Once again, thousands of athletes are gearing up to participate in the Empire State Games, held this years in the Binghamton area.
Competing in more than two dozen sports, they will represent six regions -- Central, Western, Adirondack, HudsonValley, New York City and Long Island -- in the pursuit of medals from July 24 to 27.
Here is a sampling of the local athletes donning the blue colors of the Central region for the 31st edition of the ESG.
Track and Field
Morrisville will be well-represented at the SUNY-Binghamton track, between Mitch Miller running in the open men's 3,000-meter steeplechase, Matt Holmes in the grueling open men's decathlon and Carolyn Verne taking part in the open women's 3,000 steeplechase.
On the scholastic side, Oneida standout Pat McLaughlin will be a medal contender in three different events -- the 110-meter high hurdles, long jump and high jump. Canastota's Allison Lasnicki runs in the women's 5,000-meter event as Nick Harrison, from Verona, handles the 400-meter dash.
Vernon-Verona-Sherrill teammates Dylan Kavanaugh and Dan Walts both are expected to medal at SUNY-Binghamton's West Gym. Kavanaugh, at 98 pounds, is entered in both freestyle and Greco-Roman disciplines, while Walts, at 115 pounds, is only doing freestyle. Morrisville-Eaton's Alex Meyers competes at 192 pounds on the Greco-Roman side, while Chittenango's Wes Blanding qualified in freestyle at 123 pounds.
Up in the open division, M-E graduate Paul LeBlanc is entered in the freestyle division at 167 pounds as Vernon's Todd Luther wrestles the heavyweights at 275 pounds.
In a show of how far both of Cazenovia High School's lacrosse programs has progressed, Chris Nourse settles in as a midfielder on the Central scholastic men's team that will play at SUNY-Binghamton. Kara Cannizzaro is expected to star for the Central women's side as they play at Alumni Stadium behind Binghamton Middle School.