The CSG caldron-lighting, the climax of the Opening Ceremonies, celebrates an Olympic tradition, usually with a prominent Nebraska athlete chosen as the  Torchlighter.

2023 Torchlighter

Nicklin Hames

Past Mystery Torchlighters

Nicklin Hames

Nicklin excelled at the very highest levels of high school and college volleyball.  As a Husker she was a fierce competitor, a great leader and a fan favorite, but also a girl who has always been very generous with her time in the community.

Jordy Bahl

A native of Papillion, Bahl was a standout youth athlete in multiple sports.  By high school, her focus was on softball where she became the most dominant player in Nebraska high school history, leading the Papillion LaVista Monarchs to three state championships during her four years.  Her senior year, she also earned the 2021 Gatorade National High School softball player of the year award.

This spring, in her freshman season with the Oklahoma Sooners, she was nearly as dominant, finishing with a 22-2 pitching record and becoming an All-American and the national freshman of the year in college softball. For the season, she had 205 strikeouts and a 1.09 earned run average over 141 innings pitched. Her wins included one solo perfect game, one solo no-hitter, and a winning performance in the team’s final game against Texas, which earned the Sooners their second consecutive NCAA National Championship!

Alex Gordon


Eric Crouch

College Football Hall of Fame (2020), 2001 Honors: Heisman Trophy, Walter Camp Player of the Year, Davey O’Brien Quarterback Award, First-Team All-American, Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, First-Team All-Big 12, NCAA Record for Career Rushing TDs by Quarterback (59), NU Record for Career Offensive Yards (7,915), More

Elizabeth & Kaylee Jones

Elizabeth and Kaylee are not only a perfect seven for seven in Division III National Championships with three indoor and four outdoor titles, but are also three time Academic All Americans. The 1600 meter relay is where they have left their mark.

Danny Woodhead

Danny grew up a multi-sport star in North Platte, but is football career is extensive. It started in high school as a leading rusher, then to Chadron State College where he won the Harlon Hill Trophy as the Division II Most Outstanding Player in both 2006 and 2007. In 2008 is when he started his career in the NFL and played for a few different teams, but the San Diego Chargers was the team he was most productive with in 2013.

Pete Kostelnick

Pete started his journey in San Francisco, California on September 12th, 2016 and ended it in Manhattan, New York on October 24th, 2016. For 42 days, 6 hours and 36 minutes Pete ran 3,067 miles. When he arrived in Manhattan he was titled the fastest man ever to cross the United States on foot, averaging 72 miles per day, shattering the previous record by 4 days.

Amber & Kadie Rolfzen

Amber and Kadie started their volleyball journey at Papillion La Vista South High School where they led their team to 2 undefeated seasons, 3 consecutive state championships, and 2 ESPN RISE National titles. The continued to join the volleyball Husker team and has even more achievements during their time in college.

Lolo Jones & Jordan Burroughs

Lolo Jones – U.S. Olympic Hurdler (2008, 2012) and Bobsled Athlete (2014), Three-Time NCAA National Track & Field Champion (60M Hurdles-Indoor 2003, 100M Relay-Outdoor 2003-2004), Three-Time U.S. Indoor 60M Hurdle Champion (2007-2009), Two-Time World 60M Hurdle Champion (2008, 2010), More

Jordan Burroughs – Olympic Gold Medalist (Wrestling-Freestyle, 2012), Seven-Time World Championship Medalist (Five Gold, Two Bronze, 2011-2019), Career Senior-Level Record 189-9, Including a U.S.-Record 69 Straight Wins (2011-2014), Two-Time NCAA Champion (Both Undefeated Seasons, 2009, 2011), 2011 Hodge Award for Nation’s Most Outstanding Wrestler, More

Jack Hoffman

2013 Espy Award Winner for Best Moment in Sports For His Touchdown Scored in the Husker Spring Game (Then Eight Years Old and Two Years Into His Battle Against Brain Cancer), Family Created the Team Jack Foundation Which Has Raised More Than $8 Million For Pediatric Brain Cancer Research and Relief

Jed Ortmeyer

Jed is the second Nebraskan to play in the National Hockey League and the first since 1924. During his 10 NHL seasons, he has played with the New York Rangers, the Nashville Predators, the San Jose Sharks, and the Minnesota Wild, amassing a total 345 games played.

Erika Anschutz

At age 8, Erika was titled the Female Athlete of the Year when she outscored all shooters. A year later she became the youngest archer in history to score a perfect 600 at the Indoor National Tournament in Las Vegas. Over the ensuing 13 years, she has held 8 different world records and has been a member of 5 Junior, 3 Collegiate, and 11 Senior U.S. World Teams. She has competed at World Cup events in 21 different countries, winning over 35 international medals.

Alex Henery

Alex grew up playing soccer in the State Games, but as he grew up and went to college he focused his attention to football. He became the all-time leading scorer in Husker football history with 397 points. He was also one of the few players to master two positions at the Division I college level.

Scott Shanle

Scott fulfilled his childhood dream and walked on to play at the University of Nebraska in 1998. He was named All-Conference Honorable Mention as a Junior and Senior. This led to him being chosen in the 7th round NFL draft by the St. Louis Rams. This started his NFL journey and in 2010 when he was playing for the New Orleans Saints, they won the Super Bowl.

Cory Schlesinger

13-Year NFL Career (Detroit 1995-2006, Miami 2007), Sixth-round NFL Draft Pick, Scored game-tying and winning TDs in NU’s 1995 Orange Bowl win over Miami, capping a 13-0 season and NU’s first National Championship since 1971, Husker Co-Lifter of the Year (1993), Two-time All-State Linebacker (Columbus 1988-89), More

Eric Piatkowski

First-Round NBA Draft Pick (15th overall, 1994), 14-Year NBA Career (LA Clippers, Houston, Chicago, Phoenix), Two-Time First-Team All Big 8 (NU Huskers), 1,934 Career Points (2nd all-time at NU), NU (#52) Jersey Retired, South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame, More

Sarah Pavan & Jordan Larson

Sarah Pavan – Honda-Broderick Cup (National Collegiate Female Athlete of the Year, 2007), AVCA National Player of the Year (NU Huskers 2006), NCAA National Championship (2006), NU Female Student-Athlete of the Year (2007-08), Four-time NCAA All-American (2004-07), Three-Time Big 12 Player of the Year (2005-07), Canadian Olympic Team (sand volleyball, 2016), More

Jordan Larson – U.S. Olympic Silver (2012) and Bronze (2016) Medalist (volleyball), NCAA National Championship (NU Huskers, 2006), Three-time NCAA All-American (2006-08), Two-time Big-12 Defensive Player of the Year (2006, 2008), NCAA National Player of the Year (2008), (#10) NU Jersey Retired, NU Athletic Hall Of Fame, More

Curt Tomasevicz

U.S. Olympic Gold Medal (4-Man Bobsled, 2010), U.S. Olympic Silver Medal (4-Man Bobsled, 2014), Three-Time Olympian (2006, 2010, 2014), Nine Bobsled World Championship Medals, Husker Football Letter-Winner (2000-2003), More

Joba Chamberlain, Johnny Dorn & Andy Gerch

Joba Chamberlain – World Series Champion (NY Yankees, 2009),Ten-Year Major League Pitching Career, 2nd Rd Draft Pick (41st Overall, 2006), First Team All Big-12 (NU Huskers, 2005), Third Team All-American (2005), More

Johnny Dorn – Two-time First-Team All-Big 12 Pitcher (NU Huskers 2005, 2008), Three-time Big-12 Pitcher of the Week (2006-08), Third-Team All-American (2005), Big 12 Freshman Pitcher of the Year (2005), First-Team All-State/Gatorade HS Player of the Year (Grand Island HS, 2004) More

Andy Gerch – Three-year starter (NU Husker Baseball, 2005-07), 2005 College World Series All-Tournament Team, 2005 NCAA Lincoln Regional Most Outstanding Player, 2007 NCAA Tempe Regional All-Tournament Team, OWH and LJS First-Team All-State (Pius X, 2003), More

Russ Hochstein

Two-time Super Bowl Champion (New England 2004-05), 11-year NFL Veteran (2001-2011), 5th-Round NFL Draft Pick (2001 Tampa Bay), First-Team All-American (NU Huskers 2000), First-Team All Big 12 (2000), Cletus Fischer Native Son Award (2000) More

Rulon Gardner

U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist (wrestling 2000), U.S. Olympic Bronze Medalist (2004), USA Wrestling Greco-Roman National Champion (1995), World Cup Greco-Roman Champion (1996), Distinguished Member—National Wrestling Hall of Fame, NCAA 4th Place Nationally (NU Huskers 2003), More

Jeff Leise

First-Team All-American (NU Huskers Baseball 2002), Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year (2003),  NU Male Student-Athlete of the Year (2002-03), Two-Time National Academic All-American of the Year (2002-03), First-Team All Big 12 (2002), 12th Round MLB Draft Pick (San Diego Padres), More

Kim Behrends-Buckendahl & Angie Oxley

Kim Behrends-Buckendahl – Two-Time All-Class All-State (Chappell Volleyball), Led Chappell HS to Back-To-Back Undefeated State Championship Seasons, 1,643 Career HS Kills, 1997 LJS Female Athlete of the Year, Undefeated NCAA National Championship Team Captain (2000 NU Huskers), More

Angie Oxley – Big 12 Freshman of the Year (1997 NU Huskers Volleyball), NU All-Time Digs Leader (1,086), 2001 UNL Student-Athlete of the Year, Undefeated NCAA National Championship Team (2000), More

Heather Brink-Rennerfeldt

2000 NCAA All-Around Champion (NU Husker Gymnastics), 2000 NCAA Vault Champion, 2000 Honda Award Winner, 2000 Big 12 Gymnast of the Year, Eight-time First-Team All-American, Eight-time Big 12 Champion, Nebraska’s all-time leading All-American (11 awards), More

Jay Novacek

All-State Basketball, Football, Track (Gothenburg), NCAA All-American (Wyoming U football), NCAA Record Holder for Receptions by Tight End, NCAA All-American and Conference Decathlon Champion, 6th Round NFL Draft Pick (Arizona Cardinals), Three Super Bowl Wins (Dallas Cowboys), College Football and Nebraska High School Halls of Fame

Erick Strickland

Nebraska High School All-State first team in three sports (1992 – basketball, baseball, football), 1992 Nebraska High School Athlete of the Year, 2-time All Big-Eight Defensive Team (basketball), 1992 MLB Baseball Draft Pick (outfielder – Florida Marlins, 31st round), 10-year NBA Career (six teams), More

Jeremy Sonnenfeld

First sanctioned 900-series in bowling history (Sun Valley Lanes – 1997 for NU Huskers), known thereafter as “Mr. 900”

Angee Henry & Teri Steer

Angee Henry – Two-time NCAA Long Jump Champion (NU Huskers), three-time Big 12 Long Jump Champion, 10-time NCAA All-American, 1992 Nebraska High School Long Jump, 200M, 400M Champion, Nebraska High School Hall of Fame, More

Teri Steer – Two-time NCAA National Shot Put Champion (Southern Methodist University), 1993 OWH, LJS High School Female Athlete of the Year (Crete High School), 2000 U.S. Olympian, More

Allison Weston

1995 AVCA National Player of the Year (Volleyball), 3-time NCAA First-Team All-American, NCAA Team Champs 1995, 2000 U.S. Olympic Team Captain, UNL Athletic Hall of Fame, More

Dennis Harrison

Two-time Nebraska State High School Gymnastics All-Around Champion, 11-time NCAA All-American (NU Huskers), NCAA National Team Champs 1994, 1994 NCAA All-Around Champion, More

Karen Jennings

Margaret Wade Trophy—Nation’s Outstanding Player (basketball) 1993, First-Team All-American 1993, First-Team All Big Eight (basketball) 1991, 1992, 1993, Big Eight Female Athlete of the Year 1993, led Huskers to their first-ever win in the NCAA Tournament 1993, NU Hall of Fame (2008), More

Kim Oden

30 All-American Track & Field Honors, 12 School Records (Nebraska Wesleyan), 10 National Titles, NCAA Division III Athlete of the Year (1993), More

Todd Eisner & Rich King

Todd Eisner – Captained Creighton U (basketball) to two straight MVC Conference Championships and NCAA Tournament appearances (1989-90) More

Rich King – Scored 1,421 points, 4th all-time, for NU Husker Basketball team, led NU to a #3 seed in 1991 NCAA Tournament, 1st-round (14th overall) draft pick of NBA Seattle Super-Sonics, 7-year NBA career More

Tom Rathman

Two-time Super Bowl Champion (San Francisco 49ers), All-Big Eight Football Team (1985), NSAA State Champion High Jumper (1981), More

Bob Boozer & Kelly Vejraska

Bob Boozer – NCAA All-American Basketball (1958, Kansas State), U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist (1960), 11-year NBA career, More

Scott Johnson

U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist (1984, gymnastics), Four straight NCAA national team titles (NU 1980-83), 11-time NCAA All-American, More

Diane Beideck & Tom Haase

Diane Beideck – 1987 OWH/LJS High School Female Athlete of the Year (Millard North, basketball and volleyball), More

Tom Haase – 1987 OWH/LJS High School Male Athlete of the Year (Aurora, football, basketball and track/field), More

Julie Vollertsen

1984 U.S. Olympic Silver Medalist, More

Jim Hartung

Two-time U.S. Olympic gymnast, 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist, 7-time NCAA Event Champion, More

Thank You to our platinum sponsors

Powered By

Official Member of the


Phone: 402-471-2544

Mailing address: 
PO Box 29366
Lincoln, NE 68529

Shipping address:
7620 N 70th
Lincoln, NE 68517