Sarah Beasley Neale, 77, sat patiently awaiting her next table tennis match. A five-time gold medal winner in the national senior Olympic games, Neale was not having much luck against players almost 60 years younger.

"These kids have so much energy, but I'm doing the best I can," said Neale, who still works as a clerk-stenographer for the State Highway Department in Baltimore. "Everybody here will beat me, but I still enjoy the competition."

Neale had just lost her third match, two games to one, to 10-year-old Shannon Towner. But she was eager to try her next opponent in the round-robin tournament.

Table tennis was one of 20 events at the University of Maryland and other statewide locations yesterday in the third annual Maryland State Games, which continue today.

Like most of the sports, table tennis was made up of divisions according to rank or age. Neale was seeded lowest in the 33-player field, but it didn't dim her effort or enthusiasm.

"I've been playing for 50 years, and I always enter the tournaments, said Neale, who participated in the 1984 World Games. "I don't practice at all now because I do other things."

Towner, who attends Pleasant Plains Elementary school in Loch Raven, has played less than a year but already is contending for the junior Olympic title in her age group. Yesterday, however, she finished in the bottom half of her division.

Richard Hugh won the Group D (lowest seeded) gold medal, and Thomas Golab won in Group B.

Lynette Love, the women's heavyweight national champion in tae kwon do, defeated Carolyn Dent and Dina Mason in the open division to take the gold medal.

"I've been competing for 12 years," said Love, who began her training in Detroit before she moved to Oxon Hill. "I'm training full-time for the {1988} Olympics."

Ayoka Brown, a former national champion, defeated Leah Epps to win the gold medal in the lightweight division. Alison Henderson beat Naomi Witzez in the welterweight final.

As expected, the basketball competition was heated. Tennis Haven, led by Penny Elliott and Gary Lampkin, defeated C & S Contracting, 82-59, and Pro Net USA, 83-76, to advance to today's 12:30 final at Cole Field House.

Eric Love, Pierre Bland and Michael Jackson had big games in the Maryland All Stars' victories over the Johnson Jammers, 85-78, and the Knights, 67-59, to reach the final against Tennis Haven.

The Mason Rockets will play Sports Line in the 11 a.m. consolation game.

Eight meet records were broken in the girls and boys (age 14-18) track and field competition.

Individual winners who established new marks were Brian Dixon in the 1,500-meter run (4 minutes 11.7 seconds); Kendra Hickman, 1,500 (5:02.3) and 800 (2:27.1); Chris Owens, shot put (50 feet 9 inches) and discus (149-1); Brian Allred, 200 (21.9); John Rousseau, pole vault (14-0); Robin Quinlan, girls 3,000 (11:15.8), and Greg Early, boys 3,000 (9:08.1).

Mollie Bell won the all-around title in girls Division B gymnastics with a score of 33.15. Alanna Bailey (33.5) was second.

Kim Kincaid won all four of the individual events -- uneven bars, balance beam, floor exercise and vault -- to take the women's old-timers title. Neil Niemi won the boys Class III all-around title with a score of 50.7, and Mike Graham won the class IV with 52.7 points.