Seketa, Elias both win gold at Empire State Games

In many different venues, and with many different methods, local athletes displayed winning form during the 31st edition of the Empire State Games in Binghamton and other parts of the Southern Tier.

As thousands of competitors from six geographic regions (Central, Western, Adirondack, Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island) vied for medals in more than two dozen sports, many local stars came up golden. Here is a summary of how they fared.


Two West Genesee teammates, Ben Seketa and Carson Elias, combined for three gold medals in scholastic (15 and under) races at SUNY-Cortland.

Seketa won twice, starting Thursday with the 100-meter breaststroke, where he prevailed in a time of 1:11.13, and moving on Friday to win the 200 breaststroke in 2:33.10, beating the field by more than three seconds. He also got a silver medal in the 400 freestyle in 4:22.43, missing out on a third gold by just 0.13 seconds.

As for Elias, he earned his victory in the 100 butterfly, zooming through it in 1:02.28 after taking a bronze (behind Seketa) in the 200 breaststroke. He also joined Seketa to earn a bronze in the 4x100 medley relay.

Another WG swimmer, Connor Agen, gained a bronze medal in the 800 freestyle in 9:27.93. On the open (16 and over) side, Liz Neddo (Westhill/Corcoran) claimed a bronze in the 4x200 freestyle relay and was fourth in the 800 freestyle, while Patrick O'Donnell finished fourth in the open men's 100 backstroke. WG's Kim Pedrotti swam to fourth place in the scholastic women's 1,500 freestyle as her older sister, Kristen, competed on the open side.

Ice Hockey

As Western's long hold on the scholastic men's division broke at Broome County Community College, Central worked its way to the top, going 5-0 to earn the gold medal.

WG teammates Erich Haney (at right wing) and Ryan Michel (on defense) both played key roles as Central beat Long Island 4-2, blanked Adirondack 4-0, edged Hudson Valley 2-1, topped New York City 4-1 and used a late goal to beat Western 3-2 Sunday and complete its sweep.

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