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Senior Lifestyles

Local team grabs championship at National Senior Games

9/5/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

From left, Joe Jakubick, Andy Parks, Tom Tretter, Rich Johnson, Craig Welch and Jeff Henry are on the Dellagnese Construction basketball team, which recently claimed the championship at the National Senior Games in Cleveland.
Photo courtesy of Andy Parks
FAIRLAWN — A local basketball team made it all the way to the top at the National Senior Games this summer.

The Dellagnese Construction team’s members are Andy Parks, of Sharon; Jeff Henry and Tom Tretter, of Bath; Rich Johnson and Joe Jakubick, of Ellet; and Craig Welch, of Hartville. Johnson and Jakubick played for The University of Akron Zips, and Jakubick, who is now the girls’ basketball coach at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Parks, who is the supervisor of maintenance at Dellagnese, based on Embassy Parkway, is one of the team’s original members and now serves as captain. He was playing on a team 18 years ago when company founder John Dellagnese found out about it and offered to be the sponsor.

The team’s members range from 52 to 57 years old, and they play in the 50-54 age division, said Parks, who is the only Dellagnese employee on the team.

“We travel all year,” Parks said. “We play at Springside Racquet and Fitness Club; they have open gym three times a week there, and we play against the young guys.”

That training must have paid off, as the team won last year’s state senior title, qualifying them for the national games in Cleveland this year.

“We played 10 games in four days,” Parks said of the national competition that took place July 17-20 at Cleveland State University. “We played teams from all over the U.S. It was a pretty amazing run. We’ve played in other big tournaments, but not as big as the nationals.”

He said the team also appreciated being able to go home every night, which is different than most of the tournaments in which they compete.

“We don’t get home court very often, so it was nice to be able to go home,” Parks said. “The whole Senior Games were great. They had softball, golf, volleyball, with 13,000 athletes.”

He added that the team’s members enjoy competing, but they continue to participate for other reasons.

“Health is No. 1, but I use it as my therapy,” Parks said. “One thing about basketball, when I’m playing, the game goes so fast and it’s so fun that you forget about the issues you have.”

The team is not content to rest on its laurels, though. In the next year, Parks said he expects they will travel to Buffalo, N.Y., and Jacksonville, Fla., for tournaments.

“Once we get rolling, we just keep on rolling,” he said.

The National Senior Games is a 19-sport, biennial national championship for men and women 50 and older. It is the largest multi-sport event in the world for senior athletes.

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