Scheidt, Nelson develop respect for NSG competitors

The local entries in the National Senior Games staged in St. Paul the past couple of weeks reached a common conclusion.

Don’t judge an athlete by age, Pat Scheidt and Craig Nelson say.

When it comes to willingness to compete and succeed, a person’s age has no limitations.

Both Scheidt and Nelson joined the fray at the NSG staged at St. Thomas University, competing in events for athletes between the ages of 55-59.

Upon returning home, both athletes couldn’t say enough about the level of competition they faced at the event.

“It was a lot of fun,” Scheidt said.

“It was interesting to see how fit and competitive people can be around my age or older.”

Scheidt should know what she is talking about because she mixed it up against a lot of different athletes as an entry in five different events.

She capped her experience at the senior games by placing 11th in her division with a time of 7:18 in the 1,500-meter run under hot and steamy conditions Monday.

Scheidt’s top effort came as a member of the Nifty Fifties-Plus softball squad, a team based in Flandreau.

The team played five games between July 4-6 and placed third out of seven teams in the 55-59 division.

Scheidt also was one of 250 competitors in a 5K race July 6.

She placed ninth in her division with a time of 25:49.

Scheidt participated in two more running events over the weekend.

She placed 12th in the 800-meter run with a time of 3:35 (only the first eight finishers qualify for the finals) on Saturday, and she placed 10th in the 400-meter dash with a personal-best time of 1:34 on Sunday.

Although Nelson only competed in the pole vault at the NSG, it was an eye-opening experience for him as well.

“It was fun,” he said.

Some of these people are amazing athletes for their age. The NSG attracts more than 10,000 athletes and they are people who take competition very seriously. I was astounded how talented these people really are.”

Nelson had a rough day as a member of the 55-59 pole vault competition July 8.

He had three chances to clear the opening height of 8-2 ½, a height he cleared to qualify for the NSG last summer.

Nelson, however, didn’t clear the obstacle.

“I didn’t have the standards measured right for my first two attempts. I thought I had it cleared on my third try, but I hit the bar with my hand and knocked it off.”

Although he didn’t clear the opening height, Nelson gained respect for his fellow competitors by event’s end.

“There were 11 guys in my age group and the winner was 59. He cleared 12-1, which is pretty impressive,” he said.

“My brief appearance in the NSG was a little disappointing. I was hoping to do a little better, but it didn’t happen.”

They may not have accomplished everything they wanted to in St. Paul, but Scheidt and Nelson earned my respect for testing themselves against our nation’s top senior athletes.

Comment Here