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Senior athletes compete in the heat for Senior Games

The Senior Games competition is heating up for a group of athletes from our area and beyond.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Senior Games returned to Luzerne County after a couple years off due to the pandemic.

"It's a qualifier for the National Senior Games next year, which will be held in Pittsburgh. So you have a lot of athletes not only from around the state but from around the country who will come here to try to qualify," Pennsylvania Senior Games Liaison Mike Galli said.

More than 200 athletes ages 50 and older took to the King's College athletic complex near Wilkes-Barre. They competed in track and field events, such as javelin and shot put, all under the blazing summer run.

"It's hot but what are you going to do?" Mary Ann said.

Breaking a sweat for the possibility of a gold medal and a spot in the national competition, participants are staying hydrated and finding shade between events.

"I have a cooler full of bottled water in my car if I have to go back and get it I have like 8-10 more in there so just trying to keep hydrated," James Samiec, of Maryland, said.

With the scorching heat, organizers set up cooling stations to help keep the athletes safe.

"We have ice on hand, ice baths on hand, just in case someone is showing signs of heat stroke or overheating in general, plus Geisinger is here to assess any medical incidents," Galli said.

The Senior Games are a way to promote a healthy lifestyle and sportsmanship. For Maryann Siecko from Lancaster, who's competing in the 75 to 79 group, age is just a number.

"When you get to be 50-55, there is something you can do, the Senior Games! A lot of people aren't aware of them which is a shame because it's so fun," Siecko said.

"I'm trying to show the kids I coach that you can still do this at an older age. And I'm not as old as some of the guys. Some of them that are 80+ and still competing. It's just phenomenal," Samiec said.

There's a full schedule of events running through the next weekend. The public is invited to come cheer on the athletes. For more details on the Senior Games, click here.

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