One record-setting performance after another highlighted the 2019 National Senior Games before competition concluded Tuesday in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The first record was set before the National Senior Games even began when 13,712 athletes ages 50 and over entered in 20 medal sports.
The National Senior Games — hosted in various cities across the nation every two years — began in 1987 with 2,500 athletes in St. Louis. The previous record was 12,000 athletes competing in 2007 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Five athletes among the thousands competing this year boasts ages over the century mark, including Laramie’s E.G. “Gerry” Meyer. Meyer was part of a Wyoming contingent of 35 athletes, 14 of those from Laramie, to compete in the National Senior Games.
Wyoming athletes had to place in the top three in August during the Wyoming Senior Games in Laramie to qualify for the National Senior Games.
It was Meyer’s 12th time competing at the national level, and his first since 2011 when he won medals in the 5-kilometer and 1.5km runs in Houston.
This year, the 100-year-old runner from the Gem City ran shorter events in track and field, and brought home four gold medals. Since Meyer was the only competitor in his age group, organizers let him race with athletes in their 90s. The track and field events were at the Great Friends of University of New Mexico Track Stadium.
Meyer finished the 50 meters in 18.59 seconds, the 100 in 36.93, the 200 in 1:30.74 and the 400 in 4:10.74.
Other top-10 finishes for Laramie athletes in track and field were Timothy Kearly (ages 70-74) in the 400 (fourth, 1:13.18) and 200 (sixth, 30.11) and Tommy Raulston (50-54) in the 1,500 (fifth, 5:44.75), 400 (sixth, 1:10.78) and 800 (seventh, 1:10.78).
Beth Vanderborgh was fifth twice in cycling, finishing the 20km road race in 37:53.7 and the 40km road race in 1:20:11.3.
Other Laramie athletes entered at the National Senior Games were: Tom Burkett (65-69) in distance road running; Allory Deiss (65-69) in cycling; Van Jacobson (70-74) in cycling; Sharon Leder (75-79) in cycling; Sandra Ryan-Burkett (55-59) in swimming; Everett Sheffield (70-74) in bowling; Marian Showacre (65-69) in tennis; Bill Weber (60-64) in track and field; Casey Wood (60-64) in cycling; and David Zander (65-69) in track and field.
During the games that started on June 14, 17 American and 185 records were broken by 124 athletes in eight sports pending official results.