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Local athletes qualify for Empire Games

Many of the top athletes from Cicero, North Syracuse and Clay are making their way to Binghamton and the Southern Tier next weekend for the 31st edition of the Empire State Games.

They will join thousands of competitors from six geographic regions (Central, Western, Adirondack, Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island) battling for medals in more than two dozen sports.

Here is who is going to Binghamton, and where they will be competing.

Track and Field

Mostly, Cicero-North Syracuse track is represented in the open division when the ESG meet convenes at SUNY-Binghamton.

Steve Saragiannis, a past ESG medalist, is back in the open men's discus, as Shaun Hyde runs at 400 meters. On the women's side, Gina Campagna and Marsha Fiesinger both go through two days and seven different events in the heptathlon.

Jasmine Thompson is one of two current CNS stars at the ESG, entered in the scholastic women's 100-meter high hurdles and triple jump, while Valerie Langevin works in the discus.

Lacrosse

Brooke Branoff, who has done a strong job coaching the CNS girls lacrosse team, leads the Central scholastic women's squad playing at Alumni Field behind Binghamton Middle School. Goalie Alex Gale and midfielder Ashley Waldron join Branoff on this team.

Swimming

In open women's competition at SUNY-Cortland's Park Center, Bridget Festa is entered in both the 100 and 200-meter breaststroke events. Nicole Blidy qualified for two individual scholastic women's contests and will swim in the 100 and 200 freestyle.

Volleyball

Much of the Central scholastic men's team at SUNY-Cortland includes CNS blood. Mark Barbato, Mike Freytag, Glen Miles, Tyler Smith and Alec Weber all made it and will be counted on to deliver a medal performance.

Ice Hockey

A standout on the improving CNS hockey team, Aaron Hildreth plays with the Central scholastic men at Broome County Community College, while North Syracuse native Paige Labenski represents the Central scholastic women at Chenango Ice Rink.

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