Teel and Welter tabbed as 2017 Florida Senior Games Athletes of the Year
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Sports Foundation, in association with its presenting sponsor, Humana, announced its 2017 Florida Senior Games Athletes of the Year on Thursday, naming Carol Teel and Mike Welter as its distinguished recipients of this year’s award.
The 2017 Florida Senior Games Athletes of the Year are participants of their sport who spend a lot of time in the bowling alley and on the pickleball courts.
Carol Teel, of The Villages, spent the first weekend of the 2017 Florida Senior Games at Seminole Lanes bowling in women’s doubles and mixed doubles. Mike Welter, of Cape Coral, spent the second weekend of the games, playing men’s singles, men’s doubles, and mixed doubles pickleball. Both won medals in all their events and each have been winning medals not only on the state level for the last few years, but on a national level as well.
“It is an honor to recognize these two individuals as the Florida Senior Games Athletes of the Year,” said Marvin E. Green, Jr., Vice President of Amateur Sports & Events. “A culmination of each athlete’s commitment, dedication, and enthusiasm for their respective sport has set them apart as each receives this honor. We are appreciative of Carol’s and Mike’s continued support of the Florida Senior Games and know that they have set the bar high for this year’s athletes in the ‘race’ for next year’s prize.”
At the 2017 bowling competition, Teel was part of a record-setting women’s doubles team that rolled an all-time best score with a 1392 for a new record in the 60-64 age group, along with Cristy Morawski, of Milton. She also teamed with her husband, Gerald, to win a mixed doubles gold medal in the 60-64 age group.
Teel won medals in all three events at the 2017 National Senior Games and was part of record-setting teams in the 60-64 Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles competitions. She won a women’s singles silver medal and took gold in the women’s doubles, teaming with Morawski, for a new age group record combined score of 1336. She teamed with Gerald again at the national level to establish a new age group mixed doubles record with a combined score of 1318.
“In the 12 years I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing at the Florida Senior Games, she’s probably the best women’s bowler I’ve seen,” said Bob Peters, the FSG Bowling Sport Director. “If she’s not, she’s giving a big push to whoever may be. She’s very talented and keeps winning gold medals as she has progressed into different age groups. That’s not always easy.”
She holds four FSG records, two in women’s singles (55-59 and 60-64 age group), one in women’s doubles (60-64 age group), and one in mixed doubles (55-59 age group). She is the only FSG women’s bowler to roll a 300 game, a feat she accomplished in 2012 in women’s singles competition.
For the fifth consecutive year, in 2017, Mike Welter, has played in the championship matches of all three FSG Pickleball events. Every year, Welter has come up short in one event to win two gold medals and a silver. In 2017, he won the 60-64 mixed doubles gold (with Bobbi Little of North Fort Myers for the third consecutive year) and the 65-69 men’s doubles championship.
With the increase in Pickleball participation over the last three years, Welter has played in over 40 total matches for his six gold and three silver medals. He also won a men’s doubles silver medal at the 2017 National Senior Games.
Welter will be unable to compete in the 2018 Florida Senior Games, presented by Humana, due to a stroke he suffered on September 30 that affected the left side of his body. Right after the incident, he was paralyzed in his left arm and leg and lost his sight. Since that time, he has regained the use of his left arm and leg and is gradually regaining his sight, although still legally blind.
“I’m walking a mile or more each day and my sight is improving,” he said. “I’m going to have to take a year off from Pickleball, but I’m going to be the Comeback Play of the Year when I return. The doctors are taking good care of me, and I’m trying to get better.”
Welter credits the fact he was airlifted by helicopter to the hospital to receive immediate care and the fact he was in very good health from training to play pickleball at the Huntsman Senior Games, for saving his life.
Welter and Teel are the 47th and 48th Athletes of the Year chosen in the 26 years of the Florida Senior Games. Welter is the first Pickleball athlete to win the FSG Athlete of the Year award and Teel is the second bowler to earn the honor. Richard Merrill, a bowler from Lady Lake, won the 2010 Athlete of the Year Award. Teel and Merrill are two of only five bowlers in history of the Games to roll a perfect game.
Past Florida Senior Games Athletes of the Year
2016: Kathy Petrillo, Jupiter; John Horwath, The Villages
2015: Janet Brown, Lakeland; Rudy Vazmina, Sarasota
2014: Danuta Kubelik, Crystal River; Walt Deal, Clearwater
2013: Nina Hammer, Bonita Springs; Tom Bliss, Melbourne
2012: Linda Frisch, The Villages; James Richling, Port St. Lucie
2011: Essie Faria, North Miami; Segismundo Pares, Ocala
2010: Avis Vaught, The Villages; Richard Merrill, Lady Lake
2009: Patrice Hirr, The Villages; John Shultz, Inverness
2008: Suzy Nothhouse, Estero; Dean Davis, Fort Myers
2007: Claudette Braswell, Lake Wales; Larry Wallen, Jacksonville
2006: Sari Kisbany, Redington Shores; Roger Gentilhomme, Dunedin
2005: Patricia Sargeant, Melbourne; Andy McGuffin, Umatilla
2004: Lillian Webb, Sebring; Harry Carothers, Pinellas Park
2003: Madelaine “Tiny” Cazel, The Villages; James Anderson, New Port Richey
2002: Janice Lathouwers, The Villages; Allen Bjork, Sebring
2001: Sperry Rademaker, Floral City; Howard Hall, Port Charlotte
2000: Erika Messner, Clermont; Al Treichel, Spring Hill
1999: Patricia Bond, Bradenton; Gordon Johnson, Dundee
1998: Lucia Schatteleyn, Englewood; Donald Ritenour, Belleview
1997: Ethel Lehmann, Largo; Seymour Duckman, Daytona Beach
1996: Hope Fage, Largo; F.L. McFadden, Lakeland
1995: Mary Melehan, Englewood; Leonard Stone, Barefoot Bay
1994: Doris Prokopi, Land O’Lakes; Wayne Wakefield, Bradenton
About the Florida Sports Foundation
Florida’s Sports Industry creates over $57.4 billion in economic impact for the Sunshine State, provides over 580,000 jobs for its citizens, and attracts over 16 million out of state visitors each year. All of which deservingly make Florida the “Sports Capital of the World”. The Florida Sports Foundation, Inc. is a 501(C)3 non-profit corporation, serving as the Sports Industry Development Division of Enterprise Florida, Inc. The mission of the Florida Sports Foundation is to:
- Assist Florida’s communities with securing, hosting and retaining Sporting events and sports related business that generate significant economic impact and Sports Tourism for the state of Florida through the Foundation’s grant programs, legislative initiatives and Industry Partner service, recognition and development.
- Provide the citizens of Florida with participation opportunities in the Sunshine State Games and Florida Senior Games events.
- Serve as Florida’s leading resource for Sport Tourism research and facts.
- Assist in the promotion of targeted leisure sports industries in Florida.
- Assist National and Florida State Governing Bodies to promote amateur sport development through the Sunshine State Games and hosting events in Florida.