A Busy Saturday To Start Cornhusker State Games

Lincoln—Below-normal July temperatures made for a smooth day of competition Saturday in more than 40 sports at the 30th annual Cornhusker State Games. Open-water swimming director Sue Nutty said the competitors swimming their way around the 5k course in Holmes Lake were probably warmer than the volunteers, many of whom donned jackets while providing support in kayaks along the course.

Chess prodigy Jacey Tran of Lincoln won the juniors division gold medal for the second straight year despite being just nine years old and one of only two girls in the competition. Chess Director Mike Gooch called Tran a rock star and said she will represent Nebraska again in the national youth championships later this year. Chess resumes Sunday at Southeast Community College.

The girls were also hanging tough in ice hockey with the Lincoln Lady Stars finishing pool play in position to compete for the gold medal on Sunday. Hockey grew by 67 athletes over its debut last year. Competition for the 417 players resumes Sunday at Ralston Arena and McLean Arena in Omaha.

The team of Micah Kohles and Travis Buel earned the overall gold and blistered the adventure race course at Wagon Train Lake in one hour and 33 minutes. But the last-place team known as the Scrambled Legs stole the show finishing to cheers from the other 45 competitors in three hours and 44 minutes.

Dawson County was very well-represented in the baseball tournament with teams from Gothenburg, Cozad and Lexington competing. Baseball took over as the largest sport in the Games with 2,081 total participants thanks in large part to the inclusion of more than 1,500 players from Lincoln’s Junior Saltdogs League. On the heels of the World Cup, soccer grew by 91 athletes to 1,152 total, while basketball dropped from 124 to 120 teams. Officials speculated the drop was due in large part to local athletes switching to baseball to take advantage of the Junior Saltdogs partnership. All three sports will resume with bracket play for medals Sunday.

Overall participation stands at 12,967, the highest total since 2001 with several sports still open for registration. Competition resumes in 28 sports Sunday at venues in Lincoln, Omaha and surrounding communities. Medal results from completed sports are now available—and sortable by city, county, sport and name at CornhuskerStateGames.com