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Athletes make way to Empire Games

A large and talented group of local athletes is set to make the pursuit of medals at the 31st edition of the Empire State Games from July 24 to 27.

Thousands of competitors from six regions (Central, Western, Adirondack, Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island) are headed to Binghamton and other parts of the Southern Tier, participating in more than two dozen sports.

Here is a summary of which athletes made Central region teams, and where they will be competing.

Lacrosse

Fresh off back-to-back state championships, the West Genesee girls team has three players -- Maria DiFato, Bre Hudgins and Karlyn Tupper -- playing for the Central scholastic women's team at Alumni Stadium behind Binghamton Middle School. Westhill stars Laura Zimmerman and Mackenzie Rainone join them.

Meanwhile, three players key to WG's 15th boys state title -- goalie Steve Mahle, defender Jack Conboy and midfielder Ryan McConnell -- will key Central's quest for gold in games played at SUNY-Binghamton. Unlike years past, when there was only round-robin play, there will be gold and bronze-medal games on Sunday to close out the tournament.

Swimming

Inside Park Center at SUNY-Cortland, Westhill/Corcoran standout Liz Neddo will stay busy by swimming in the open women's 400, 800 and 1,500-meter freestyle, with Camillus native Patrick O'Donnell going to the 100 backstroke and 200 individual medley.

Two current West Genesee stars, Ben Seketa and Carson Elias, are entered in six individual events between them. Both swim in the 100 breaststroke, with Seketa also in the 400 IM and 200 breaststroke, and Elias taking part in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly. Connor Agen swims in the 800 freestyle.

Sisters from the WG program are also part of the show, as Kristen Pedrotti (now at Nazareth College) swims in the open women's 100 and 200 backstroke and Kim Pedrotti goes in the scholastic women's 1,500 freestyle and 200 breaststroke.

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