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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....

 

- 5th overall woman @ Lake Waconia Triathlon - An amazing performance, arguably the POY for 50+ women in Minnesota last season. Her 1:32:58 was an insanely fast time for a woman of Guenther's vintage.

- 7th overall woman at Lake Minnetonka - Jan was faster than all women over the age of 40 except two-time Minnesota Master of the Year nominee Andrea Myers, 41.

- 8th overall woman at Heart of the Lakes - Her 1:52:30 was a divisional CR and would have won the 45-49W and 50-54W AGs.

Though the Selectors loved Stevens' racing volume and quality, and agree that her resume was good enough to win the GMOY in any year that Jan Guenther wasn't in the mix, in the end it was about Jan's world class performances trumping Pam's national class ones. 

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