Empire State Games: Queens racks up medal at Empire State Games

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For a second straight year, the Illescas sisters from East Elmhurst dominated the pool at the 2001 Empire State Games in Utica, combining for seven medals.

Andrea Illescas, a senior at The Mary Louis Academy, captured four silver medals after winning gold in the 200-meter freestyle and the 200-meter butterfly last year in Binghamton. She was edged out in the 200 butterfly by Adirondack’s Jen Eberst, who broke a six-year Empire State Games record with a time of 2:22.63.

Illescas also finished second in the 200 freestyle (2:10.02), .19 seconds off the lead and her time of 1:04.71 was .07 seconds away from a gold medal. She also anchored the silver-medal winning 800 freestyle relay (9:19.72), which also featured Forest Hills resident Kasia Sawicz.

Andrea’s younger sister Jennifer Illescas captured the gold in the scholastic women’s 100 freestyle (1:00.16) and the 200 butterfly (2:29.41). She also anchored the gold-medal winning 800 freestyle (9:06.74), was on the 400 medley side, which took the silver medal and the bronze-winning 800 freestyle relay.

At last year’s Games, Jennifer captured the silver medal in the 100 butterfly and won a bronze in the 800-meter medley relay.

On the men’s side, College Point’s Russell Mark took the silver medal in the open 200-meter breaststroke and was part of the gold-medal winning 400 medley relay. Breezy Point’s Kurt Cedo captured the bronze medal in the 200-meter freestyle and the 100 backstroke and swam the second leg of the gold medal-winning 800 freestyle relay.


Moneaque Blackwood of Glendale, who captured two gold medals and two silver medals in last year’s Games, had a repeat performance by winning the gold in the 110-meter hurdles and was part of the open women’s 4x400 relay team, along with Fresh Meadows’ Olive Smart, Laurelton resident Nathaai Maxwell and Sharmain Marshall from Brooklyn.

Blackwood, Maxwell, Marshall and Nadine George from Rosedale, captured the silver medal in the 4x100 relay. Blackwood, who went to Richmond Hill High School, took the silver in the 400-meter hurdles.

George repeated as the bronze medal winner in the open women’s long jump.

Queens Village resident Loretta Schuellein again took the gold in the women’s open 5K racewalk. Li Mei Tan from Queens won the silver in the women’s scholastic 5k racewalk.

Also on the women’s side, Shellean Fyffe was part of the bronze medal-winning scholastic 4x400 relay side.

It was also the same cast of characters on the men’s side, as Bellerose resident Ed Hausdorf, who competes at St. John’s University, won the bronze in the open men’s javelin. Richard Jones, from Jamaica, won the silver medal in the open men’s 400-meter dash and was part of the gold medal-winning open 4x400 relay team.

Cale Brereton, from Cambria Heights, joined Jameil Delecia, Sanchez Ross and Dakel Vicks, from Brooklyn, to win the bronze medal in the scholastic men’s 4X100 relay.


Luis Pena, Jr. and Julian Bednarek again dominated for the New York City squad as the Queens residents combined to win seven medals in the canoe/kayak competition.

Pena. from Elmhurst won the gold medal in the open men’s kayak single 500-meter and also placed first, along with Ridgewood’s Jakub Koscinski, in the men’s kayak quad 200-meter. Pena and Vytautas Rudzinskas from Manhattan took the gold in the men’s kayak pair 200-meter.

Pena finished behind Rudzinskas in the open men’s kayak single 200-meter to take the bronze.

Bednarek, from Forest Hills, won the bronze in the canoe single 500-meter, took the silver in the canoe single 200-meter and, along with Dongzi Cao, captured the canoe pair 500-meter.


College Point resident Liz Kotler took the gold medal in the women’s uneven bars and the silver in the women’s vault. Long Island City native Travol Williams won the silver in the open men’s vault and helped lead the men’s team to a third place finish.


Queens resident Omar Attia won two medals, taking the silver with fellow Queens residents Jonathan Fornuff and Colin Sheehan, as well as Marc Eskenazi and Michael Silverman, in the open men’s junior four in the cox competition. Attia teamed with Queens residents Karl Korfmann, Jon Masi and Joe Valentine, as well as Larry Muri from the Bronx, to win the men’s open four, also in cox.

In the women’s junior double, Sarah Purvis, from Whitestone, teamed with fellow Queens resident Anna Karwowska to take the bronze medal.


Queens resident Cliff Medina took home two wrestling medals, winning the silver in the open men’s 58KG (128 lbs) greco-roman and took the bronze in the 58KG (128 lbs) freestyle.

Guy Codio, also from Queens, won the open men’s 54KG (119 lbs) greco-roman bronze and Astoria resident Junichir Maikuma finished third in the 76KG (167 lbs) greco-roman.


Queens resident Rolando Balboa repeated his 2000 Empire State Games performance by winning the silver medal in the open men’s foil, as he fell to New York City teammate John Gonzalez in the gold medal match.

Whitestone native Willy Chang took third in the scholastic men’s foil.


Flushing’s Joe Yu shattered an 18-year-old weightlifting record in the flyweight (123.25 pounds) division when he totalled 462.96 pounds in the combined snatch and clean-and-jerk lifts. The 28-year-old who emigrated from China five months ago, eclipsed the 418.87-pound mark of Freeport’s Juan Castillo.

Vadim Savchuk took the silver in the open men’s lightweight (169.75 lbs) division.


Woodhaven resident John Czech again took the silver medal in the men’s scholastic all-around competition.


Forest Hills resident and Cardozo senior Jill Markowitz won the gold medal in scholastic women’s tennis in first singles as her team, which also featured Jamaica resident Alison Adamski, Flushing’s Ellen Anolin and Lisa Vulin and Iris Liang, from Bayside, took the silver medal for the seventh straight year.


Queens Village native Kevin Colucci and Collin Henry, from Elmhurst, were on the New York City open men’s volleyball team that won the bronze medal after defeating Western, 20-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-22, 25-22.

The open women’s team, with Bellerose native and St. John’s coach Joanne Persico-Smith, Flushing’s Bina Chen and Dana Fiume, Bellerose resident Hanka Mosenzhnik, Dina Powis, from Forest Hills, and former St. John’s standouts Lynn Klein and Olga Roudovski, won its seventh straight gold medal by defeating Central 20-25, 25-19, 28-30, 25-19, 25-7.


Frankie Bagi, a Whitestone account, won his second straight Empire State silver medal in the men’s welterweight (147 lbs) division.


Bellerose’s Ian Lang won his third straight gold medal, teaming with Staten Island’s Dan Dunleavy and Peter Radioli from Brooklyn, winning the open men’s trio.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

Posted 7:17 pm, October 10, 2011
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