Senior Olympians Win Big At Nationals
By: Michelle Holland
The Rio Arriba County Senior Olympic program supports over 100 senior athletes throughout the year, culminating in sending athletes from 50-90+ years old to compete at the State Games in Roswell, New Mexico every summer. This year, ten Rio Arriba County athletes, who had qualified in their respective sports, competed at the National Senior Games in Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 4-16. This number of athletes from Rio Arriba County more than tripled from the last National Senior Games in 2013. Though over 20 athletes from Rio Arriba County qualified for the National Games, 11 registered to compete, and 10 actually attended the National Games this year. The national athletes also competed in the New Mexico State games in Roswell just this past June.
81 Rio Arriba athletes represented our county at the state games in Roswell, from winning the spirit award (for the second year in a row) at the opening ceremonies, to our amazing medal count:
278 medals and ribbons total. 82 gold, 70 silver, 58 bronze, 41 4th place, and 26 5th place ribbons.
Let me point out that competition at the national level is fierce. When Minnie Jaramillo comes home with a bronze for horseshoes, she is competing with women who have official horse shoe courts in their backyard. Some of the women Michelle Holland raced with bring their own nutritionists and coaches with them. To just get qualified and get to the national games is a huge undertaking for the athletes from our county. To have our county represented so well at the national level, is a testament to the power of the senior Olympic program, and a validation of its value to our community.
National Senior Games Results
There were ten athletes who competed for gold at the National Senior Games in Minneapolis. Many of the athletes came home with ribbons (for placing 4-8th) in their events, and a few actually brought home some hardware in the form of gold, silver, and bronze medals! Rio Arriba County can boast one gold-medal winner, two silver medals, and two bronze medals. Michelle Holland (W55-59) ran the 10K in 48:18 to win her age group and the gold. Te Ada Vigil (W55-59) brought home two silver medals, one in Shuffle Board Mixed Doubles and one in Shuffle Board Singles. Michelle Holland earned a bronze medal in the 5K Road Race with a time of 22:42, and Minnie Jaramillo (W80-84) earned bronze in Horseshoes. Our county medal count, combined with all the other athletes from New Mexico, where senior athletes earned 65 Gold Medals, 43 Silver, and 35 Bronze: 11th in the medal count out of all 50 states!
Michelle Holland (W55-59) on her way to Bronze at the end of the 5K Road Race (courtesy photo)
Minnie Jaramillo (W80-84) throws the Javelin to a 4th place finish. (courtesy photo)
Teada Vigil (W55-59) earns Silver in Shuffle Board. (courtesy photo)
Minnie Jaramillo throws horse shoes for a Bronze. (courtesy photo)