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Why Nate?

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2017 MINNESOTA MULTISPORT AWARDS - Of the four nominees--JOE ADRIAENS, NATHAN ANSBAUGH, JORDAN ROBY, ANDY WIBERG--few would argue that the man who demonstrated the most improvement in 2017 was Joe Adriaens (photo). Check out his highlights:

  • 3rd @ Chisago – 4:13:26 – PR (prior best 4:58)

  • 4th / 1st non-collegian @ Maple Grove Olympic – 1:59:05 (Olympic PR)

  • 4th @ Gear West Duathlon

  • 7th @ Heart of the Lakes (18th in 2016 – 5+ minute improvement)

  • 9:18:04 @ Ironman Florida (despite mishap resulting in added mileage – this performance will be included on Joe's 2018 scorecard)

Pretty impressive, eh? Then why didn't Adriaens win the MI?

Because the words “Most Improved” are misleading. What they refer to here relate to the number of rungs on the Team Minnesota ladder that an athlete is able to climb.

Let's break it down.

Nathan Ansbaugh (photo below) won the award because he did not make the Team in 2017, but ascended all the way to 3rd in 2017. His resume was good enough to earn MMA nominations for Triathlete of the Year, Long Distance AOY and, of course, MI....

 

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Here are his highlights:

  • 1st @ Lake Minnetonka

  • 1st @ Lake Waconia

  • 3rd @ Minneapolis Olympic

  • 3rd @ Heart of the Lakes

  • 5th @ Superior Man – 4:15:17 – PR

But many have pointed out that injuries resulting in insufficient racing volume, not talent—he podiumed at Gear West and Heart of the Lakes-- explained his not making the Team in 2016. True, but the award is not about aptitude. It is about resume. Ascending all the way to 3rd was undeniably, according to established criteria, MI-worthy.

As for Jordan Roby and Andy Wiberg, both of whom were MI nominees in 2016, their movement on Team Minnesota didn't appear to be dramatic, like Nate's. Jordan climbed from 9th to 7th, and Andy repeated in the #10 position.

What needs to be understood here is that it was harder to make this year's Team than the 2016 squad, thanks in part to Ansbaugh, and Brian Sames' return to Minnesota after a year in Illinois. At least twenty athletes battled for the Top 10 spots last season, whereas the Committee believed that only thirteen-or-fourteen were part of the discussion in 2016.

Who are the guys we're talking about? David Holden, Josh Mork, Keeghan Hurley, Kevin O'Connor, Chris Tatton, Brett Lovaas, Jason Toth, Joe LaFrance and the guy who placed 11th in the polling: the vastly improved Joe Adriaens.

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