Tennessee had the most participants and won the most medals of any state in the National Senior Games last month in Birmingham, Ala., and Chattanooga-area athletes had a lot to do with that.
Tennessee was represented by about 1,100 men and women ages 50 and over, and they earned 655 gold, silver and bronze medals, the Tennessee Senior Olympics office reported recently.
Warren Barger won four national gold medals and a silver in the men's 95-99 age group and teamed with fellow Chattanoogan Alton Oliver for the 85-89 badminton doubles gold. Barger's individual golds were in badminton singles, discus, high jump and long jump, and he was second in shot put.
Another Chattanoogan, Durward Higgins dominated the 75-79 cycling with golds in the 10-kilometer and 5k time trials and 20k and 40k road races, and Chattanooga's John Disterdick won the 75-79 triathlon and finished second in the 500-yard swimming freestyle event, third in the 200 free, fourth in the 100 free and fifth in the 50 free and 50 backstroke.
Sewanee's John Wendling won the 80-84 50-yard freestyle swimming and was second in the age group in 100 free, 100 backstroke and 50 breaststroke and was fifth in the men's track 100, and Ed Leech of Cleveland was fourth in the 65-69 men's swimming 200 individual medley and fifth in the 400 IM. Nady Ibrahim, also of Cleveland, had three top-10s in 65-69 men's, and Crossville's Arlene Mercadente had five top-10s in 80-84 women's, including a bronze in 200 free.
Naiad Kulhman of Fairfield Glade won 85-89 golds in the women's 100-, 200- and 50-meter dashes and was second in the 1500, and Crossville's Sarah Southall in the 80-84 age group was fourth in the 50 and 200 and fifth in the 100. Fairfield's Nancy Harper won the 65-69 women's golf title.
Derold Millsaps of Hixson won the 75-79 men's singles bowling championship, took the 70-74 mixed doubles gold with Jinnie Henry, also of Hixson, and was fifth in 75-79 men's doubles with Georgetown's Bill Smalling. David O'Malley of Hixson and Jim Heinz of Ooltewah won the 70-74 preliminary men's doubles and O'Malley was first in the preliminary 80-84 singles, and Joyce Smalling combined with a Nashville partner to win the 75-79 women's doubles final with Hixson's Linda Kelley and Chattanooga's Ruthmarie Spitcaufsky second. Kelley was third in 75-79 singles.
James Parker of Hixson was another local men's javelin national gold medalist, in the 55-59 age group, and James Stacks of Birchwood won the men's 50-54 triathlon. Charles Baker of Hixson had eight top-10 track and field finishes in men's 90-94, including seconds in the 50, high jump and long jump and third in the 800, and John Mackersie of Athens was third in the 60-64 men's discus and a sixth in shot put.
Gloria Jones of Crossville was part of the 65-69 women's bowling doubles victory and earned a bronze medal in 70-74 singles. Crossville's Dhanatcha Harrison was third in 50-54 women's singles and doubles and mixed doubles (with Vernon Harrison), and Crossville's Auda McCoy and Frank Baker were fifth in 80-84 mixed doubles. Baker was fourth with Crab Orchard's Daniel Davis in 50-54 men's doubles.
Mike Dougher of Chattanooga and a Knoxville partner won the 50-54 men's doubles in racquetball, and Bill Zimmer of Niota and Darrell Dumont of Englewood were third in 60-64. Dumont also was third in 60-64 singles, and Cleveland's Sharon Gallaher was third in women's 60-64.
Roberta Mullinax of Chattanooga got a silver medal in 60-64 pickleball mixed doubles, and Mullinax and Kelly Price of Sale Creek were fourth in 50-54 women's doubles. Susan Carson of Chattanooga was a bronze medalist in women's 60-64 doubles, and Tim Brown of Harrison and Jeffrey Miller of Apison were third in 55-59 men's pickleball doubles.
Brenda Rock of Hixson and Kelly Fant of Chattanooga were third in 65-69 women's badminton doubles.
Dennis Kosper of Sale Creek was fourth in 65-69 men's barebow recurve archery, and Dianne Kosper was fifth in women's 60-64.
The Tennessee 80-plus team from Crossville won a Division 1 women's basketball title, and the local Tennessee Shooting Stars were fourth in 75-plus Division 1 and the Tennessee Flash 55s from the Cleveland area were fifth in their women's age group with the Tennessee Flash 50s seventh in theirs. The Chattanooga Bombers were third in men's 80-plus Division 2, and the Scenic City 70 and Crossville's Tennessee Toppers were fifth in the 70-plus and 75-plus Division 1 categories, respectively.
Making It Happen from Chattanooga won the men's 70-plus volleyball gold in the Gold Division, and Shades of Gray took third in the women's 60-plus Silver Division. Athens' Swat finished first in the women's 50-plus Copper category.