produced some of the longest matches of the entire tournament, with 20 – shot rallies the norm, not the exception, in many face – offs. The youngest pair in the draws, Wendy Watson from Montpelier and Michelle Cannon of South Burlington, were the one team to avoid lengthy stretches on the court, playing a real power game to win their two contests by a combined 16 – 4 score in the 50 – 64 – age – grouping.
However, the three teams comprised of 65 to 74 – year – olds engaged in some serious marathons. The opening match began at noon, pitting southeastern Vermont’s Joan Weir and Susan Madrigan against a new partnership, Deborah Larkin from North Pownal and Helga Immerfall of South Burlington. It certainly set the tone for this bracket. It took more than 90 minutes for Madrigan and Weir to win an 8-game ‘short’ set that was short in name only! The women from the SE won their second match in similar fashion over the northern Vermont duo of Pat Sabalis (Underhill) and Sherry Hadden (Fairfax). By the time Larkin and Immerfall concluded the afternoon with yet another incredibly hard-fought win, it was past 4:30 pm – four and a half hours to play three matches! Those present very much appreciated these women’s stellar play.
On the men’s side, to no one’s surprise Hugh Garavan and Jerry Knickerbocker from the Burlington Tennis Club (also the youngest players in the event) took the gold for ages 50 – 54, but their older peers made them work for it! Every other player in this bracket was between ages 60 – 64, and it was so evenly-matched that those three pairs split their matches and compromised the tiebreakers. At the end of the day, all three teams earned gold medals.
In the other men’s matchups, two Chittenden County players, Greg Dana and Eric Griffin, took both their tilts to claim the title in the 65 – 69 category, while Scott Brohinsky from Brownsville and Wayland, Massachusetts native Dave McNeff teamed up to go unbeaten among the 70 + players.
Overall, despite several late cancellations, a total of 63 players participated in the tournament over the three days – ten of those played in two of the events, and kudos to Middlebury’s Victoria Luksch, who earned a gold medal in singles and followed that up with a pair of silvers in doubles.
Thanks so much to the Burlington Tennis Club and the Quechee Club for hosting the Vermont Senior Games, and to sports coordinator Karen Didricksen of USTA for organizing play.
Complete doubles results can be found here:
Make sure to check out the great collection of photos from the tennis courts!
The Vermont Senior Games’ annual Tennis Singles tournament took place on a sizzling summer Saturday, August 7th, 2021, at the Burlington Tennis Club. A hot, hazy day likely due to the forest fire smoke somehow reaching Vermont from out west, the twenty-four athletes struggled somewhat with the challenging conditions, yet put on a tremendous display of tennis overall.
The marquee match-up of the afternoon played out right on court one, in front of the BTC clubhouse in the men’s 50–54-year-old age group. With only two entries in the age bracket, a couple of outstanding players who hadn’t faced each other in over a decade, tournament director Karen Didricksen set up a traditional, head-to-head, two-out-of-three set match between the competitors. South Burlington’s Damon Fitch faced off against Jerry Knickerbocker of Essex Junction in a whale of a match that both men clearly wanted to win badly, featuring tension, emotion, and top-notch, exciting tennis play.
Fitch captured an action-packed first set, highlighted by numerous long rallies, by a slim 7-6 margin, prevailing in a gripping 7-5 tiebreaker.
Knickerbocker grabbed the momentum back in the second set, winning comfortably by a 6-2 score to send the match into a climatic, decisive third set. The Essex Junction native had just a little more gas left in the tank at the end, taking the match with a 6-4 win in the third. Spectators went of their way to congratulate both exhausted athletes on what was likely the longest tennis match in Vermont Senior Games history.
In contrast, the initial grouping on court one Saturday showcased the most veteran players in the competition – Waitsfield’s Michael Sharkey and Angelo Pizzagalli of Shelburne, both in their 80’s, and Bernie Burg, now officially a Florida resident, who just reached 90 years old. Their spirited and well-played round robin was a pleasure to watch, as these gentlemen still have games that many younger athletes would dream of. All three men earned gold medals as the only athletes in their age groups.
On the women’s side of the tournament, a pair of players emerged undefeated in pool play to earn top recognition. Helga Immerfall of South Burlington swept to victory in impressive fashion among the more seasoned players, dropping only a single game on the day. Middlebury resident Victoria Luksch also won out but had to really work to best Jeanne Blackmore from Charlotte and Shelburne’s Lori Roberts.
Finally, there were three other age brackets up for grabs among the male athletes.
David Chesley made the trek all the way up from Bellows Falls to capture the laurels in the 55-59 age category. Chesley won each of his three matches to earn the gold.
In a six-player cluster of men in their 60’s, veteran VSG tennis competitor Bill Fraser-Harris of Charlotte added another gold medal to his collection, going unbeaten in his five matches. Kevin Ellis from Montpelier took 2nd, only losing his match with Fraser-Harris.
The men in their early 70’s spent the longest time on court Saturday other than Knickerbocker and Fitch, taking hours to play three matches as they were all so hotly contested. Michael Woodfield won this marathon bracket, capturing both of his matches.
Use the button below to find the full results. The top three athletes in each age category qualified for the 2022 National Senior Games in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Also make sure to check out the photos below. Click on an image to see in a lightbox.
The Vermont Senior Games Mixed Doubles and Doubles events will take place the weekend of August 14 and 15, 2021 at the Quechee Club.
The Vermont Senior Games began a new partnership with the Vermont Sun Triathlon series on Sunday July 18, 2021, and honestly the weather could have been a little more cooperative.
While the temperature was unseasonably cool and there was little wind to hinder the athletes, the venue at Lake Dunmore was inundated with heavy rains once the swim segment concluded, rendering the biking and running stages rather challenging.
Yet the inclement conditions did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the Senior Games triathletes. A record 64 participants were on the VSG roster for the event as the triathlon competition resumed after COVID cancellation in 2020.
Simply training for and participating in a triathlon at age 50 + is remarkable, and this year the National Senior Games made that official – all athletes who complete a state-games-level triathlon in 2021 automatically qualify for the 2022 NSGA Championships in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, regardless of their place or time in the event. So, congratulations to all of the athletes able to achieve this feat on Sunday.
However, many VSG triathletes had goals far beyond merely qualifying for Nationals at the VT Sun race and battled the weather to post strong results. The slick roads made the biking particularly hazardous, so times tended to be slower than under more favorable conditions.
The women were led, as has become tradition, by USA Hall of Fame Triathlete Donna Smyers from Adamant, Vermont. Smyers finished in 6th place overall among the 101 women who started the race, as she continues to impress at age 64.
The second-fastest VSG female finisher was Waterbury’s Heidi Higgins-Cutler, who captured the age 55-59 division title. Gold medals in the other age groups went to Essex Junction resident Deb Laskarzewski among the 50-54-year-olds; the late-60’s crown was claimed by Pam Sills of Underhill; and Queensbury, NY native Margaret Wallace emerged victorious in the 70-74 age category.
In the men’s race, new Senior Games participant Sean McLoughlin, a Burlington resident who just turned 50 in April, put together a terrific race to finish second overall. His 1:06:34 time was outstanding considering the rain.
Not far behind was Carl Regenaur from Saratoga Springs, NY, who crossed the line 4th overall in under 1:10:00 to win the 55-59 age group.
Another Burlington triathlete, Mark Mulder, defeated nine other VSG competitors to win the largest age group in the race, the 60-64-year-old men, in a time of 1:12:51.
Ralph Hopkins of Clermont, Florida won the gold in the 65-69 age category. Amongst the 70-year-olds, Richmond’s Mike Leugers took the 70-74 group honors, while Carrlane Quackenbush made the trip from Monson, Massachusetts worthwhile in posting the best time among those in their late 70’s.
It’s a great venue and course for both athletes and spectators. Thanks to Steve Hare at Vermont Sun and his crew for running a wonderful, well-organized event.