Jul 14, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
For more than three decades, top athletes from this area have gone after — and in some cases, won — medals during the staging of the Empire State Games.
The 31st edition of the ESG will be July 24 to 27 in Binghamton and surrounding areas, featuring more than two dozen sports and the athletes from the Central, Western, Adirondack, Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island regions.
Many local athletes will be donning the Central colors. Here is a summary of who they are, and where they will be.
Fayetteville-Manlius has, in all, four players going to the Empire Games. Mike Poppleton and Matt Taylor play for Central’s scholastic men’s side at SUNY-Binghamton. Across town at Alumni Stadium behind Binghamton Middle School, Meg Helmer and Morgan Axenfeld represent the Hornets.
Christian Brothers Academy also has representation on both sides, with Casey Lasda on the attack for the Central men and Katie Webster doing the same for the Central women. For the first time at the ESG, the men’s tournament will feature medal games after a full round-robin format the first three days.
East Syracuse-Minoa’s fine wrestling program is expected to haul many medals home from the ESG meet at SUNY-Binghamton’s West Gym.
Mick Letcher is entered in the open 152-pound division in both freestyle and Greco-Roman disciplines, while Matt Letcher seeks the same double at 143 pounds on the scholastic side. Dustin Moss, at 165 pounds in scholastic competition, also is entered in freestyle and Greco-Roman events.
DeWitt native Terissa Mignacca makes yet another ESG appearance on Central’s open women’s team, with McKinley Gray (Jamesville-DeWitt) and Rachel Rosenbaum (F-M) both on the scholastic roster at Broome County Arena in downtown Binghamton.
From the powerful F-M boys program, Matt Izant will play singles at SUNY-Binghamton’s courts for the Central scholastic team as fellow Hornets Vivek and Vikrim Nayar play doubles. From CBA, Section III champion Lianna Artessa is on the women’s side as Josh Mulligan is entered in men’s singles.
CBA graduate Mawuena Agbossoumonde will have a starring role for Central’s open men’s team as it plays at SUNY-Binghamton, as will J-D graduates Dan and Marcel Perl, plus John Pelligra and Manlius-Pebble Hill standout Dan McGowan.
Christina Harrison, a J-D graduate, is on the Central open women’s side, while F-M’s Danielle Kennedy resides with the Central scholastic women.
Sarah Reed, who had a record-breaking, All-American career at LeMoyne College, stars for a Central open squad that also includes one-time J-D teammate Amanda Barnett. All softball games are at the BAGSAI complex.
Eric Jorgenson, who has helped build a long win streak at J-D, is entered in three scholastic men’s individual events at SUNY-Cortland’s Park Center pool, including the 200, 400 and 800-meter freestyles. Brian Robinson (F-M) gets his shot at medals in the 100 and 200-meter backstroke, along with the 200-meter individual medley.
Two natives of Fayetteville, Kathryn Coughlin and Maggie Fletcher, both qualified for the Central scholastic team. Coughlin is in the 100-meter breaststroke, while Fletcher in the 800-meter freestyle.
Mike Doolittle (an F-M graduate) and Jamesville native Matt Coleman both line up for Central’s open men’s team at SUNY-Cortland, while current Hornet Drew Zipprich made it to the Central scholastic team.
Track and Field
Jade Germany is a veteran of past ESG competitions, and returns to vie for a medal in the open women’s high jump at SUNY-Binghamton Stadium. Christine Peletier, from DeWitt, runs in the open women’t 5,000-meter event.
There is a Fayetteville-Manlius flavor in both men’s divisions at SUNY-Binghamton as former Hornets star Tom Wopperer returns for the Central open team and current star Brain Zapisek debuts on the scholastic men’s side.
Meanwhile, F-M teammates Torie Lee and Emily Trapani are featured with Central’s scholastic women’s squad at Binghamton High School, joined there by sharp-shooting CBA guard Leanne Ockenden.
Lindsey Smith, a native of Manlius that attends Cazenovia High School, is a midfielder on Central’s scholastic team playing at Vestal High School.
Amy Kneale, a resident of DeWitt, is one of three Central open women’s competitors, joining Sarah Krzysiak (Marcy) and Vanessa McCaffery (Ithaca) in various road races around the Binghamton area, including Chenango Valley State Park, Recreation Park and MacArthur School.
Mike Esposito is one of the highest-scoring players in F-M’s brief history as a varsity hockey program. He will see lots of ice time for Central’s scholastic men’s team as it plays at Broome County Community College.
Hailing from Fayetteville, Struan Shrimpton is entered in the scholastic men’s epee as the ESG scraps the team format of years past and goes to individual medals in epee, foil and sabre at Davis College in Vestal. Eat Syracuse native Lubo Kalpaktchiev coaches for Central.
Josh Silverman, hailing from Fayetteville, joins a Central roster heavily populated with oarsmen from Ithaca. Rowing races are at Dorchester Park in Whitney Point.
Dick Woodridge, from Fayetteville, and Tim Alexander, from Jamesville, serve as the coaches for Central’s scholastic team in games at Union-Endicott High School and Conlon Field.