LINCOLN, Neb. (Oct. 31, 2019) – Several outstanding Nebraska athletes have been named 2019 Cornhusker State Games (CSG) Athletes of the Year in their respective categories.
The 2019 Cornhusker State Games Athletes of the Year, sponsored by Lincoln Federal Savings Bank, include: hockey player Calie Peterson, 13, of Omaha; wrestler Braedyn Rakes, 13, of Lincoln; martial artist Sadie Coffey, 32, of Shickley; cyclist Josh Shear, 46, of Lincoln; badminton player Dianna Carda, 63, of Omaha and track & field athlete Trip Reynolds, 65, of Crete.
The six were chosen from among 10,035 total participants and will be honored at the Nebraska Sports Council (NSC) awards banquet on Nov. 7 at the Graduate Lincoln Hotel.
“Our 2019 Athletes of the Year represent the best of Nebraska in every way,” NSC Executive Director Dave Mlnarik said. “It’s a diverse group of people and sports, which reflects the variety of the Cornhusker State Games.”
Peterson has competed four times in the CSG and State Games of America on boys’ teams over the years and her teams have won two gold medals and one silver medal. It was her first experience in boys’ hockey with body checking and she helped her team by netting three goals and three assists to win the gold medal.
Rakes has competed at a very high level ever since he started wrestling. He has competed in the CSG for six years and this year he won his 6th Iron Man award which is the top award given during the tournament. During that span he has captured 25 gold medals, six silver medals and three bronze medals.
Coffey has competed in the CSG since 2005, only missing one year. She has a collection of over 20 CSG medals from her 15 years of experience. In multiple years, Coffey has earned double golds, winning both her forms and sparring divisions. In the 2019 CSG, she competed in the forms competition while eight months pregnant. In addition to competing in the CSG for 15 years, Coffey has served as a volunteer official in every tournament she’s attended.
Shear has competed in the CSG for several years, including the Cycling-Gravel Grinder event which is a long distance gravel road event. In 2017, a close friend and gravel grinder mentor to Josh, Randy Gibson who was also a past gravel grinder gold medal winner, passed away in a bike accident. In 2018, Gibson’s number was retired and only his wife would be able to wear the number during the CSG. This year, after receiving the gold medal in the grueling 100-mile race with a winning time of 5-hours 48-minutes, Shear gave it to Randy’s wife in his honor.
Carda receives the Dorothy Ekblad Memorial Senior Female Athlete of the year Award for a Cornhusker State Games body-of-work that includes nine years of participation in eight different sports including badminton, swimming, powerlifting, table tennis, soccer, basketball, archery and track & field. Over the last few years, she has focused on badminton, winning bronze and silver medals. Carda also received four CSG gold medals in swimming.
Reynolds has competed in the CSG track & field competition for 20 years. He has mostly competed in the 100, 200, 400 and 800 meters, but more recently has focused on the 200 and 400 meter. This past year, Reynolds received gold medals in those two respective races. He also enjoys competing in road races, half and full marathons, cycling events and triathlons.
NSC Officials reported that 73 counties were represented in 2019, with Lancaster—4,504, Douglas—1,895, Sarpy—751, Buffalo—194 and Hall and Saunders tying with—181 making up the top six counties. The youngest participant was Omaha trackster Kennedy Carter, 2; the oldest was horseshoe pitcher Bernie Moran, 91, of Hastings. Top five sports in participation were volleyball—1,099, basketball—849, softball—760, ice hockey—577 and shooting sports—548.
The 36th annual Cornhusker State Games will be held July 17-26, 2020.
The Nebraska Sports Council, which conducts the Cornhusker State Games, the Mud Run, the LiveWell Challenge Corporate Games and the Pumpkin Run, is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization with platinum partners including Farmers Mutual of Nebraska, Nebraska Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine and Pepsi Cola of Lincoln. Learn more at