Empire State Games Legacy Fund Presents Inaugural Scholarships

September 27, 2013 Updated Jul 19, 2011 at 5:36 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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During a ceremony on Tuesday, July 19 at Erie Community College’s Flickinger Center, the Empire State Games Legacy Fund Scholarship Committee awarded $2,500 scholarships to a pair of student athletes: Zachary Thomas (third from left) and Rachel NeMoyer (represented by her mother, Elyse NeMoyer, center). Also pictured are, from left to right, Michael Even, Visit Buffalo Niagara vice president of sales; Jay Josker, Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission sports services manager; Ralph Galanti, Empire State Games Local Organizing Committee chair; Leo Kaminsky, Empire State Games Legacy Fund Scholarship Committee chair; and Pete Harvey, Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission director of sport development.

September 27, 2013 Updated Jul 19, 2011 at 5:36 PM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- The Empire State Games Legacy Fund Scholarship Committee on Tuesday awarded scholarships to a pair of area student-athletes.

Rachel NeMoyer and Zachary Thomas each received $2,500 scholarships from the organization.

NeMoyer is a graduate student at the State University of New York at Buffalo. A native of Orchard Park, NeMoyer returned to Buffalo after completing her undergraduate degree at Penn State University.

She won the gold medal in the women’s pole vault at the 2010 ESG and continued her success with the Penn State track and field team. She is now studying medicine at UB and she expects to graduate in May 2014.

Thomas is a recent graduate of West Seneca West Senior High School. He was highly involved in extra-curricular activities, received high honors, and he participated at the 2010 ESG as a member of the Western Region Scholastic soccer team.

Thomas will be attending Canisius College to major in accounting.

“It was a privilege for the Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission to assist in hosting the 2010 Empire State Games. We had many gifted athletes come to our community to compete,” said Jon Dandes, chair of the Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission. “Zachary and Rachel are tremendously deserving of the inaugural Empire State Games Legacy Scholarship – their excellence on the field and in the classroom truly embodies the spirit of the games.”

In July 2010, Buffalo hosted the Empire State Games, an Olympic-style competition for New York State’s top amateur athletes.

The Buffalo games were so successful that they generated excess revenue, totaling $126,000, which is being reinvested in the community by the body that coordinated the games, the Empire State Games Local Organizing Committee. The largest portion of the funds ($110,000) was distributed to the Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission, a subsidiary of Visit Buffalo Niagara. The BNSC will be using $50,000 of the funds for student scholarships.

Beginning Tuesday and extending over the course of ten years, the BNSC will award annual college tuition scholarships of $2,500 to two Western New York ESG athletes (one male and one female).

“The Empire State Games Local Organizing Committee worked hard to make the games a success in Buffalo in 2010 and we are very grateful for the generosity of First Niagara Financial Group and the Western New York business community,” said Ralph Galanti, chair of the Empire State Games Local Organizing Committee. “We’re very excited to pass on this legacy to two outstanding young student athletes, and wish them the very best in the future."