Jul 29, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Many top athletes from Cicero, North Syracuse and Clay found themselves battling for medals during the 31st Empire State Games — and often winning those battles.
In two cases, Central region teams arrived home from Binghamton and the Southern Tier with gold medals, a big improvement from the fact that just one Central squad did so in the previous three editions of the ESG.
Here is a summary of how local athletes fared as thousands of competitors from six geographic regions (Central, Western, Adirondack, Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island) got together.
Domenico Vitle, who starred for the Cicero-North Syracuse soccer team, and Bogdan Yatsishin played with the Central open men’s team (coached by Cicero’s Dan Kincaid) at SUNY-Binghamton that took home a gold.
Never tasting defeat, Central beat Western 4-1 in its opener, then rallied past Hudson Valley 3-1 and blanked Long Island 1-0 to reach the finals. Against New York City in Sunday’s title game, Central pitched another shutout, prevailing 2-0 to finish on top.
Elsewhere in soccer, current CNS star Shane Hachey saw his Central scholastic men lose the bronze-medal game to 2-1, while Meg Turley and her Central open women did not win a match in three outings.
As Central broke Western’s long reign as scholastic men’s champions at Broome County Community College, CNS standout Aaron Hildreth played a starring role.
Hildreth assisted on Central’s first goal of the tournament in Thursday’s 4-2 win over Long Island, then assisted on both goals Saturday morning as Central edged past Hudson Valley 2-1. Having clinched the gold Saturday night, Central still finished a 5-0 run by beating Western 3-2 on Sunday, with Hildreth gaining his fourth assist of the tournament.
Paige Labenski, a native of North Syracuse, played with the Central scholastic women’s team, which managed just one tie in five outings.
Already a star with the CNS girls varsity team as an eighth-grader, 6-footer Breanna Stewart helped the Central scholastic women’s team claim a silver medal at Binghamton High School.
Stewart picked up eight points against Long Island, four points against Western and six points against Hudson Valley as Central went 2-1 to make its way to Sunday’s final, a rematch with Hudson Valley. Though Central lost 67-62 in overtime, Stewart had her best game of the tournament, picking up 12 points.
CNS varsity girls coach Brooke Branoff led a Central scholastic women’s team that included two of her players, goalie Alex Gale and midfielder Ashley Waldron. Together, they would help Central win the bronze medal at Alumni Stadium near Binghamton Middle School.
In round-robin play, Central went 3-2, losing one-goal decisions to Western (in overtime) and Long Island, before rallying to beat Hudson Valley 9-6 in the third-place game. Overall, Waldron had three goals in the tournament as Gale shared net duties with Liverpool’s Mikey Meagher.
Track and Field
In the ESG meet at SUNY-Binghamton, Gina Campagna took the bronze medal in the open women’s heptathlon, piling up 3,424 points to get on the podium. Fellow CNS grad Marsha Fiesinger was sixth, with 2,904 points.
Jasmine Thompson competed twice on the scholastic women’s side, taking sixth in both the 100-meter high hurdles (15.79 seconds) and triple jump, where she went 10.74 meters. Valerie Langevin got sixth place in the discus with a toss of 32.21 meters. Shaun Hyde, unable to make the open men’s 400-meter final, was sixth with Central’s 4×400 relay team in 3:31.35.
In scholastic women’s competition at SUNY-Binghamton’s West Gym, CNS star Ericka Ruffrage finished ninth, earning 257.30 points. Andrea Krok (Adirondack) won with 350.75 points.
Matt Schad, who hails from Mattydale, came up with an eighth-place finish in the three-position rifle at Binghamton Rifle Club, accumulating a score of 1,012, as Tom Hevelston (Adirondack) won with 1,187.
At SUNY-Cortland’s Park Center, Bridget Festa swam in the open (age 16 and over) women’s division, finishing sixth in the 200-meter breaststroke (3:03.95) and seventh in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:24.92. Nicole Blidy, on the scholastic (age 15 and under) side, was 12th in the 100 freestyle and 15th in the 200 freestyle.
Jason Hays played open men’s volleyball with Central at SUNY-Cortland. Mark Barbato, Mike Freytag, Glen Miles, Tyler Smith and Alec Weber each saw action in the scholastic division, but neither Central men’s team would earn a medal.
Todd Hagger was CNS’s lone representative on the Central scholastic team that wrestled at SUNY-Binghamton’s West Gym. At 154 pounds in the freestyle discipline, Hagger was unable to reach the medal round.