Spirited seniors

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Walla Walla wasn't all about wine over Memorial Day weekend.

One group of residents and visitors had other things on their mind: The Eastern Washington Senior Games.

About 80 athletes aged 50-plus from across the Northwest came into town for the YMCA-sponsored event, which included cycling, swimming, running, basketball, golf and a host of other athletic activities.

It was the first time Walla Walla has hosted the event, said YMCA event organizer Susan Anfinson, who spearheded the games.

It won't be the last.

Good weekend weather helped make the outside events a success, said cycling organizer Charles Stanger.

"The weather was beautiful," he said. "The people who did it this year exited happy and I know they'll head out and talk about the event."

Of the eight events, five were outside, while raquetball, basketball and swimming were at indoor locations.

It was swimming where Anfinson, a tennis player, saw the most engagement.

"I think that venue typified the entire event," she said of the event, which was at the Whitman pool. "There was just a really great feeling when you walked in there. It was so relaxed and friendly and everyone was talking and joking around.

"It was a really great atmosphere, which is what the Senior Games should be about."

And with a contingent from across the Northwest - Seattle, Boise, Lewiston, Wenatchee, Spokane and Walla Walla - Anfinson sees the games growing every year.

"We'll do this again for sure," she said. "We've had so much positive feedback and we know this will grow and just get bigger and better."

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