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Seniors in town for Sports Classic

Jun. 20, 2013 @ 11:00 PM

HUNTINGTON — Toni Chirico identifies herself as a lifetime walker and an occasional runner who has kicked her running habit back into full swing in time for the West Virginia Senior Sports Classic this weekend.

She is one of more than 180 participants from 18 states, most from West Virginia, who will converge in Huntington and Barboursville on Friday, June 21, and Saturday, June 22, to compete in 16 different athletic events including track and field, golf and tennis, said Angela Henderson-Bentley, director of public relations for St. Mary's Medical Center.

The Opening Ceremonies for the event took place Thursday evening with a torch run featuring Tyson Compton, president of the Cabell-Huntington Convention and Visitors Bureau, and former Marshall University Head Football Coach Bob Pruett.

Huntington Mayor Steve Williams and Cabell County Commission President Nancy Cartmill spoke at the torch-lighting ceremony at the St. Mary's Center for Education.

"We want to encourage seniors to live healthy and stay active," said Henderson-Bentley. "It's important to stay out and stay healthy. There are people in their 70s and 80s who will be competing this weekend. We just want people to know they can pick up healthy habits and stick with it."

The top three finishers of each event will be presented accordingly with gold, silver and bronze medals, said Henderson-Bentley.

The Senior Games event is celebrating its 20th anniversary by returning to Huntington, said Henderson-Bentley. The event first took place in Huntington, but it has been hosted in Charleston in recent years.

"A lot of people in Huntington might not be as familiar with it for that reason," she said. "It still has a good following, and we plan to host it again next year, which is a qualifying year to go to the National Senior Games. If someone wants to get ready to compete next year, they can know it's happening here again, and they can be ready."

Chirico said she was more than ready to run in the 5K event Saturday.

"I did the West Virginia 5K last year, and I am ready to more 5K's this year," she said. "I just like to be outside, and I like to complete goals that I've set for myself. That's what is about for me."

For more information about the West Virginia Senior Sports Classic, visit www.wvssc.com.



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