Evangelista, Spernyak both win at Empire Games

Local athletes in many different sports brought medals home from last week's Empire State Games in Buffalo as the annual summer festival returned from a one-year absence.

The ESG brought thousands from six regions (Central, Western, Adirondack, Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island) to the Western New York area to compete in more than 20 sports. Here is a summary of the local athletes' efforts.

Swimming - Few did better than Liverpool girls swimmer Becky Evangelista, who had two gold and one silver medal in three individual races at Erie Community College's Burt Flickinger Center.

Evangelista began her work Thursday by claiming the 200-meter individual medley in a time of 2:32.77, edging Marissa Watroba (Western) by half a second. Then she won Friday's 400 IM in 5:29.47, beating the field by more than six seconds, before getting a silver in the 100 freestyle (1:01.91). She also got silvers in the 4x200 and 4x100 freestyle relays.

Also among local swimmers, Zoe McCauley gained a bronze in the 200 freestyle, was fourth in the 400 freestyle and joined Evangelista for the 4x200 silver. Shane Donovan was fourth in the men's 400 IM as Madison Sestak and Nick Burdo swam, too.

Billy Werksman was fifth in the scholastic men's one-meter diving event at University at Buffalo's Alumni and sixth in the three-meter event, with Stacie DeCarr sixth in the women's three-meter springboard.

Track and Field - In the scholastic men's 110-meter high hurdles at University at Buffalo Stadium, Joe Spernyak earned the gold medal in a time of 16.32 seconds, edging Western's Charley Kenyon (16.52 seconds) for the top spot on the podium.

Meanwhile, Cicero-North Syracuse's Jasmine Thompson earned the silver medal in the scholastic women's heptathlon, earning 3,579 points in seven events as Clay's Samantha Schaefer finished eighth.

Fred Shattell won the silver in the open men's 10,000-meter run in 33:16.73 as Dan Fritz got fifth in the open men's 3,000-meter steeplechase and Daniel Ver finished seventh. Tatiana Gladney took seventh place in the scholastic women's shot put and Kyle Dudzinski was eighth in the open men's javelin.

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