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Maple Grove Sprint & Lakes Country Previews...

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MAPLE GROVE SPRINT - We are very impressed with the way JENNIFER FITZHARRIS-FUNK (photo) is racing this year. Sure, she has been racing well for the last several seasons, but she seems to have  gone to another level in 2017. The tattoed 42-year-old Minneapolis resident's current resume features 2nd place efforts at Minneapolis and Chisago Sprints, and a 6th (4th amateur) at YWCA Women's Tri.

Here at MGS, JFF has three top 5 finishes, her best being a 2nd in 2014.

Is this the year she wins? It could be. We see her in the Top 2 with three-time champ CHERYL ZITUR.

It needs to be noted that Cheryl isn't totally healthy right now, plus her luck this season has been awful, affecting two ofher three starts this season. She flatted at Buffalo Sprint and crashed at Walker.

So, the door is wide open for a new champ. The one most ready to step through that door, in our opinion, is JFF. Still, we are not ready to predict the upset. Zitur is sort of the Dave Scott of Minnesota's women's multi scene. Never count her out.

This said, we're anxious to see how this year's sprint race turns out. FYI - We're picking LAURA SWARTZ to claim the bronze on Saturday.

As for the men, we predict that 2013 MGS winner DAVID PHILLIPS, who posted his seventh career win two weeks ago at Lake Marion, and brawny GREG DUMMER will take the Top 2 places. Based on his 2017 resume to date, Dummer is our pick to win.

 

LAKES COUNTRY TRIATHLON - WADE CRUSER is enrolled, thus he is our pick to repeat, threepeat actually....

Maple Grove Olympic Preview...

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MAPLE GROVE OLYMPIC PREVIEW - On Saturday, the Maple Grove Sprint and Olympic Triathlons will celebrate their 8th anniversary. Approximately 800 athletes are expected to participate, and the field strength in both races is impressive.

In alpha order, here are some of the Elites, i.e. "Premier Division," in the OLympic race who will battle for top spots:

 

- JOE ADRIAENS, 29, Elk River - Joe is enjoying a breakout season and is a likely 2017 Most Improved nominee.

- JAKE BRAAM, 26, Elysian - Likely Rookie of the Year nominee. A solid effort against a great field on Saturday should put him over the top.

- WADE CRUSER, 30, Sauk Rapids - Most Improved winner in 2016, Wade comes into this race as a prohibitive favorite.

- ERIN FARRENS (36, Maple Grove) - Erin, winner of the 2016 women's Most Improved award, was not on the registration list that we perused. She is the 2016 women's champ and has cracked the Top 5 here four times. We'd be surprised if she didn't race....

Kids Rock in Detroit Lakes...

 

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YOUNG LIFE SPRINT - A pair of likely Junior of the Year nominees rocked at Saturday's Young Life Sprint in Detroit Lakes.

For the boys, 16-year-old CARTER DEICHMAN of Mankato (photo), placed 2nd overall just 34-seconds behind winner THOMAS LOEGERING of West Fargo. Loegering races frequently and successfully on the right side of the Red River, but this, we  believe, was his first Minnesota win. His time --1:03:39--was 3:28 faster than his 2nd place clocking here in 2016.

For Deichman, it was his best overall placing in an adult tri, and it came on the heels of a 4th place finish (1st Junior) at North Mankato. His 2017 resume also includes AG wins at Falls Duathlon, Heart of the Lakes and Chisago Sprint.

Nice career trajectory, right?

Winning for the women was 17-year-old TAYLOR LUNDQUIST of Maple Grove. Not only did she win, probably in Junior record time (1:06:52), she placed 4th overall in a 230-finisher field. Taylor is the only Minnesota teen to have won more than one adult tri this...

Hurley Hammers...

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YOUNG LIFE TRIATHLON - OLYMPIC - We sure hope that Montana State runner KEEGHAN HURLEY decides to race in at least one more non-DL multisport event this season. (As part of USAT's Collegiate Recruitment Program, Hurley had competed in four DL races in Australia, where he acquired a new pet - Photo.) Why? Because then he'd be eligible for a Rookie of the Year nomination. And if he does race, and his result is similar to what he had done in his first two tris, he could actually win the award.

This guy is impressive!

So, here's what the 21-year-old from tiny Dent, MN, has done in his first two non-drafting races this season: He  blew the doors off the competition, arguably the event's deepest men's  field in the history of the event, at Hoot Lake, then turned in a Sean Cooley-esque effort yesterday at Young Life, his 1:58:43 was 9:06 faster than BRANDEN SCHEEL's runner-up clocking. Scheel is enjoying a breakout season, and was our pick to win.

Hurley was a late registrant.

Unsurprisingly, DAVID LEWIS filled out the men's podium. 

Another late registrant, SARA CARLSON, won the women's Olympic race. Her margin of victory over runner-up JOELLEN KOHLMAN-PETRICK, who like Hurley, rocked socks at Hoot Lake, where she finished just twenty seconds out of first place, was 1:05. (FYI - Kohlman-Petrick won at Average Joe in June.)...

Flat Coke & Bloody Shoes....

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By Sara Carlson (sarastrilife.blogspot.com)

 

Chisago Half IM Race Report - After finishing the Fargo Marathon in May, I struggled with finding my mojo for Triathlon training again. My brain seemed to tell me, “hey, you met your main goal for the year in qualifying for Boston  (like 7 minutes faster than my marathon goal time with a 3:23!), take it easy. So, I had a few key sessions that I slept through or least placed a little lower on the priority list than I should have. I really enjoyed the simplicity of just training my run game over the winter and am looking forward to it again this winter. After a good long off-season, that is!

 

So, for this race, my husband and our youngest 2 kiddos made our way down to the cities on Saturday. We got my packet picked up, checked in to our hotel in Forest Lake and got out and enjoyed some good old-fashioned fun together. The kids had some fun in the pool, we took in a round of mini golf in Taylors Falls & then caught the tail end of a parade in Center City while we ate (@ the Pizza Pub-yummy!). I love it when we get the chance to take in some playtime on race weekend!

 

Toughman Chisago 70.3 race report:  ...

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