September 2, 2016

'16 State Games Athletes of the Year

Final Results Announced


The Nebraska Sports Council (NSC) has announced its 2016 Cornhusker State Games (CSG) Athletes of the Year, including: Triathletes, Abby Burke, 19, Lincoln and Lincoln Murdoch, 59, Omaha; Fencer, Kristian Anderson, 47, Lincoln and Wrestler, Sabastian Harsh, 14, Scottsbluff. 

The Athlete of the Year honorees were chosen by a panel of judges based on criteria including their 2016 State Games performance, past State Games participation, other athletic achievements, sportsmanship, citizenship and special circumstances.

Harsh, a freshman at Scottsbluff High School, was chosen as CSG Youth Athlete of the Year and also was chosen from among some 500,000 athletes nation-wide as the National Congress of State Games Male Youth Athlete of the Year.  He will receive the national award at a ceremony in Atlantic City, NJ on Sept. 27.  Harsh is the only wrestler in CSG history to earn six gold medals two years in a row.  Along with the gold medals, he added a sixth Iron Man shirt to his collection.  The Iron Man award is presented to wrestlers who earn 10 or more points in medals (three points for a gold medal, two points for a silver medal and one point for a bronze medal).  Harsh has earned the maximum amount of points two years straight and has a 7-year CSG medal total of 29 gold, eight silver and one bronze.  He was nominated by CSG Wrestling Director Craig Hellwege, who noted that Harsh is a mentor to younger wrestlers and always shows top-level sportsmanship.

Anderson was named CSG Male Athlete of the Year in large part because he has competed and medaled in every CSG since its inception, first in tennis and most recently in the sport of fencing.  In 2016 alone, he won two gold, one silver and two bronze medals. Anderson also qualified for the 2016 PanAm Games where he won silver medals in both events he competed in.  Fencing Director Trish Souliere stated, “Kristian is a well-respected athlete both in Nebraska and nationally for his talent and ability, his passion and his excellent sportsmanship.” 

The CSG Triathlon was a memorable one for CSG Triathlon Director Gary Bredehoft.  Not only did he retire from directing the event after being a CSG Sport Director for over 25 years but his sport produced a “first”.  The overall female winner (Burke) was the youngest participant to ever win the event and the overall male winner (Murdoch) was the oldest participant to ever win the event.  

Burke is a sophomore runner at UNK and besides earning the CSG Female Athlete of the Year award, she earned numerous awards in track, cross country and swimming at Lincoln Southwest High before moving on to college where she was awarded top five finishes, as a freshman, in all five cross country meets she ran at UNK.   

Murdoch, a businessman from Omaha, owns numerous titles including 9-time USAT All-American, 29 overall first-place triathlon victories and 3-time Iron Man finisher, to name just a few.  Now, Murdoch owns the title of CSG 2016 E. Lee Todd Memorial Senior Athlete of the Year. 

The Athletes of the Year will receive awards at the Nebraska Sports Council’s annual awards banquet on Thursday, Oct. 27.  Other honorees at the banquet include the Joe Neal Volunteer of the Year, Russ White Sport Director of the Year and State Games Sport Directors celebrating five-, 10-, 15-, 20-, 25- and 30-years of service.

The Nebraska Sports Council is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization with a mission of providing quality athletic competition and promoting healthy lifestyle choices.  Upcoming events, besides the awards banquet, include the Pumpkin Run at Pioneers Park in Lincoln on Oct. 8 and the 33rd Annual Cornhusker State Games on July 21-30, 2017.  Learn more at NebraskaSportsCouncil.com. 

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