Many of the area's top athletes found themselves collecting hardware of the gold, silver and bronze type during last weekend's 31st Empire State Games in Binghamton and other parts of the Southern Tier.
Representing Canastota, Allison Lasnicki gave the Central region a gold medal with her masterly performance in Saturday's scholastic women's 5,000-meter run.
In what was the first race of the morning at the SUNY-Binghamton track, Lasnicki pulled away from the field steadily over the course of the three-plus miles. Her time of 17 minutes, 58.48 seconds was enough to beat silver medalist Jessica Fingers (Hudson Valley) by more than 25 seconds.
Another local hero, Oneida's Pat McLaughlin, came home with two silver medals. First, in the scholastic men's long jump, he went 21 feet 9 inches, finishing second to Western's Brian Archie Jr., who won with 22 feet 3 1/2 inches.
Then, in the 110-meter high hurdles, McLaughlin won his semifinal heat and came within inches of the title. He finished in 14.96 seconds, nudged at the wire by Long Island's Iton Anderson (14.88 seconds) as he also tied for fifth in the high jump. Nick Harrison (Vernon-Verona-Sherrill) was seventh in the scholastic men's 400-meter dash in 52.36 seconds.
Two stars on the VVS boys basketball team, Evan Croll and Adam Kemp, helped Central's scholastic men's team to a silver medal at SUNY-Binghamton's Events Center.
During early-round play, Central went 3-0, beating Hudson Valley 84-68, Adirondack 90-69 and New York City 103-85. Croll got 13 points, seven of them from free throws, against New York City, this after six points in the Adirondack game. Kemp had 10 combined points in those games -- six of them against New York City.
Only in Sunday's final against Western did Central stumble, as a nightmarish first half ended with Central down 48-18 on the way to an 88-65 defeat. Croll still came up with 13 points for the second game in a row as Kemp added a field goal of his own.