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Why Gaby?

  

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2017 MINNESOTA MULTISPORT AWARDS - All four women's MOST IMPROVED nominations were well-deserved, but in the view of all of the Selectors, GABY BUNTEN was the clear choice for the MI award.

Let us explain.

MAGGIE WEISS and KELLY TROM are first-time MI nominees. Both narrowly missed berths on Team MInnesota in 2016, (Kelly came close in 2015, as well) but made this year's Team. Maggie, runner-up for Rookie of the Year in 2016, moved from 11th up to 9th; Kelly moved from 12th to 10th. Though the movement wasn't extreme, what was clear was that both athletes raced at a higher level in 2017. Trom held her own against established Team Minnesota athletes, and lowered her 70.3 personal best from 4:44:30 to 4:40:58. Despite some bad luck and a sub-par performance or two, Weiss raced often and aggressively. Podiums at Lake Minnetonka, Heart of the Lakes and Maple Grove were highlights. Racing volume plus the fact that she beat Trom at HOLT explains their respective Team Minnesota placements.

Then there was NICOLE HEININGER.

Here is Nicole's Team MN history: 8th in 2013, the season she was named Rookie of the Year; 8th in 2014; 10th in 2015; ineligible in 2016 (temporary relocation). Very solid, right? In 2017, she upped her game substantially, winning four times, setting one course record and lowering her 70.3 PR. One Selector believed that she deserved a Triathlete of the Year nomination and to rank 4th on Team Minnesota.

In the end, she placed 5th on the Team. Moving into the Top 5 is a big deal, one that made her the MI runner-up....

 

Gaby's win here was a function of moving from 6th on the Team in 2016 (5th in 2015) all the way up to the #1 spot. Movement within the Top 5-6 is very hard to accomplish. 

Here's what was special--Triathlete of the Year special--about Gaby's 2017 resume: 1. Three of her six races were Performance of the Year nomination-worthy; two of those efforts earned POY nominations. 2. She cracked the overall Top 5 at Nationals. In this century, only three Minnesota women--Heather Lendway (twice), Cathy Yndestad (twice) and Gaby--can make that claim. 

Here are her highlights with comments:

- 1st @ Life Time South Beach Triathlon - 9-minute (!) margin of victory over Brazilian runner-up Carlo Moreno, a former Oympic triathlete.

- 1st amateur / 2nd overall (behind RBM) at Trinona - Margin of victory: 11:40!

- 1st @ Minneapolis Triathlon - 2:08:34! (Beat likely US DOY and US AOY HM Danielle Dingman of Missouri, and 2016 Minnesota Triathlete of the Year Hanna Granaker)

- 5th @ USAT Nationals

 

 

 

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