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Bay area well-represented at Senior Sports Classic

More than 150 bay area masters athletes were among 7,000 who battled heat and humidity to compete in the U.S. National Senior Sports Classic IV in Baton Rouge, La., June 12-18.

Also known as the Senior Olympics, the week-long competition near the campus of Louisiana State University reflected the growth in masters amateur sports, attracting athletes from 49 states. The result was record performances from the nation's best, all of whom had qualified in regional events such as Pinellas County's Good Life Games, the Golden Age Games in Sanford, and the Gulf Coast Senior Games in Parrish and Bradenton.

Bringing home medals was Katie Knight-Perry, 58, of St. Petersburg, who placed second in 1-mile, 5K, and 10K cycling; third in 20K cycling; second in the javelin; sixth in the discus; fourth in the 100-meter swim, and fifth in the 50- and 400-meter swims.

Husband Ralph Perry, 60, placed seventh in 5K and 10K cycling, with an all-time high of 50 masters cyclists in his age group.

The Perrys won their age groups in the Bud Light Sprintman Triathlons at Daytona Beach and Boca Raton, competing at the Senior Olympics the week in between.

John Sinibaldi, 79, of St. Petersburg, a member of the 1932 and '34 U.S. Olympic cycling teams, placed fourth in 1-mile, 5K, and 10K cycling at the Senior Sports Classic, and seventh in 20K cycling. During the previous week, Sinibaldi, who last year made a remarkable comeback after doctors found cancerous growths in his lymphatic system, won the 20K USCF State Time Trial Championships in Naples for his age group.

Seminole's Roger Burke, 57, placed third in 5K cycling, 11th in 10K, fourth in 20K, and 10th in 1-mile at the Classic. Burke and his wife, Barbara, stayed on to compete in the Senior Olympics triathlon. Burke has gotten progressively faster in triathlons since moving to the bay area nearly two years ago from Long Island.

Earlier this year, the U.S. National Senior Sports Organization elected Barnett Bank community relations officer Shirley P. Lewis as chairman-elect of the board of directors. Lewis, who also is on the board of directors of the Florida Council on Aging, was a recipient of the 1991 Leadership Award given by the Florida Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Many bay area masters athletes know Lewis as the coordinator of the Good Life Games.

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