Villager and partner team up to win medals in Florida Senior Games table tennis competition

Day Four of the Florida State Games was a good day for Judy Stillman of The Villages. She shot an 84 on the first 18 holes of the 36-hole golfing event while shooting in the 65-69 age group. The score tied her tied her with Tampa’s Lisa Hartley, shooting in the 70-74 group, for the lowest women’s score of the day.

Stillman returned Wednesday to wrap up the 36-hole competition with a three-stroke lead over Lakeland’s Janet Brown, the 2015 Florida Senior Games Female Athlete of the Year, in the 65-69 age group.

Dean Pickering of The Villages teamed up with John Schultz to win the 80-84 age group of men’s table tennis.

Dean Pickering, right, teamed up wth John Schultz.

Schultz, of Inverness, climbed upon the medal stand for the 25th consecutive year, the longest consecutive years medal winning streak among all athletes. 

Hyae Yeon Churchill, of Ocala, had a gold medal sweep in all three events of women’s table tennis winning the 70-74 age group women’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles events. In the mixed doubles win, she paired with Dave Brooks to defeat the husband and wife team of Newton and Don Tran, from Clearwater. 

The two mixed doubles teams squared off in the gold medal match in 2016 with the Tran’s taking the gold medal. 

Churchill and Brooks have lived in the same Ocala neighborhood for 20 years and are members of the Ocala Table Tennis Club.  They have been in the 70-74 mixed doubles championship match for each of the last three years and won the gold medal in 2015.

“When we started playing together, we were nobodies,” said Churchill.  “But we kept working at it.  Now we have gold medals.”

In women’s singles play, Churchill won her third consecutive gold in the 70-74 age group and sixth since 2010.  She teamed with Jane Pang, of Clermont, to win the 70-74 women’s doubles gold, also her third consecutive in the age group.

Day three Monday in the men’s table tennis competition at the Long Center saw The Villages’ William Morgensen and his partner Stuart Lesser lose a hard fought match with William Lee of Orlando and his partner Palm Harbor’s John Reynolds to secure a silver medal in the 65-69 age group. 

To win the men’s doubles gold medal Lee and Reynolds had to withstand a five-game challenge from Lesser and Mogensen. 

On the verge of a four-game victory with a 10-8 lead, Lee and Reynolds gave up four straight points to even the match at two games each.  The duo rebounded to win game five 11-6, denying Lesser and Mogensen a second consecutive gold medal in the men’s doubles 65-69 age group.