LINCOLN, Neb.-- Omahan Caleb Smidt, 32, was the overall winner of the Cornhusker State Games Triathlon Sunday at Holmes Lake Park in Lincoln in a time of 1:00:04.
Smidt, homeless and addicted to drugs in his early 20s, turned his life around and has become a force on the regional triathlon scene. He was personally invited to compete by Games Executive Director Dave Mlnarik.
“I enjoyed the story on Caleb in the paper a few months ago, so I tracked him down to let him know I was proud of him and told him he ought to compete in the CSG Tri,” Mlnarik said.
The next two overall finishers in the triathlon were Lincolnites Kevin Burke, 50, and his son Noah, 18, who won his age group but lost the family race by just six seconds. Mary Amen, 50, also of Lincoln, was the top overall female with a time of 1:09:52.
The Games concluded Sunday, with action in 14 sports, including bass fishing at Lake Wanahoo, where the team of Rick Sitzman and Jim Kelly, both from Lincoln, won the Gold by just .05 of a pound over David Maxon of Lincoln and Mark Jordan from Beatrice. There were 49 teams overall, up nine from 2013, when the sport moved to Wanahoo.
Pickleball grew by 16 competitors to its new record of 68 participants, including several from out of state looking to qualify for next year’s State Games of America but lacking a qualifying event in their own Games. At least two out-of-staters did qualify, as the doubles team of Christopher Thomas, 68, of Palm Desert, and Roger Workman, 65, of Houston won the gold in men’s 60 & over doubles. Pickleball was held at Mircale Hill Tennis Complex in Omaha.
Tim Frentz of Grand Island scored two gold medals in Electronic Darts, one with his team of JR Spencer, Zach Smyser and Meredith Spencer, all from Kearney, and the other in the adult singles division.
Mlnarik said the total participant count of 13,446, an increase of more than 1,100 over 2013, is the highest since 2001. Baseball was the largest sport with 2,080 athletes followed by soccer (1,152), volleyball (984), softball (943) and basketball (878). The largest individual-entry events were track & field (688), walk events (549), swimming (449), Energy 5K run (340) and triathlon (301).
Medal results are available—and sortable by city, county, sport and name at CornhuskerStateGames.com. Photos and other competition highlights can be found on the Cornhusker State Games Facebook page.
Next year, the Cornhusker State Games gives way to the State Games of America on July 28-Aug. 2. Officials expect more than 6,000 participants from outside Nebraska, who’ve qualified by winning a medal in their local State Games, will join an estimated 13,000 Nebraskans, who do not have to qualify to participate, in what will likely be the largest SGA in the biennial event’s 16-year history.
The Cornhusker State Games is conducted by the Nebraska Sports Council, a non-profit organization whose platinum partners include BlueCross BlueShield of Nebraska, Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center and Nebraska Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine.
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View photos from past Opening Ceremonies on the Cornhusker State Games Facebook page or follow them on Twitter.