Men and women fifty and better wanting to compete in the Heartland Senior Games bowling, mah jongg or cycling need to submit their registration forms by today.

Those planning to take part in bridge, track & field, swimming or tennis are reminded that the deadline for getting registration forms to South Florida State College is Feb. 7. Registration forms can be picked up at any SFSC campus, or can be downloaded from the SFSC website, Games begin Feb. 2, running through the month.


Feb. 21, Tanglewood, Sebring

Bridge was introduced to the Heartland Games in 2016. Pat Reich of Tanglewood has presided over the tournament each of the past three years and is cheerfully doing so again this year. Bridge-enthusiasts will gather at Tanglewood in Sebring to enjoy a day of “party bridge.”

Hometown America will be providing players with coffee and donuts when they arrive in the morning. A light lunch will be served, thanks to sponsors. Medals will be awarded to the top three in each age/gender bracket.

Track & Field

Feb. 23, Avon Park High School

South Florida State College is again fortunate to have Chet Brojek as meet director for the Senior Games track & field meet. Brojek taught English and history and coached students at Avon Park for 35 years. He has continued to work with young athletes since his retirement in 2003. He really knows how to keep a meet moving along and, with the help of his assistant, Lee Pearson, will be sure to push competitors to complete all events before it gets too hot.

Morning events take place in the following order but may well start earlier than the tentative start time shown:

8 a.m., 5K

9 a.m., discus and shot put

10 a.m., long jump and high jump

11 a.m., 800m and 200m

12 p.m., 400m, 100m, 50m

Athletes may compete in as many as six of the events listed above.


Feb. 25, Highlands County YMCA, Sebring

Mike Batiato, CEO of the Highlands County Family YMCA in Sebring, has welcomed back seniors to compete in the pool at the Justin K. Ward Aquatic Center. Swimmers may sign up for maximum of six of the following events:

Backstroke, 50, 100, 200

Breaststroke, 50, 100, 200

Butterfly, 50, 100, 200

Freestyle, 50, 100, 200, 500

Individual Medley, 100, 200

Amanda Followell will be on hand to help with swimmer safety and timing. Amanda has been the aquatics coordinator at the YMCA since last April. A graduate of Lake Placid H.S., Followell wasn’t a competitive swimmer but has been a lifeguard since 2004. In her current role she is responsible for lifeguards, swim lessons and summer camp.

Seniors who have never visited the YMCA should drop by to check all programs offered. The Silver Sneakers program is held daily from Monday to Friday. Water aerobics takes to the pool Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings and line dancers can be found dancing up a storm Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

The Highlands County Family YMCA is always buzzing with activity and offers many more classes for residents of all ages.


Feb. 26, 27 and 28, Thakkar Tennis Center, Sebring

Veteran tennis coordinator Earl Maslin will be overseeing the Heartland Senior Games competition for the umpteenth time. Singles will be on the clay courts on Tuesday (Feb. 26), while doubles take over on Feb. 27. On Feb. 28, the 2019 Heartland Games will wrap up with mixed-doubles tennis.

Maslin coordinates the event, competes all three days and has gone on to represent the Heartland at both the Florida Senior Games and the Nationals.

The Thakkar Tennis Center at the Country Club of Sebring will be home for the tournament. The Thakkar Center established with the generous support of Dr. Thakkar, an avid tennis player. Dr. Thakkar and his partners, Dr. Patel and Dr. Avalos, are Gold sponsors of the 2019 Heartland Senior Games.


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