Jul 11, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
A year ago, the Empire State Games went on hiatus, and questions about the massive event’s future after a three-decade run were everywhere.
But they are back now, starting with the July 21 opening ceremony at University at Buffalo Stadium. Over the ensuing four days in Buffalo and other parts of Western New York, thousands of athletes from six regions (Central, Western, Adirondack, Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island) will battle for medals in more than 20 sports.
That includes a large contingent of local stars. Here is who will be going:
Lacrosse – Not long after winning the 2010 state Class B championship at Jamesville-DeWitt, midfielders Tim Edwards and Alex Hatem, plus goalie Dan DiStefano, play for the Central scholastic men’s team at Canisius College alongside Fayetteville-Manlius attacker Ari Waffle and Matt Kopp.
Up at Niagara University, where the women’s lacrosse tournament will be held, two CBA stars, Taylor Gait and Caroline Webster, join F-M’s Mollie Caputo and East Syracuse-Minoa goalie Katie Cook for Central.
Basketball – In the open men’s tournament at Canisius College, two local stars, Nick Pascale (J-D) and Brian Zapisek (F-M), join the Central side, while at Niagara University J-D’s Brittany Cohen (who stars at OCC) is in the open women’s tournament. East Syracuse-Minoa’s Olivia Luciani made it to the Central scholastic women’s squad.
Fencing – Jamesville’s Lubomir Kalpatchiev and DeWitt’s Beth Kogut both are in open sabre competition at Niagara Falls High School, while Manlius natives Jeff Kelish and Leann Thayaparan both are part of the scholastic epee events.
Gymnastics – In scholastic competition at Buffalo State College, McKinley Gray (Jamesville), Taylor Riley (DeWitt) and Chloe Weiss (Manlius) all are part of the Central women’s side, with D’Angelo Santiago (East Syracuse), Nick Abdo and Jacob Seletsky (both Jamesville) on the Central men’s team.
Soccer – CBA’s Caitlin McConnell led her team to the state Class AA final last fall, and now will lead the Central scholastic women’s side at Amherst North French Soccer Complex, joined by F-M’s Bri Dolan as Ken Chapman works on the scholastic side. Cassie Guerra and goalie Danielle Kennedy both made it to the Central open women’s side.
Swimming – On a talented Central scholastic men’s team headed for Erie Community College’s Burt Flickinger Center (a site of several state swimming championships), F-M’s Ryan Kelley and Kevin Koh join J-D’s Eric Jorgensen and CBA’s Cole Speidel. The Central women’s team includes CBA’s Zoe McCauley and Ruthie Speidel, with Speidel set to race three times in the 400, 800 and 1,500 freestyle.
Track and Field – Competing at UB Stadium, J-D’s Ameena Dye will run in the scholastic women’s 1,500-meter run, while Bishop Grimes’ Samantha Schaefer is entered in the seven-event heptathlon. ESM’s Mike Coogan is running in both the 5,000 and 10,000-meter events, while Colin Anderson (discus) and Zach Cullen (long jump) are part of open competition.
Softball – Sarah Reed, holder of every J-D pitching record after several championship seasons plus a strong stint at LeMoyne College, will again lead the Central open team at Amherst Audubon.
Wrestling – In the ESG meet at Buffalo State Ice Arena, ESM’s Alex Moss is entered in scholastic competition, while one-time Spartan standout Matt Letcher is favored for medals on the open side.
Ice Hockey – Two natives of Manlius — Cindy McKee on the women’s side, Will Kent on the men’s side — both have made it to the Central scholastic teams that will play at the Amherst-Audubon Ice Facility.
Tennis – Sienna Susko, just the latest key contributor in F-M building a long win streak and dominating local Section III tennis, will play singles at UB’s Ellicott Courts.
Volleyball – Two F-M graduates — Mike Doolittle and Jamie McMullen — are on the men’s and women’s Central open teams that will hit the court at UB’s Alumni Arena.