LAKE PLACID - Both long track and short track speed skating were featured in this year's Empire State Winter Games.
In the past, only short track speed skating was part of the Games, before event organizers decided to include long track to the sport roster. Gretchen Burns of Syracuse, who is the Northern New York Speed Skating Association President, organized both disciplines. The events were held at separate times, so skaters had the option of competing in both disciplines.
Jennifer Okonuk of the Lake Placid Speed Skating Club competed in both long and short track. She placed first in the 1,000-meter long race.
Empire State Winer Games open women's 100-meter medalists, from left, Carole Moore, Emily Elbers and Julie Gehring pose for a picture next to the Speed Skating Oval in Lake Placid.
"Empire State Games is a great experience for people of all ages," Okonuk said. "I hope that there will be more race distances eventually, but kudos to the race organizers for bringing long track speed skating to the Games."
Unlike Olympic-style racing where skaters race in pairs, this weekend's long track event was pack-style, meaning that skaters were grouped according to age category to race in groups.
In the 100-meter final Saturday, participants raced one quarter of the 400-meter track. In the pre-scholastic girls category, the gold medalist was Clara Lemal-Brown of Hamilton. Kevin Metz of Syracuse won the pre-scholastic boys.
The scholastic women's champion was Esther Munoz of Lake Placid, and Adam Horeth of Rochester was the scholastic men's winner. In the open women's category, Jennifer Okonuk of Middlebury captured the gold medal while Patrick Kelly of Lake Placid won the open men.
Sydney Terpening of Syracuse won the 300-meter final race in pre-scholastic girls, while Albert Zhong of Saratoga Springs was the gold medalist in pre-scholastic boys.
In the scholastic women's category, Munoz earned the gold medal in the 800-meter final, while Alex Zamojski of Syracuse placed first in the scholastic men's category.
The last race was the 1,000-meter race, which was the longest distance at two-and-a-half laps. The open women's winner was Emily Elbers of Syracuse and Kelly was the open men's champion.