LA athletes clean up at Senior Games

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Senior Olympics: Local participants pick up 43 gold medals in Las Cruces

By Mike Cote

Once again, Los Alamos senior Olympians had a huge showing at this year’s New Mexico Senior Olympic Summer Games.

The New Mexico Senior Olympics was held for the fifth straight year in Las Cruces on the campus of New Mexico State University. The Games concluded Saturday. Nearly 1,000 participants from around the state took part this year.

Los Alamos participants grabbed 43 gold medals at the state Games, including dominating the swimming events and grabbing a total of 10 golds in the cycling and track events.

Two of the top local senior athletes, Jackie Marr and Bill Hudson, made clean sweeps at the state’s senior games. Marr, just coming off a big performance a month earlier at the National Senior Games, swept all 14 of her disciplines at the state competition, while Hudson, a former Los Alamos High School swimming coach, won eight races to pull off a clean sweep of his own.

Marr was the most decorated Los Alamos athlete this year, picking up 16 gold medals – she also won the shot put and javelin in her age group.

Despite her big showing at that event, and the National Senior Games in late June, Marr said she hasn’t been all that impressed with her results so far this season.

“Some races I didn’t swim so good,” Marr said. “I’m training good, but I don’t think I’m swimming as good. For the New Mexico State Games I guess I’m OK. My times there aren’t as good as they should be.”

At the National Senior Games, Marr won three events – the 200-yard individual medley, 200-yard backstroke and the 500-yard freestyle – and finished second in two others, all of which she finished behind 65-year-old Diann Uustal of Tennessee, whom Marr refers to as the “young thing in my age group.”

Marr set national records in her three victories and actually finished under the old national record in the 100 backstroke, a race that Uustal defeated her in.

A third swimmer from Los Alamos, the 90-year-old Dan Miles, had problems with his registration for the state competition. Miles, who is among the most decorated local Senior Olympians of all time, thought he was registered to compete, but when he got down to Las Cruces found out that he in fact wasn’t registered.

Because he was already at the games, officials allowed him to swim exhibition events but wasn’t allowed to win any medals – Miles would’ve swept all the events as no other athletes were competing in his age category.

Other top local finishers at the state senior games included Mary Billen, who won three cycling events and the 70-74 age division road race, Abel Castillo who picked up six golds in several different categories, and local Senior Olympics coordinator Ann ReVelle, who won two events, including mixed doubles table tennis with Castillo, and finished second in a third.