by Jay Young
July 13, 2019
Lakewood Man Wins Two Golds At Senior Games
CORTLAND — Lakewood resident Mike Sayers spent his college years during the 1970s on the campus of SUNY Brockport competing in track and field.
Now, at the age of 64, he continues to rack up the athletic awards, recently competing 100 miles to the east on the campus of SUNY Cortland at the Empire State Senior Games.
Participating in the 65-69 division (Sayers will turn 65 this winter), Sayers took home first in the javelin and first in the discus, as well as three silver medals in the shot put, long jump and triple jump.
Those medals will join an already stuffed trophy case, which includes 1975 NCAA Division II All-American honors in the decathlon.
“My first experience doing track and field was in 1968 as an eighth-grader,” said Sayers, who is a graduate of Fredonia Central School. “I practiced with the varsity team as a pole vaulter. I did the pole vault and long jump and as I got older we had so many good pole vaulters they asked me to try some other events like the quarter-mile, half-mile and relays.”
Sayers first found his true calling in the javelin when he was spending time around the campus of another state school — SUNY Fredonia. One day when he was watching the collegiate athletes warm up their throws, he got an opportunity to try for himself.
“I picked up the javelin when I was 14 years old,” Sayers said. “I watched the college kids at Fredonia throw the javelin and they asked me if I wanted to throw with them. I said ‘of course I do’.”
During his college years, Sayers was draw to the decathlon because it allowed him to showcase his skills in a range of disciplines.
“It showed that I didn’t have to be the best guy in every event,” he said. “I just had to be good and consistent in all of the events. I didn’t win any events at nationals, I finished second and third in most of them but that put me on the podium as an All-American.”
One of the things that Sayers remembered most from his collegiate years of throwing, running and jumping was just how intense the competition was — that is thankfully not the case at the Empire State Games.
“I love the competition and I love the guys I work with,” he said. “Nobody was cutthroat like it was when it was in college.”
Despite what the name may suggest, the Empire State games are open to athletes from all over the United States. There is just a small entrance fee for out-of-state athletes.
Many of the competitors that Sayers now spends time with hail from as far away as California, many of whom travel the country competing in track and field events throughout the year.