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Why Jan?

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 MINNESOTA MULTISPORT AWARDS - Today we reveal some of the rationale behind the selection of JAN GUENTHER as Minnesota GRAND MASTER OF THE YEAR.

Neil KIng (67, Nevis) and Pam Stevens (64, Sartell) have won this award in the past and are perennial nominees. Once again, they enjoyed brilliant seasons, as did category newcomers Daniel Kirk (71, Blaine) and Spike Millslagle (66, Savage). Kirk is our state's first 70+ star since the apparent retirement of Hank Larsen. A classy guy and a great athlete.

As for Spike, in regional action, he won his AG impressively on at least six occasions, setting three AG CRs in the process. Well deserved nomination.

Of these four great athletes, it is likely that the majority, if not all, of the Committee members would have favored Stevens for GMOY. Her scorecard featured seven divisional wins, at least four in AG record time. She cracked the overall women's Top 10 FOUR times. 

And then there was Jan.

Guenther only raced three times, four if you include the King Boreas Winter Duathlon (run-bike-run), which she won outright. But the 57-year-old did not race at a national class level, like her abovementioned peers; she raced at a world class level. In most cases, her performances were competitive across ALL age categories.

Let's break down her season.

- 1st woman @ King Boreas Winter Duathlon - Whether one thinks this performance should be included in this discussion or not, it is interesting to note that the field Jan beat included Jeanne Fleck (2007 Rookie of the Year, 2008 Most Improved & Master of the Year), Jenny Wilcox (2010 Duathlete of the Year & Most Improved - she won 10 multis in '10), Nancy Whillock (one of South Dakota's premier multisportswomen) and Emily Muellner, who was a 2017 Rookie of the Year nominee....

Why Taylor?

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2017 MINNESOTA MULTISPORT AWARDS - This was a fun category!

We're talking about JUNIOR OF THE YEAR, which was won by TAYLOR LUNDQUIST, 18, of Maple Grove, who bulldozed her competition in the last half of the season.

There was SO much Junior talent this year that it was harder than usual to narrow the field to four official nominees. The Committee ultimately selected three of the more prolific and consistent juniors--ANDERS BROMAN, 17, Eagan, CARTER DEICHMAN, 16, Mankato, and LUNDQUIST--over the more mercurial athletes who raced less often or had inconsistent results.

We added GARRETT WELSCH, 19, Redwing, to the list of nominees because the guy is just plain fast. In the beginning of the season he appeared to be the slam dunk JOY choice. His performances at Liberty Olympic (4th overall), and his junior CRs at Lake Waconia and Minneapolis were outstanding. But he only raced one more time, that event being Nationals, where his performance wasn't up to his usual standards. A good race there would have kept him in the running for JOY, otherwise he'd have to have added 1-2 more regional events to his resume, and excel at those.

Meanwhile, Broman was demonstrating that he is faster than he was in 2016 and 2015, and even won a race outright (Moose Lake).

Then there was Deichman, who by early August appeared to be the guy who would win the award. By that time, he had divisional wins at Falls Du, Heart of the Lakes, Chisago Sprint, and would  go on to claim AG titles at North Mankato, Young Life Sprint, Maple Grove Sprint, Hopkins Royal and One Last Tri.

That should have done it, right? In most years a resume like Carter's would have secured the trophy.

But not this year. After losing to fellow juniors at Lake Waconia, Timberman and Heart of the Lakes, Lundquist put the hammer down in late July, racing in seven tris, winning the junior titles in each event. Not only that, she was the outright women's winner of three of those contests: Big Lake Sprint, Young Life Sprint and Blaine. In 11 starts in 2017, Taylor cracked the women's Top 10 ten...

Why Keeghan?

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MINNESOTA MULTISPORT AWARDS - When determining nominees and eventual MMA winners, the Selectors scrutinize resumes, measuring performances against records and legacies, evaluating field depth and head-to-head battles. We try to determine if the potential nominees approach, match or exceed the standards set by their predecessors. For instance, today's Masters are measured against the likes of Tony Schiller, Brian Bich, Kevin O'Connor, Jan Guenther, Heidi Keller-Miler, Cheryl Zitur and Marnie Walth; today's Juniors are compared to Beth Zirbes, Greta Danielson, Kate Lowrey, Michael Williams, Jason Liebsch and Nick Klonne.

Nominees and winners are determined democatically. Selectors make their cases for the athletes they believe deserve to be nominated, hoping to influence the others. In the end, each Selector submits the names of those they believe deserve to be nominated, and the four athletes receiving the most support receive nominations. After the nominees are chosen, the process starts again. Selectors argue for the athletes they believe should win the awards.

In the end, no Selector gets everything that they argue for. A perfect example of this was the determination of female Triathlete of the Year. For the first time in the nineteen-year history of the awards, THREE athletes received Selector support. In years past, a clear favorite, one all the Selectors could agree upon, emerged in this category: Jan Guenther (1999-2001), Wendy Peterson (2002-2003), Becky Youngberg (2004), Emily Deppe (2005), Marlo Crosby (2006), Cathy Yndestad (2007 -2010), Claire Bootsma (2011), Ruth Brennan Morrey (2012), Heather Lendway (2013-2014), Suzie Fox (2016), Hanna Grinaker (2016).

But that was not the case this year, and the arguments that ensued were heated, and lasted for weeks. Strong cases were made for Gaby Bunten, Christina Roberts and Kortney Haag, with Gaby eventually coming out on top. ....

Kevin, Mitch and YWCA...

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Over the next  two weeks we will share the rationale for the MMA Selections. Today we will explain the two "SPECIAL" awards and reveal the vote count for RACE OF THE YEAR...

2017 MMAs - The Winners!

 

The 19th annual MINNESOTA MULTISPORT AWARDS party happened last evening at Gear West Bike & Triathlon. Gaby Bunten, Sean Cooley and Wade Cruser led the way with two wins apiece.

Here are the winners:

- TRIATHLETE OF THE YEAR – SEAN COOLEY, 31, St. Paul & GABY BUNTEN, 25, Forest Lake

- LONG DISTANCE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR – SEAN COOLEY

- DUATHLETE OF THE YEAR – WADE CRUSER, 30, Sauk Rapids

- PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR – WOMEN –DANI VSETECKA's win at Madison 70.3

- PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR – MEN – WADE CRUSER's win at Apple Duathlon

- MOST IMPROVED – NATHAN ANSBAUGH, 30, Minneapolis & GABY BUNTEN ...

- SPECIAL AWARD - "COMMUNITY" - KEVIN O'CONNOR

- SPECIAL AWARD - "COMEBACK" - MITCH BREKKE

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