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CSG Torch Run Route Set, State Champion Bearcats to Run Opening Mile

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

The route is set and registration is open for the 2012 Cornhusker State Games Torch Run.

The Scottsbluff High School Boys Basketball Team, which a few weeks ago won a state championship for the first time in 57 years, will participate as honorary first runners.

The Torch Run, which is sponsored by the Nebraska National Guard, begins June 6 on Highway 26 west of Morrill in the panhandle and covers more than 1,100 miles of Nebraska highways before arriving in Lincoln to a homecoming celebration at Haymarket Park on June 29. Local observances are being planned in more than 20 of the 90 communities along the route.

Local runners are invited to carry the Torch at no charge, and each runner receives a free Torch Run shirt. Runners are allowed and encouraged to use their run as a fundraiser for their favorite local charity and the CSG Adopt An Athlete program. Groups running as a fundraiser can register their charity and reserve blocks of miles by emailing or calling 402-471-2544.

For the first time in its history, the Torch Run route will include six stops on the list of Nebraska Passport locations. The Nebraska Passport program, sponsored by the Nebraska Division of Travel and Tourism, provides incentives for people to visit up to 80 visitor attractions across Nebraska. Passport locations on the Torch Run route include: the Petrified Wood Gallery & Art Center in Ogallala, Heritage Hills Golf Course in McCook, NebraskaLand Days in North Platte, Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer in Grand Island, the Pawnee Plunge Water Park in Columbus and Platte River State Park near Louisville.

The basketball Bearcats, led by fourth-year head coach Tony Siske, completed an improbable run to the Class B state title by upsetting the top-ranked and defending champion South Sioux City Cardinals in the final game. Just a night prior, the Bearcats had upended the second-ranked Beatrice Orange in a thrilling come-from-behind 3-point win. Senior Zach Clemens and junior Michael Hadden were both named to the all-tournament team for Scottsbluff, which hadn’t won a state basketball championship since 1955.

“We’re proud to honor Coach Siske and his team. They came the farthest and accomplished the most. Their championship epitomized the value of hard work and the impact that a sports team can have on a community,” Nebraska Sports Council Executive Director Dave Mlnarik said.

The Torch Run, in the tradition of the Olympic Games, serves as an awareness mechanism for the 28th annual Cornhusker State Games, which take place July 20-29 and feature competition in more than 60 sports for an expected 12,000 athletes of all ages and abilities.

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