NEW CASTLE —
Joe Fennick refuses to let time pass him by.
At age 86, not much gets past Fennick.
The Hickory Township resident won a gold medal last month at Baldwin-Wallace College in the National Senior Games in Cleveland. He also placed among the leaders in four other events. Other sports events were staged at venues in and around Cleveland. More than 1,100 men and women participated in the games for people 50 and older.
Fennick was fifth in the 400 meter and 800 meter races, sixth in the 1500 meter and seventh in the 200 meter. But he earned gold as the second leg of the winning relay, joining forces with Truman Hershberger of State College, Pa., and runners from Iowa and Texas.
It was Fennick’s sixth appearance in the National Senior Games, which are held every other year at different locations. His previous best finish was second place in the 2007 games in Louisville, Ky.
Todd DeHays of Columbus, Ohio, marvels at his grandfather’s commitment.
Having played three sports in high school and later college baseball, DeHays know what it takes to compete. He is an admirer of all the participants in the Senior Games.
“To watch someone in their 80s and 90s break a record is inspiring,” DeHays said. “I’m impressed by all of them. Some that age are confined to a wheelchair or can barely get out of bed. But my grandfather never stops moving, and that’s good.”
You mighth ave guessed that Fennick is not your typical grandfather.
A childhood accident at his family’s home in Harlansburg took his left eye more than 80 years ago, but it didn’t slow him down.
He dropped out of Eastbrook High School after his junior year in 1945 (he later got a GED). He planned to join the Navy, but was rejected because of his vision handicap. Instead of giving up, Fennick took another route. To be accepted by the Merchant Marines, he had to gain eight pounds to reach the 130 limit. He did it in one afternoon by devouring bunches of bananas and drinking a gallon of water.
Soonafter, Fennick found himself on a troop ship in the Pacific bound for Okinawa just prior to the first atomic bomb being dropped. The ship was rerouted to Nagasaki, which was the target of the second bomb. Even with one eye, he saw more than he could handle. “The devastation was unbelievable,” said Fennick, who ventured out a few blocks before turning around and going back to the ship.
Fennick married the former Marian Booher in 1949. They lived in New Castle for a year until moving to Eastbrook. They 64-year marriage has produced three children, six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Fennick has always loved a challenge. He has been overcoming obstacles all of his life.
The former Sears Delivery Service employee competed against himself. “I pushed myself to deliver everything on time,” he said. “And they really loaded my truck.”
As director of the October walk/run at the Cathedral, Fennick’s efforts helped raise $22,000 for a dyslexic running center. He is 33rd Degree Masons, having been in the organization for 40 years.
At age 65, Fennick began walking at the invitation of his wife, but soon he was running.
“That’s probably why my knees are still good,” said Fennick, who has competed in several 5 and 10k races.
He runs every other day for an hour at the Laurel High School track, but preparation picks up three months before the Senior Games.
For Fennick, who plans to compete in the 2015 games in Minneapolis, there is no end in sight.
“People are staying healthier and living longer,” he said.
NEW CASTLE —
Joe Fennick refuses to let time pass him by.
Steelers' Wheaton eyeing chance after tough rookie year
Markus Wheaton realizes the pressure is there, but he doesn’t mind.
Harrison’s four hits leads Pirates past Rockies, 7-5
Josh Harrison had four hits, including a tiebreaking homer, to help the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Colorado Rockies 7-5 on Sunday. Gregory Polanco and Travis Snider also went deep for the Pirates, who avoided being swept in Colorado for the second straight season.
Anderson leads Rockies over Pirates 8-1
Brett Anderson pitched effectively into the seventh inning for his first win in more than a year and the Colorado Rockies beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-1 on Friday night.
Mangino finding new home at Iowa State
The first time Iowa State defensive end Cory Morrissey saw Mark Mangino, the former Kansas coach and current ISU offensive coordinator stopped him in his tracks.
Pirates jump on Haren early, top Dodgers 6-1
Josh Harrison had two hits with two RBIs and the Pittsburgh Pirates jumped on Dan Haren early in a 6-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night.
Aloi's PIAA eligibility hearing postponed
The wait continues for Nick Aloi. Aloi, who transferred from Ellwood City Lincoln High to Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School on Jan. 21, still does not know if he will get to play a full season for the Leopards’ basketball team
Polanco, Walker lift Pirates over Dodgers 12-7
Gregory Polanco broke out of a slump with a solo home run and a tiebreaking two-run single, lifting the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 12-7 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night.
Manziel scores as NFL’s top-selling jersey
Second on Cleveland’s depth chart, Johnny Manziel already tops one NFL list.
Greg Huston: Pedro, Steelers' Training Camp and LeBron
Pedro Alvarez’s throwing woes have not subsided after the All-Star break and he has become a defensive liability, especially late in games.
Pirates beat Rockies 5-3 for 3-game sweep
Taking the extra base was the key for the Pittsbur‘gh Pirates in completing a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies. Andrew McCutchen hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning, Neil Walker followed with a home run and the Pirates overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Rockies 5-3 Sunday.
- More Sports Headlines
- Steelers' Wheaton eyeing chance after tough rookie year