By Pad Finnigan
Many area senior citizens defy the image of being couch potatoes watching the grass grow by playing pickleball at the Lakewood Community Center, competing intently and having fun in friendly games several times a week. Twelve of them won statewide competitions Aug. 2-4 and took home 15 medals to show for the skills they’ve developed.
Lakewood doubles teams winning gold, or first place, medals in the Washington State Senior Games were: Beverly Utt and Dannie Sayers; Kim Stutts and Rich Weidman; Dannie Sayers and Pete Porietis.
Winning bronze, or third place medals, were: CJ Morlan and Kathy Schmitt; CJ Morlan and Kim Stutts.
Lakewood players winning medals while playing with non-Lakewood partners were: Gold – Margie Bonzer, Philip Raschke, and Paul Billman; Silver – Philip Raschke, Bill Pitzi; Bronze – Dee Stutts.
Men and women aged 50 and above qualify to compete in up to 24 Senior Games sports events around the state each year.
More than 300 pickleball players competed in the recent tournament in Lacey. They played in different brackets: women’s doubles, men’s doubles, mixed doubles, and singles. In each event they entered, they played against people of similar age and abilities.
Congratulations to the champs!