Members of a Levy Senior Center Foundation-sponsored women’s basketball team, the Chicago North Stars, were sporting gold medals when they returned to Evanston after playing through the Women’s 70+ Silver Division bracket at the National Senior Games presented by Humana held in Albuquerque, N.M., June 14 through 25. This is the first time one of the Levy Foundation-sponsored teams has won a gold medal at the National Senior Games.
The games are organized by the National Senior Games Association, a nonprofit multisport council member of the United States Olympic Committee that promotes health and wellness for adults 50+ through education, fitness and sport. Held every two years since 1987, the National Senior Games is the largest multisport event in the world for seniors. At this year’s games, 13,712 athletes – an all-time high – from several foreign countries, all 50 states and the District of Columbia competed in 20 medal sports.
The Levy Service Center Foundation sponsored eight women’s and six men’s teams representing different age groups in the 3-on-3 half-court basketball competition. The teams practice throughout the year at pickup games at the Levy Senior Center every Tuesday and Thursday.
The Chicago North Stars team includes Kathryn Lamkey, Carol McConnell and Pat Rupert of Evanston; Evelyn Goods and Bernadette Tucker Duck of Chicago; Sheryl Szir Gallaher of Palos Park; and Dana Delgado of Burnet, Texas. Miriam Koenig of Skokie coached the team.
Winning the gold medal did not come easily. Starting June 18, the North Stars played eight games in four days. They got off to a bad start and went into the double-elimination final round with a 1 win-3 loss record in pool play.
In the final round, the North Stars rose to the occasion and won all four of their games. Two of the conquests came against the Oklahoma Classics, a team that had earlier defeated the North Stars in pool play. The North Stars triumphed 23-15 over the Classics in the title game.
“It was a tight, hard-fought game,” Ms. Goods said. “They were a good team, but we proved we were better. For 20 years I’ve tried to win a gold medal, and this is the first time I’ve succeeded.” Both Ms. Goods and Ms. McConnell have been playing at the Levy Center for 19 years.
Another Levy team, the Threshers, won the bronze medal in the Men’s 75-79 division. Members of the Threshers include Dave Janzen of Evanston, John Stumme of Chicago, Tim Roder of Vernon Hills and Hank Trenkle of Park Ridge. Tom Reilly of Chicago served as a player/team captain.
The Levy Center will look to continue its success in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which was selected as the host city for the 2021 National Senior Games.
Neil Milbert contributed to this article.