Posted by: Sports
The weather was cool and the fishing was hot Saturday in the Cornhusker State Games bass fishing tournament held at Lake Wanahoo near Wahoo. Forty boats, each carrying a two-person team, took to the new venue eagerly.
"We got our eight, but I'm pretty sure many other teams did, too," said Dave Thomsen of Lincoln, who teamed up with partner Rob Greer to win last year's tournament at Branched Oak Lake. The two raved about the new venue's fish habitat.
"There is so much structure and variance in depth in this lake, and it's big enough the boats weren't bumping into each other. Last year we only caught three fish and that won the tournament," he said. "This year it'll come down to who has the biggest limit," Thomsen added, referring to the four-fish per person limit on bass.
Thomsen and Greer took the bronze this year with a total of 18.25 lbs. Mark Madison and Joyce Clark won the event with 20.29 lbs. and Gordon Hardle and Barry Schmoker got second with 19.5 lbs. Twenty-four teams caught the eight-fish limit.
Rather than the traditional weigh-in, this year, the teams were required to photograph each fish on a measuring board and immediately release them back to the water. Bass are not allowed to leave the lake at Wanahoo. Officials then calculated each team's total inches and converted inches to pounds using a standard formula. The new technique for contest fishing is gaining popularity across the country as anglers strive to keep fish healthy. Keeping fish in a "live" well in the boat, even for an hour, can stress the fish considerably.
Omaha was busy with more than 700 athletes participating in five events, including ice hockey, lacrosse, pickleball, taekwondo and the non-competitive WalkOmaha. Sixteen sports took place in Lincoln and the surrounding area.
Pickleball drew a record 52 players, including retired rancher Brian Thompson, 59 of Omaha. After moving to Omaha from Arthur, Thompson took up the sport three years ago upon an invitation from Pickleball Director Bill Holt.
"I was in a bible study group with Bill and he asked me to give (pickleball) a try. I've always been into sports, so I said ‘why not?' I was hooked from then on," said Thompson.
Holt was already speculating about adding competition days and venues for the State Games of America in 2015. He said the six courts at Meadow Lane Park were "maxed out" with this year's numbers. Singles events were held Friday evening and doubles took place Saturday.
Quarry Oaks Golf Course near South Bend hosted the Games' inaugural two-person scramble, with Will Hagel and Brad Huyck of Omaha carding a 60 and earning the 2-person Scramble State Championship trophy to go with their CSG Gold Medals. Assistant Pro Brian Steventon was happy with the turnout and even happier with the weather.
"You can almost hear the golf course saying, ahhhhhh," said Steventon after the shotgun start. "The hot days are really stressful on the grass … and the players, of course. The golfers will have a fun day out there."
Mountain bikers at Branched Oak Lake also reveled in the mild weather. Janna Vavra, 33 of Lincoln was the top overall female, finishing in just over an hour and 26 minutes. Brad Auen, 26 of Omaha, won the men's expert class in 1:17.
Lacrosse director Art Newsome attributed record entry numbers to the overall growth of the sport in Nebraska. Total numbers increased by 81 to a total of 153 players this year. Lacrosse was held on two fields at Creighton Prep, including the field turf at Leahy Stadium.
"We have a strong youth program here in Omaha. Lincoln's had (lacrosse) for a while, and there are leagues in Fremont and Kearney so those teams will start coming as they get more organized," said Newsome.
With late entries still trickling in, entry numbers grew to 12,123, an increase of more than 500 over 2012. Sunday is the final day of the Games with competition in 10 sports, including archery, electronic darts, flag football, ice hockey, lacrosse, pocket billiards, triathlon, ultimate frisbee and volleyball.
Source: Nebraska Sports Council