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B'ville athletes find gold at Empire Games

A large and talented contingent of Baldwinsville-area athletes were ready for last week's revival of the Empire State Games in Buffalo -- and many of them earned medals.

Thousands from six regions -- Central, Western, Adirondack, Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island -- competed in more than 20 sports across the Buffalo area, battling each other and, in some cases, bad weather. Here is how Baldwinsville's athletes fared.

Swimming - Dan Burke came home as one of the Central region's most decorated athletes, with a gold and two silver medals in individual races at Erie Community College's Burt Flickinger Center.

The win came on Saturday, in the 200-meter backstroke, where Burke posted a time of 2:19.16 to beat the field by more than three seconds. This followed second-place finishes in the 200 individual medley (2:20.88) and 100 backstroke (1:04.56), both of which led to silver medals.

Canoe/Kayak - Mike Wolfson reached the top of the medal podium at the University at Buffalo's LaSalle Lake when he teamed with Tim Davis (Skaneateles Falls), Jon Gilbert (Oswego) and Andrew Smith (Ithaca) to win the 500-meter quads in a time of 1:43.59, more than 10 seconds ahead of runner-up Western.

Wolfson and Smith combined for a bronze medal in the 200-meter pairs (48.39 seconds) and, with Davis, claimed another bronze in the 500-meter pairs in 2:02.64.

Baseball - Having just finished a sensational freshman season for the Baldwinsville varsity baseball team, Gabe Levanti was a vital part of Central's scholastic silver medal-winning team.

As both a catcher and designated hitter, Levanti helped Central overcome an 0-2 start with three straight wins. As it turned out, a 2-1, eight-inning triumph over Western produced the silver because heavy rains and bad field conditions at Auburn's Audubon Complex prevented Central from facing Long Island for the title.

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