HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — For four days, seniors from all across the United States got to compete, renew old friendships and make new friends during the West Virginia Senior Games.
Athletes also got tips from other athletes just in case they had limited knowledge about a certain event.
Sonny Allen of Huntington hadn’t competed in the pole vault since high school days in the mid 1970s. That was evident to those who watched him take early jumps Sunday during the track competition at Huntington High’s Ray McCoy track.
Thank goodness Bob Zukas of Saxonburg, Pa., took some turns at the same time Allen did. Zukas, competing in the 70-74 division, had little trouble clearing his height and then offered tips to Allen.
“That’s part of this, helping out,” Zukas said. “Sonny told me he was rusty. I told him he was holding the pole too high. He didn’t get momentum to carry him over. He stalled out.”
Those tips did help as Allen, during a jump later, sailed comfortably over the bar, landed properly as the pole fell back toward the runway.
“My technique’s shaky, the landing not ideal,” said Allen, who competed in the 55-59 division. “Every time he talks I get better. I’m going to get better going up.”
Zukas put in a full day as he competed in 12 events.
“This is a lot of fun,” he said. “We’re tired, though, when it’s over.”
The zip the athletes had in their step as they reported early Sunday morning appeared to be gone when they returned to their vehicles for the trip home. Wraps around arms and legs could be seen. Water and power drinks went down regularly as the athletes focused on hydration. They snacked on bananas and power bars.
The top three finishers in any of the 18 sports earned either gold, silver or bronze medals and spot in the 2015 National Senior Games scheduled July 3-16 in Minneapolis, Minn…