By Rob Kiser
Piqua Daily Call
Piqua was well represented at the Senior National Games held recently in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
And while there are amazing athletes and amazing competition, thrower Mike Butsch and the husband and wife team of cyclists Mike and Amy Treon will tell you that the relationships you develop are what truly make it special.
“For example, I ran into a guy I had seen since Minneapolis (in 2015),” Butsch said. “And I got see him again. It is things like that.”
The Treons would agree.
“It is really the camaraderie,” Mike Treon said. “We have made a lot of great relationships while competing at the Michigan (State) games. It is just a lot of fun.”
Amy Treon agreed.
“The oldest age division was 90-94,” she said. “There was a 103-year old woman that set a world record in the 100 (meter dash). That was just amazing.”
And all three Piqua representatives performed at a very high level.
Butsch fell in love with the sport of track and field at a very early age.
“Ever since I was introduced to the sport, I have had a passion for it,” Butsch said.
Butsch, who has sons and grandsons that were outstanding pole vaulters, competed at the Senior Masters level in pole vault before tearing his Achilles tendon almost 10 years ago.
“I was already competing in the decathlon, so I knew I could do the throws,” Butsch said. “I couldn’t pole vault anymore, but I knew I could do throws. I would still be doing the decathlon if I could pole vault.”
Butsch has had a lot of success at the Senior Games, but this meet was truly special for several reasons.
Butsch had already won gold and bronze medals at the national level and his second-place finish in the 70-74 year old hammer throw with a distance of 125-6.3 gave him his first silver medal.
“I completed the set,” Butsch said. “It would have been nice to win, but the silver one was the one I needed and I was able to get that.”
Felder Masters won with a toss of 133-7.15.
“I lost to the number one guy in the world,” Butsch said. “But, at least I made him look over his shoulder a few times.”
Butsch also finished fifth in the discus, 112-9.54; fifth in the shot put, 39-9.17 and eighth in the javelin, 99-7.28.
“There were a lot of guys within a foot or two of each other,” Butsch said. “I was within a couple feet of medaling in both the disucs and shot put. But, I got the medal I needed.”
It was also a deja vu feeling for Butsch.
“I remember as a little freshman at McPherson College competing in nationals,” Butsch said. “And here I was almost 50 years later, returning to the very same track. That was pretty cool.”
Just like completing his set of Senior National Game medals.
Mike and Amy Treon
The Treons,, who were sponsored by Polysource of Piqua, have taken different paths to cycling success, but both are among the best in the state in the 55-59 age group.
“There is one guy from Cincinnati that always beats me,” Mike Treon said with a smile. “But, I am usually second at state competitions.”
Mike Treon first began cycling as part of a lifestyle change.
“It had probably been five years since I quit smoking at the time,” he said. “I think Piqua opened the bike trail around 2001 and I started riding around 2002. I was lifting weights and looking for something cardio. I never expected that (for it to turn in to what it has).”
Treon purchases his first road bike in 2004 and began racing the same year.
“I probably ride about 6,000 miles a year,” he said. “And go to 40 or 50 road races a year. I just really enjoy it.”
He helps organize local races.
“I am on a team that hosts races,” he said. “We just have a lot of fun. Amy will bring a few women to the races as well. We got out and race and them get together afterwards.”
Treon, who has a barbershop at Main Street, said work helps him with his training.
“I will ride to work, then close for awhile and ride and then ride home,” he said.
Ironically, both Mike and Amy qualified for this years Senior National Games at the Michigan state qualifier.
“You have to be in the top four to qualify for nationals,” he said. “Fortunately, they let you qualify in other than your home state. Which is a good thing, because my brother was getting married the day of the Ohio qualifier last year.”
Mike had a tough start to this year’s games, taking 16th in the 5K in 7:10.70.
But, he bounced back in a big way a day later, taking eighth in the 10K in 14:54.8 to make the podium.
“The first race, I was dealing with altitude sickness,” he said. “That was disappointing. But, I was able to recover the next day and not have any signs of the altitude sickness. I feel like I redeemed myself. Of the three national games I have been to, this is the strongest competition I have faced. I felt good to make the podium. And the guy from Ohio who always beats me finished third, so the state was well represented.”
Amy Treon was already accomplished as a distance runner, running marathons and having completed two Ironmans.
“I probably started transitioning to cycling about 16 years ago,” Amy said. “That’s when I started doing triathlons.”
It is something Mike has encouraged her to do.
“I am helping her transition,” he said. “I just feel like it is a lot easier on the body (than running). She has gone from riding (distance) to sprint races and she has picked it up really fast.”
This was her first time at the Senior National Games and she recorded 11th-place finishes in both events.
She had a time of 8:30.10 in the 5K race and 18:28.5 in the 10K race.
“I was really happy (with how she did),” she said. “The competition was really strong.”
“She took over a minute off her qualifying times,” he said. “She really did well.”
And they look forward to qualifying in two years when the Senior National Games are at Fort Lauderdale.
“A lot of the competitors this year were from high-altitude states,” Amy said. “That gave them an advantage. But, they will be at a disadvantage when it is at Fort Lauderdale.”
And you can expect, as always, Piqua will be well represented in 2021.
Piqua Daily Call Sports Editor Rob Kiser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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