Empire State Championship gives track athletes a new summer meet

"I was very disappointed about the Empire State Games eliminating the masters division," said Collins-Finn, who competed in the 10,000- and 5,000-meter races at the Empire State Championship. "I wrote one of those letters that wound up going to the governor expressing my disappointment."

"We understood the state of the economy and our roles in the Games ... but we were very disappointed that they decided to cut our division," said Zach Gobel of Ballston Spa, another veteran masters division competitor.

Despite not having the Empire State Games to compete against, turnout for the inaugural Empire State Championship was lighter than hoped for.

"We were a bit disappointed in the turnout, but the competition has been good," said Schenectady's Chris Rush, president of the United States Association of Track and Field's Adirondack chapter.

Still, the athletes that competed at the Empire State Championship were glad to have a meet to go to on the last weekend in July.

"I would have loved to have been [at the Empire State Games]," said Scotia-Glenville track star Tim Holzhauer, who competed in the decathlon. "I would have loved to have gone there just for the competition. But, this is a good meet."

"I think it's a great start," said Gobel. "I know Anthony [Mills] did a lot to get this pulled together, and I think it can grow into something else.""

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