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CoreFirst Bank & Trust Athlete of the Year Award


Athlete of the Year nominations can be made by any person attending or participating in the Sunflower State Games. The nominee must be an athlete participating in the current edition of the Games. The winners, one male and one female will be announced in August. Potential recipients for this award must show outstanding achievement and good sportsmanship both on and off the field of play by embodying what the Sunflower State Games represent, living a healthy lifestyle through participation in sports.

The Nomination Period for 2019 is now closed.

Recipients will be announced soon.


2018 CoreFirst Bank & Trust Male Athlete of the Year

Chad Lorenz: Beloit, Kansas - Age 36

Track & Field

VIP Pic Chad

Sunflower State Games Sports and Accomplishments:

  • 2018 Track & Field: 1st Place - 1500m Run
  • 2018 Track & Field: 1st Place - 800 Run
  • 2014 Adventure Race: 4th Place - 2 Person Male
  • 2013 Adventure Race: 5th Place - 3 Person Co-Ed
  • 2012 Adventure Race: 3rd Place - 2 Person Male

Why do you participate in the Sunflower State Games:

The games mean to me the opportunity to continue the quest to be a great athlete, never give up, achieve new goals, set new records, keep moving, and stay active.  We all still have that dream inside of us to grow up to be an Olympic Athlete standing on top of the podium, the games give you the opportunity to feel that way again, and dare to dream to be the best you can be.  I participate to keep pushing myself, to stay active, to set a good example for my daughter and the kids on my track team.

What pleases you most about competing in SSG?

Competing against other athletes that push you to become or be your best.  It’s not just a small-town easy race that you are going to go out and win, you have to put in some time and effort to come to the games and succeed.  Also, the camaraderie between athletes, being able to talk to others who enjoy the same sports and activities, and making new friends.

Why is SSG important to Kansas Athletes?

The games are important to Kansans because there are a wide variety of events for all physical abilities and age groups. This gives everyone the chance to come out and showcase their talents, or try something new, and compete against others that love the sport as much as they do. I also enjoy the fact that they have events for youth so it teaches them to be active and healthy and they can do it for the rest of their lives. This is why I enjoy the track and field competition as it shows the kids that are there that you can be 8 or 88 and still competing.

Accomplishments outside of SSG?

  • Coached 4 athletes to the AAU Jr. Olympic Games in Des Moines, IA in 2018. One athlete competed individually in the long jump and shot put along with competing with the other three athletes who competed as a team in the 4x100 relay.  One of the athletes on this team also happened to be my daughter Autumn.
  • Coached 1 athlete to the YES Athletics Indoor National Championship in Pittsburg, KS in 2018.  One athlete competed in the 200m dash, 400m dash, placing 2nd in both events and long jump, placing 1st.  This athlete happened to be my daughter Autumn.
  • Coached 1 athlete to the USATF Jr. Olympic Games in Lawrence, KS in 2017.  This athlete competed individually in the long jump and shot put.2011: Fool’s Day 5k, 3rd age group.
  • 2011: Downs Celebration 4-mile Run, 1st age group; Glen Elder 5-mile Dam Run, 2nd age group; Tipton Picnic 5k, 2nd age group
  • 2012: Break Up and Thumper Adventure Race, 1st 2-man division; Trail Blazing Family Fun Day 18-mile Bike Race, 1st overall; Rocket Run 5k, 2nd age group; MLB All Star Game 5k, 58th out of 5441; Tipton Picnic 5k, 1st age group; Heart Choices 16 Mile Bike Race, 1st overall
  • 2013: Break Up Adventure Race, 3rd 2-man division; Double Road Race, 50th out of 359; Courtland Fun Day 5k, 1st age group; Tipton Picnic 5k, 3rd age group; 811 Run 5k, 2nd age group; Heart Choices Duatholn, 2nd age group; Prairie Fire Half Marathon Finisher
  • 2014: Off-Road Rage Adventure Race, 1st 3-man division; Downs Celebration 4-Mile Run, 1st overall; Courtland Fun Day 5k, 1st age group; Tipton Picnic 5k, 2nd age group; 811 Run, 2nd age group; USARA (United States Adventure Racing Association) National Adventure Race Finisher; MCHHS Fall Fun Run 10k, 2nd overall; “O” Challenge, 1st overall 3-man division
  • 2015: Extreme Break Up Adventure Race, 2nd overall, 1st 2-man division; Downs Half Marathon Bike Race, 1st overall; Rural Route 13.1 Bike Race, 2nd overall
  • 2016: Tipton Picnic 5k, 3rd age group; Cruise the Blues 10k, 3rd overall; Cruise the Blues Bike Race, 4th age group 2-man division; Castlewood Adventure Race, 9th 2-man division
  • 2017: Jolly Jogathon 800m, 1st age group; Jolly Jogathon 1600m, 1st age group; Wild West Fest 5k, 5th age group; Cruise the Blues Bike Race, 1st age group 2-man division
  • 2018: Bill Butterworth Indoor Track Meet 200M, 1st age group; Bill Butterworth Indoor Track Meet 800M, 1st age group; Wichita Brewing Company Marathon Relay, 5th coed team division; Heart Walk and FAST 5k, 2nd age group; Wild West Fest 5k, 3rd age group; Mankato Fun Run and 10k Bike Race, 2nd overall bike race

Tell Us About Yourself

  • Family: I have been married to my wife Laura for 15 years and have a 10-year-old daughter named Autumn.
  • Education: Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology from NCK Tech in Beloit.
  • Career: I have been serving as the Program Director of the NCK Wellness Center for a little over a year.  This job consists of program planning, group exercise instruction, personal training, facility maintenance, and everything in between!  I worked previously in the natural gas industry and as an automotive technician.
  • Hobbies: I enjoy running, track and field, coaching, mountain and road biking, kayaking, fishing, hunting, camping, traveling, woodworking, fixing things, spending time with family and friends, basically I like to try just about anything!
  • Community Involvement: Head Coach Beloit Flyers Youth Track Club, H.E.A.L. (healthy eating active living) Committee Member, Millapalooza Board Member, School Marathon Volunteer, Summer Kids Café Activity Leader

Chad's Story

Chad is an amazing athlete who has overcome much in his life. In July of 2015 Chad had to undergo open heart surgery, he was born with a congenital heart defect, a bicuspid aortic valve (BAV), which is an inherited form of heart disease in which two of the leaflets of the aortic valve fuse during development in the womb resulting in a two-leaflet valve (bicuspid valve) instead of the normal three-leaflet valve (tricuspid). Chad had full open heart surgery, in which his sternum was split, machines kept him alive, and the doctor removed the bad valve and replaced it with a mechanical valve. He also had part of his descending aortic root replaced as an aneurysm was discovered during the surgery. The doctors were in disbelief when they found out Chad was a runner, his cardiologist said he shouldn't be able to walk a mile, and he at the time was consistently running between 5-10 miles every other day. Chad's surgery was performed at KU Medical Center in Kansas City, about 3.5 hours from our town, as he was referred there as he was considered such a rare case, young, active, and healthy in every regard except his heart. Surgery and recovery were successful and life continued on until March of 2017. While out on a 10 mile run Chad suffered cardiac arrest, a “widowmaker,” a type of heart attack that involves major blockage in the left anterior descending (LAD) artery, one of three arteries that supply blood flow to the heart. Chad was on a main road in town when he collapsed and complete strangers saw him, they stopped and started CPR and called 911. Chad was life flighted to KU Medical Center, it was discovered his LAD artery was 99% blocked due to scar tissue, a stent was placed to open the artery back up. Chad was found unresponsive and didn't regain consciousness until after the surgery to place the stent, it was unknown how long he had been without a heartbeat or oxygen to the brain, so the doctor's concerns were potential brain damage. Thankfully, and we owe it all to the people who stopped and performed CPR, Chad had zero brain damage and recovered back to 100% health.

Chad now works at our local Wellness Center as a program director, he owes his health to the people who stopped and performed CPR, but also the fact that he was in such great physical shape before his cardiac arrest occurred, and he now works to help others become or stay active and healthy. He continues to coach our local youth track team, in which our daughter, Autumn, who will be 11 at the end of the year, is a part of. This track team has become more like an extended family, we started off small, with 5 members our first year, and have grown to around 20 members this current track year. Chad is a huge inspiration to many in our community, he continues to succeed in his own personal active feats, he just ran the American Heart Association’s FAST 5k in June in Wichita, in 19:30, placing 8th overall and 2nd in his age group, and was also honored as a survivor at the event. Along with his own personals success he is finding success as a coach with the Beloit Flyers Track Team, 4 members went to the AAU District Qualifier in El Dorado, KS and all 4 qualified to advance to the Regional Qualifier in Joplin, MO. All 4 qualified to advance on to the Jr. Olympics to be held in Des Moines at the end of July, beginning of August. He is more proud of their achievements than he is his own. Chad has overcome much to get to be where he is today as not only an athlete, but a person, but he doesn't let what has happened to him define him, or stop him from doing what he loves.


2018 CoreFirst Bank & Trust Female Athlete of the Year

Mckinsey West: Emporia, Kansas - Age 12

3D Archery and Target Archery

  VIP Pic Mckinsey

Sunflower State Games Sports and Accomplishments:

  • 2018 3D Archery: 1st Place
  • 2018 Target Archery: 2nd Place
  • 2017 3D Archery: 1st Place
  • 2017 Target Archery: 1st Place
  • 2016 3D Archery: 1st Place
  • 2016 Target Archery: 1st Place

Why do you participate in the Sunflower State Games:

The Sunflower State Games is one of my favorite shoots because it’s an event that I look forward to every year. It's a shoot thats close to home and because of the friends I have been able to make while competing at this event.

What pleases you most about competing in SSG?

Meeting new people and making new friends that all live in Kansas. Also I get to compete and visit with people that I know from around the state (Kansas). I enjoy any opportunity to represent Kansas while competing.

Why is SSG important to Kansas Athletes?

It’s a good chance for others to meet new people of all ages that enjoy some of the same activities and interests. It shows the athletes of Kansas as an entire group of people while brining them together in one place at the same time.

Accomplishments outside of SSG?

  • 2016: Monster Buck Classic - 2nd place (silver); Iowa Deer Classic - 2nd (silver); Missouri Outdoor State Championship - 3rd (bronze); Elimination Cup Champion; Overtons 300 - 1st (gold)
  • 2017: Monster Buck Classic - 3rd (bronze); Iowa Deer Classic Bowhunter Class - 1st (gold); Iowa Deer Classic Cub Freestyle - 1st (gold); Freestyle Overtones 450 - 1st (gold); Kansas State Indoor Championship - 2nd (silver); Tri County 300 - 1st (gold); The Archery Club 3D - 1st (gold); Missouri Outdoor Championship - 1st (gold); Archery School of the Rockies Target - 1st (gold); Archery School of the Rockies 3D - 1st (gold); State Games of America 3D Unknown Distances - 1st (gold); State Games of America 3D Known Distances - 1st (gold); State Games of America Target - 4th; Overtons 450 - 1st (gold); Midwest Pro/am Peoria Il - 4th; Midwest Pro/am Des Moines Ia - 4th; Midwest Pro/am Independence Mo-2nd (silver); Midwest Pro/am Tripple Crown Champion
  • 2018: 2018 Tri County 300 - 1st (gold); Iowa Deer Classic Youth Female Bowhunter - 1st (gold); Iowa Deer Classic Young Adult Women Freestyle - 2nd (silver); Iowa Deer Classic Youth Freestyle - 2nd (silver); Overtons 300 - 1st (gold); Kansas Outdoor State Field Championship - 1st (gold); Springfield 900 Round - 1st (gold); Springfield 720- 1st (gold)

Tell Us About Yourself:

  • Education: I currently attend Emporia Middle School and will be entering the 7th grade for the 2018-2019 school year.
  • Hobbies:I enjoy reading, art, playing the piano, baking, and playing the trumpet in band. I also enjoy participating in JOAD (Junior Olympic Archery Development).
  • Community Involvement: CYF (Catholic Youth Formation) at Sacred Heart of Jesus, Catholic Church in Emporia, KS.
  • Family: Father (John), Mother (Mary), Stepfather (Allen), Brother (Riley).
  • Carried the Kansas state flag at the 2017 State Games of America Opening Ceremonies in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Past Female Athletes of the Year

2017 - Kjrsten Abel Ruch, Lawrence
2016 - Kailey Ward, Topeka
2015 - Connie Carpenter, Leavenworth
2014 - Maria Seematter, Marysville
2013 - Gavyn Yetter, Topeka
2012 - Diane Werner, Topeka
2011 - Bailey Atkinson, Topeka
2010 - Nikki Barrett, Waverly
2009 - Laurie Koehn, Hesston
2008 - Joyce Baker, Topeka
2007 - Alice Lackey, Seneca
2006 - Susan Miller, Topeka
2005 - Gay Bauersfeld, Topeka
2004 - Joanie Starks, Lawrence
2003 - Doris Elliot Watson, Bonner Springs
2002 - Melissa Titel, Iola
2001 - Lindsey Carter, Parsons
2000 - Jana Sandall, Goddard
1999 - Emily Bloss, Emporia
1998 - Pam Miller, Valley Falls
1997 - Doris Elliot Watson, Bonner Springs
1996 - Terra Upham, Chapman
1995 - Keely Malone, Lawrence
1994 - Lavina Haefele, Lawrence

Past Male Athletes of the Year

2017 - Chuck Remboldt, Perry
2016 - TJ Wade, Eskridge
2015 - Kyle Lewis, Topeka
2014 - Jacob Bull, Berryton
2013 - Erich Singer, Topeka
2012 - Michael Rose, Topeka
2011 - Travis Conley, Mission
2010 - Justin Garrard, Ottawa
2009 - Cory Kowitz, South Hutchinson
2008 - Matt Brungardt, Topeka
2007 - Kory Cool - Manhattan
2006 - Ian Grover, Topeka
2005 - Larry Law, Auburn
2004 - Maure Weigel, Salina
2003 - Bill Bunten, Topeka
2002 - Bob Lida, Wichita
2001 - Dean Sheets, Linwood
2000 - David Johnston, Lawrence
1999 - Nathaneal Wheatley, Cherryvale
1998 - Tim Schumacher, Hays
1997 - Dick Wilson, Lawrence
1996 - Kelly Green, Mayetta
1995 - Jim Ratzlaff, Winfield
1994 - Jack Haefele, Lawrence

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