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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....

Career Change....

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By USA Triathlon

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — U.S. Olympic gold medalist Gwen Jorgensen today announced her plans to officially transition from professional triathlon and pursue a medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the marathon. Jorgensen, who last year in Rio de Janeiro earned the United States’ first-ever Olympic gold medal in the sport of triathlon, makes the announcement after not competing in the 2017 season to give birth to her first child in August.

“Gwen will be forever remembered crossing the finish line in Rio to claim the gold medal at the 2016 Olympics, a true watershed moment in the history of USA Triathlon,” said Barry Siff, President of the USA Triathlon Board of Directors. “But she has also personified the ultimate role model for all athletes by continually giving back to the sport through efforts like the Gwen Jorgensen Scholarship. On behalf of every triathlete in the U.S., I wish Gwen – as well as her husband Patrick, and their new son Stanley – great joy, success and happiness in every possible way.”

“USA Triathlon brought me into this sport, and now I’m incredibly privileged to step away at the top, with an Olympic gold medal. Though my near-future training will be focused on winning gold in the marathon in Tokyo, I will always be a part of the USA Triathlon family and look forward to embracing every opportunity to help grow the sport of triathlon. In fact, I hope this new adventure in running will play a big part in doing exactly that,” Jorgensen said.

Why Diane?

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2017 MINNESOTA MULTISPORT AWARDS – The next category needing explanation is female MASTER OF THE YEAR, which was won by DIANE HANKEE (40, Lino Lakes). Her challengers were Christel Kippenhan (52, Bemidji), Andrea Myers (41, Plymouth) and Julia Weisbecker (51, Mendota Heights).

 

Let's compare the resumes:

  • CHRISTEL KIPPENHAN – This was Christel's third MOY nomination. Her highlights included an overall women's win in Masters record time at Superior Man 41.5 and a overall 3rd at Brewhouse Sprint. Her loss to fellow nominee Julia at Liberty Olympic didn't help her chances here.

  • ANDREA MYERS – Another excellent year; another MOY nomination. Finishing 12th in the Team Minnesota voting made her the clear runner-up for the award this year. Her resume featured two outright wins (Liberty Olympic and Hopkins Royal), plus overall women's podiums at Timberman and Green Lake Olympic, and a Top 5 at Heart of the Lakes. She excelled in dus, as well as tris.

  • JULIA WEISBECKER – Like Myers, Julia also was an MOY nominee in 2016. Based on racing volume, the former Dartmouth tennis star appeared to be out of the running for a nomination. She announced after her Masters record effort at Superior Man Half that her tri season was over, but changed her mind and entered the Square Lake Triathlon two week later, where she finished 2nd overall. Check out her final resume: 2nd overall woman @ Liberty Olympic, 2nd overall woman @ Square Lake, 5th woman @ Superior Man - MR, 7th woman - 1st Master - @ Minneapolis. Very nomination-worthy stuff....

Why Matt?

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2017 MINNESOTA MULTISPORT AWARDS - Today we talk about why MATTHEW PAYNE (40, Golden Valley) won the men's MASTER OF THE YEAR AWARD; what, in the minds of the Selectors, gave him the edge over fellow nominees: Brooks Grossinger (40, Mayer), David Holden (47, Hudson, WI), Tony Schiller (59, Eden Prairie) and Chris Tatton (41, Blaine)....

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....

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