Marian Sunnen is 97-years-old — but that's not stopping her from getting caught up in the excitement of March Madness.
The Chatham, Ont. resident has been filling out March Madness brackets almost every year for the past two decades. Sunnen said it's exciting to compete with her friends and family, but added the tradition ultimately started because of her late husband.
"He was a basketball fan. He chose a bracket and so did I," Sunnen said.
Honouring her husband
The couple lived together in Chatham back in 1959 before moving to different states across the U.S. — depending on where August was based during his time in the Navy. He even joined Michigan State University's shot put, discus and track teams.
"He loved following everything Michigan State," said Sunnen's niece, Alysson Storey. "That's why we have to keep Michigan State going, because that's what Uncle 'Auggy' would want."
August passed away in 2017 at the age of 95. For Sunnen, continuing to fill out March Madness brackets is a way of keeping his memory alive.
"He would've wanted me to."
So what's her prediction for this year?
Sunnen's expert analysis has led her to pick Purdue University as the winner of this year's national championship.
"Purdue's in the Big Ten and Purdue's been doing very well this year," she said. "I would like to see them win, so I might as well pick them."
But what does her bracket say about the future of her favourite team? Sunnen predicts Michigan State will be eliminated in the Elite Eight because it's a "practical" possibility.
March Madness — a family competition
The tradition of filling out a March Madness bracket has passed on to the rest of her family. Storey said her family and close friends have been pitting bracket-against-bracket through an online March Madness pool.
"My parents, brother and sister, my husband, aunt Marian, some friends from here in Chatham and across Canada, my cousins from California ... There's about 20 of us," said Storey.
She added the online pool has existed for about 15 years, shortly after Sunnen filled out her first bracket. Storey said her family enjoys hearing old stories from her great aunt's younger days.
"She'a a very knowledgeable sports person — not just in basketball, but in baseball and football and golf," said Storey. "We have to keep up [with] her."