Cornhusker State Games on as scheduled, Torch Run goes virtual

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For 35 consecutive years, the Cornhusker State Games have offered family-friendly, state-wide competition. The amateur sports festival is a highlighted event for many athletes, which includes the popular CSG Opening Ceremonies. The 36th annual Cornhusker State Games is uncertain, due to the pandemic.

The CSGs are currently scheduled for July 17-26 in Lincoln and the surrounding area. Executive Director Dave Mlnarik says organizers continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 in Nebraska. Mlnarik says the Cornhusker State Games plan to follow the lead of the state's government officials and health experts.

"If everything looks safe and we get the green light, I think there will be a lot of people excited to participate in one of the first big events," Mlnarik said.

The Cornhusker State Games offer more than 60 sports, ranging from basketball to archery to the adventure race. The CSGs typically attract more than 10,000 athletes.

Mlnarik says registration entries have slowed dramatically during the sports shutdown. Prior to early March, Mlnarik says registration was on pace to surpass 11,000 athletes. In interested, competitors are still encouraged to sign up. CSG organizers plan to refund all entries if the competition is cancelled, though Mlnarik hopes that is not the case.

"Our passion and our mission is to get people having fun doing things that are fun and competitive," Mlnarik said.

CSG organizers have explored the option for re-scheduling. One contingency plan, according to Mlnarik, is to hold each sport's competition individually, basing the dates on facility availability.

The Torch Run precedes the Cornhusker State Games each year. In 2020, the Torch Run will be a virtual event. Mlnarik says anyone can sign up (https://events.clearthunder.com/thunder/login&event=TORCHRUN20). Participants are to run one mile and take a selfie (photo or video), which they are encouraged to share on the Cornhusker State Game's social media platforms.

"I think a lot of people are going to feel connected and feel a sense of state pride," Mlnarik said. "We have goals of having every county represented and to accomplish ten miles per county."

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