Lincoln, NE (November 7, 2022) – The Nebraska Sports Council (NSC) presented awards Thursday to several Cornhusker State Games (CSG) athletes and volunteers at its annual awards banquet at the Graduate Hotel in Lincoln.

Cornhusker State Games 2022 Athletes of the Year included: Youth Female — Makayla Vasser, 14, Nebraska City, Track and Field/Wrestling; Youth Male – Marc Zhao, 8, Elkhorn, Swimming; Female – Haley Bekins, 26, Omaha, Triathlon; Male – Doug Trent, 41, Louisville, Track and Field/Road Race; Senior Female – Harriet Bloemker, 90, Fremont, Track and Field; Senior Male – Buck Wood, 64, Minden, Pickleball.

Vasser won three gold and two silver medals in the CSG Wrestling meet to go with a gold and a silver in Track & Field. She also plays softball and tackle football.

Zhao won seven gold and one silver medal in the CSG Swim meet.

Bekins won her age group, and was the 9th overall female finisher, in the sprint-distance Triathlon despite first trying the sport just one year ago.

Trent won three gold medals in Track and Field as well as an age division gold medal in the CSG Road Race. He also brought home the 1500M gold from the State Games of America Track and Field meet in Ames, IA in August.

Bloemker made headlines when she broke the javelin world record for women 85-and-over with a throw of 61.8’ at the CSG Track and Field meet. She also broke the American record in the discus with a toss of 47.4’.

Wood, a well-known fitness advocate as a PE teacher and coach at Minden Public Schools, took up pickleball to fight the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. He loves the sport so much, he occasionally plays for up to seven hours per day and makes friends and fans wherever he goes with his quick wit and positive attitude.

Aimee Guzman-Jones and Colleen Arnold received the Joe Neal Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award for volunteering for multiple Nebraska Sports Council events over the past 10 years, most notably as co-directors of the CSG Hockey Tournament and more recently, as the Omaha area volunteer lunch delivery team.

The Russ White Memorial Sport Director of the Year Award was presented to CSG Bowling Directors R.J. Neal and John Losito, who are well-known for their advocacy of the sport of bowling and for hosting national and world bowling events at Sun Valley Lanes and Games in Lincoln.

Badminton Director Bob Ericson was honored, and received a standing ovation, for 35 years of service.  Other Sport Director Service Awards included: Five-Year – Karl and Carrie Hinkley, BMX Racing; Cat Souliere, HEMA Fencing; Jane Cech, Pickleball; Mark Nelson, Pickleball; Maggi Thorne, Ninja Challenge; Tom Erlandson, Golf Scramble and Chris Lesiak, .22 Silhouette Shooting. 10-Year – Amber and Cliff Hall, Armwrestling; Thom Sisson, Walk-Omaha. 15-Year – Dave Tunink, Youth Trapshooting; 20-Year – Keith Stewart, Pocket Billiards.

The Awards Banquet was sponsored by Lincoln Federal Savings Bank, The Graduate, Right Eye Digital and the Nebraska Pork Producers Association.

The Nebraska Sports Council has one remaining event in 2022, the Heartland Havoc Wrestling Tournament Nov. 12-13 at Lancaster Event Center in Lincoln. Thus far in 2022, more than 25,000 Nebraskans from more than 80 Nebraska counties have participated in NSC events.

The Nebraska Sports Council is a 501 c 3 non-profit organization whose mission is to promote healthy/active lifestyle choices and provide quality competition for athletes of all ages and abilities. Platinum Partners include Pepsi-Cola of Lincoln, Farmers Mutual, The Nebraska Medical Association and Nebraska Orthopaedic Center. Learn more at