Fredonia natives Harry Ohara, Dave Scholand and Tim Geiger attended the 31st annual Empire State Senior Games at S.U.N.Y. Cortland the week of June 2-9.
Sixty-four-year-old Ohara competed in the 65-69 age group and electrified the crowd with a record-breaking gold medal performance in the (5K) road race. Ohara's time of 20:52 was the fastest time ever recorded in the (mens 65-69) age group in the 31-year history of the games. He was also fourth overall in the (5K) race.
Flat-lander Ohara also won gold in the (10K) road race with a time of 43:59 and was third overall in the entire (10K) race. This was Ohara's maiden voyage to the games, and what a stunning historical games he had.
Dave Scholand, 66, (65-69) was also a double gold medal winner. As a veteran of past games Scholand won gold in the sport of orienterring with his first-place time of one hour flat. Orienteering involves the art of woodmanship as one runs on mapped out trails through the wood to find hidden treasures while on the time clock. Scholand also won gold in disc golf as he recorded a 76 to capture his first-place medal.
Tim Geiger, 60, (60-64 group) experienced the ups and downs of life as he returned for his 10th consecutive trip to the games. He competed in 16 events, winning eight medals (four gold, two silver and two bronze).
Geiger won gold in badmitton and won gold in the (10K) run in a time of 55:05. He also won gold in the 1,500-meter run, and the 1,500 technical race walk in a time of 12:54.
Geiger won silver in (5K) run in 25:40 and silver in (5K) technical race walk in 40:19. Tim won bronze in the discus with a throw of 15.15 meters. He also won bronze in 800 run. Geiger was fourth in long jump and javelin. Geiger was eighth in both the 50 and 100 dash. He was seventh in both the 200 and 400 run and was 12th in bowling (310 set). He fouled in only one attempt out of four in the high jump.
Westfield native Tom Timmerman also returned to the Senior games where he competed in fiev events. He won three silver medals. He was second in the 800 in (3:13). He was second in long jump in 3.23. Timmerman also won silver in the (4x100 relay race). Timmerman was fourth in the 50 dash in 6.9 seconds, and fourth in the 100 dash in 14.1 seconds.
At the opening ceremony, Cortland's own 89-year-old Ray Radiazilla carried the lighted (flaming) torch. Radiazilla is a World War II combat Veteran of the Pacific theatre. He was a member of the U.S. Army's 96 infantry division "deadeyes," and was in the lead landing assault on Okinawa.
"The senior games would not exist today if it were not for the self sacrifice of men and women like Radiazilla who were willing to give up their life for the ideals of freedom and the American way of life that all of us enjoy today," Geiger stated. "May God bless the Ray Radiazillas of the world and all Veterans. May god bless our seniors, and may god bless the United States of America."