By Rob Potter
SYRACUSE August 16, 2002 Looking back, Monticellos Meghan Garry is glad that she participated in the recent Empire State Games (ESG) in Syracuse.
After being strongly encouraged to compete in 25th annual ESG competition by her father, Monticello Central School Athletic Director Ken Garry, and Bob Decker, a volunteer coach for the Monticello track team, Meghan decided to travel to Syracuse and compete in the womens scholastic javelin event.
The trip upstate was well worth it as she won the gold medal in that competition. Her sixth and final throw of 102 ft., 8 inches was the best in the class. Garrys attempt beat the attempt of fellow Hudson Valley competitor Ashley OConnor of Carmel by three inches.
Garry, 17, was fourth in the standings before her winning throw.
It was a huge surprise, she said. I definitely did not plan on it.
She noted that Decker, who began guiding the Monticello track team about halfway through this past spring season, was a big help. She noted that throwing the javelin is so technical and that Decker helped her refine her throwing everything from proper steps with her feet to the way to hold the javelin.
I feel like he helped so much and that I kind of owed it to him (to compete), Garry said. It takes a lot of little things to get it right.
She noted that it was nice to share her winning experience with her family and be the star of the week.
Garry, who also plays varsity soccer at Monticello, will be starting her senior year in three weeks. She would like to be in the javelin competition at the 2003 Empire State Games, when she would be competing in the womens open division instead of the womens scholastic division.
For now, however, Garry is savoring her 2002 ESG performance.
Its a great experience, she said. Im just so happy.
Garry was one of several local athletes to bring home at least one medal from the recent ESG event, which was the 25th annual competition for athletes hailing from all corners of New York State.
Carrie Gorton of Roscoe won gold in the open womens javelin competition. Her winning throw of 142 ft., 6 inches beat the second place finshers throw by more than 40 ft. Gorton, who has participated in 16 ESG competitions, has won a total of 15 medals. In 1996, she set the record in open womens javelin toss with a throw of 166 ft., 5 inches.
TriValley track standout Heather Iatauro captured a gold medal in the scholastic womens 5,000-meter run.
Chad Washington of Monticello won three medals in Syracuse. He won bronze medals in the open mens triple jump, open mens 1,600 track relay and the open mens 400 track relay.
Claudia Waterton of Monticello won a bronze medal in the open womens heptathlon.
A host of other county athletes also competed in the 25th Empire State Games. They included: Allison Benson of Monticello (open women pole vault), Kyle Fried of Rock Hill (scholastic men freestyle wrestling), Kimberly Gargano of Bloomingburg (open women volleyball), Michael Gorton of Wurtsboro (open men pole vault), Russ Hodge of Roscoe (masters men hammer and discus), Robert Jahrling of Wurtsboro (open men decathlon), Merton Lockhart of Grahamsville (javelin and discus; 50 free, 100 free, 200 free and 400 free swimming), Matt Manzi of Parksville (scholastic men 1,500), David Meade of Bloomingburg (open men running target shooting), Shannon Meland of Bloomingburg (masters women volleyball), Anthony Ng of Monticello (scholastic men freestyle wrestling), Joseph Sanders of Bloomingburg (open men freestyle wrestling), Kelsey Ward of Bloomingburg (1-meter and 3-meter diving).
In addition, a handful of county residents served as coaches at the games. They were Joe Carpenter and Crisseda Carpenter of Bloomingburg, Joe Iatauro and Missy Iatauro of Grahamsville and Hazel Yaun of Liberty.