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CNY athletes take home gold, silver at Empire State Winter Games

Three men stand on podiums, next to flags, with snowy woods in the distance behind them
Matt Hofmann
Michael Montegari (far left) won silver in his luge division at the 44th Empire State Winter Games

The 44th Empire State Winter Games came to a close Sunday in Lake Placid, and Central New York was not without its winners.

From Syracuse, siblings Nagi (15) and Saurar (10) Aitbayeva won gold in their respective long-track speed skating divisions, while 14-year-old Gavin Cericola came in second in his short-track speed skating event.

In the luge, 14-year-old Remsen native Michael Montegari placed second in his Youth A division on Saturday, also clocking the best time among his USA Olympic Developmental Team members, many of whom had their personal bests.

"I think it was just good ice,” Montegari said, adding that it was "fast" and "hard."

Other local standouts include synchronized skaters Syracuse Symmetry, whose pre-juvenile team won its event.

“This is always the competition everyone looks forward to," said Syracuse Symmetry skater Sofia Beck (17). "It’s like a youth winter Olympics, for all of New York State, and I know I go and watch some of the other sports, it’s just a great way to build community."

This year’s Empire State Winter Games featured over 2,500 athletes competing in 22 different events throughout the weekend.

Nate Harrington is a student reporter for WAER.