Adirondack teams strike gold at Empire Games

The Adirondack region had one of its best medal hauls at last weekend's Empire State Games in Binghamton.

Adirondack was third in the medal count with 165 and was tied for second with Long Island for the most gold medals (66). Western was the top region with 222 medals including 79 gold medals, while Long Island was second with 200 medals.

Several Adirondack teams claimed medals including gold medals for the open women's basketball team, the open women's softball team, the masters women's volleyball team and the masters men's rugby team. The scholastic men's baseball team, the scholastic women's hockey team, the scholastic women's soccer team and the masters women's rugby team earned silver medals, while bronze medals went to Adirondack's open women's soccer and scholastic men's volleyball squads.

The open women's basketball team earned its first gold medal in seven years by beating Western 70-57 in Sunday's championship game. The Siena College duo of Melissa Manzer and Shondaya Burrell a Colonie Central High School graduate led the way for Adirondack. Manzer finished with a game high 27 points, while Burrell contributed 14 points.

The masters men's rugby team defeated Central 19-12 in Saturday's gold medal game to win its second consecutive title. Adirondack defeated Central by the same score in its first meeting Friday on its way to a 6-0 record.

The masters women's rugby team was hoping to also return home with a gold medal, but Western edged Adirondack 15-10 in the final game. Adirondack defeated Western 10-7 in an earlier match.

At least the masters women's rugby team played its gold medal game. The scholastic men's baseball medal games were rained out. Hudson Valley was awarded the gold medal by virtue of its higher seed after round robin play, while Adirondack received the silver medal.

Adirondack's open women's softball team had better luck with the weather and the competition. Adirondack breezed through round robin play with a 4-1 record and then knocked off Western 7-4 in Saturday's gold medal game. Shenendehowa High School graduate Michelle Connors drove in two runs with a pair of hits to lead Adirondack's offense, while fellow Shen grads Amanda Ferro and Jennifer Granato each scored a run.

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