Nexts in Line....Part III...


SkinnySki.com photo of Nicole Heininger. Skinnyski.com is an awesome site. If you are not a regular visitor, check it out.


Here is Part III of our "Next in LIne" series of posts, which highlight those athletes who were the next in line for MMA nominations.


- Long Distance AOY - In addition to those who received nominations, three athletes were also considered: JORDAN ROBY, DIANE HANKEE and KELLY TROM. Kelly's effort at Chisago (3rd in 4:40:58) was arguably the best half IM performance from these three, though Jordan's 4:15 70.3 debut at Superior Man was close, but Hankee and Roby duked-it-out for the Next in LIne. Diane's 4th place finishes at both Florida 70.3 and Chisago gave her the slightest edge here.


- Performance of the Year - Men - This was not a toughie. Our pick for Next in Line was KRIS SPOTH's win at Copper Creek Sprint. Why? Because he outraced runner-up Evan Culbert (IA), who won at Minneapolis and placed 6th overall at Nationals, and is a likely 2017 USAT AOY HM, and 3rd placer Reece Linder, 19 (IA), who dominated at Maple Grove Olympic and appears to be a shoo-in for a US Junior of the Year HM.


- Performance of the Year - Women - Our Next in Line was GABY BUNTEN's runaway victory in Life Time - South Beach. Her margin of victory was ridonkulous--9+ minutes--over former Brazilian Olympian Carla Moreno. ...

Nexts in Line....Part II...



Yesterday, we revealed the names and resumes of those talented athletes who just missed receiving MMA nominations in five categories. Today, we'll introduce a few more Nexts-in-Line.


- Most Improved - Men - JOSH MORK, 34, Lino Lakes - Josh had a great season, featuring four podiums in four starts. One of those efforts--Big Lake Sprint--produced a win. Additionally, the only guys that beat him were men who have made Team Minnesota in the past and will make it again this year. Three of the four men who received MI nominations have earned spots on 2017 Team MInnesota. The fourth nominee placed 11th in the Selector's polling, while Josh  finished in 12th place.


- Most Improved - Women - Battling for the Next-in-Line acknowledgement in this category were SARA CARLSON (37, Brainerd) and BETTINA KEPPERS (33, Duluth). Though Carlson won three of the four multis she entered this season, Keppers was the next in line for a nomination, and had, in fact, received support from two selectors. What the Committee preferred about Bettina was the fact that she raced well against some of our region's best women, e.g. Elaine Nelson and Lisa Lendway, and in her repeat victory at Timberman Sprint, she outraced that event's deepest women's field ever.  Carlson's best effort of the year, according to all of the Selectors, was not one of her wins, but her 6th place effort at wetsuitless Chisago Half IM (4:55:44), though her W at Lakes Country was impressive.

Here is Kepper's 2017 Resume:

- 1st @ Timberman Sprint

- 2nd @ Brewhouse Sprint (Behind Lendway) ...

Nexts in Line...Part I...



In a recent conversation, a triathlete asked us why there weren't any 45-49 women nominated in the Master of the Year category. Though we were able to give her a plausible explanation, in hindsight, we wished that we had added a 45-49 nominee.

We argued that Hankee and Myers, both 40-44ers, were slam dunk nominees, as were 50-54s Weisbecker and Kippenhan. We stand by these picks.

She then asked us who was the next in line for a nomination. Great question. Not only did we give her an answer--Jody Quesnell--we decided to create a post highlighting the "next-in-liners" for MMA nominations.


- Junior of the Year - MACY IYER, 13, Edina - Macy is going to be a star. We're convinced of this. Had she had one more great effort in 2017, she would have been nominated. Also, she is one several young female triathletes (under 16) who appear destined for greatness. That list includes Bella Buenting and Simone Lundquist


- Grand Master - MIKE FLYNN, 67, Elk River - Mike had an awesome season, featuring divisional wins at Maple Grove Sprint, Heart of the Lakes, Trinona Sprint and Oakdale Du, but two other men from his AG--perennial GMOY nominee Neil KIng, and Spike Millslagle, who set three AG records--were slam dunk selections. Because of this, if the Committee had chosen a fifth nominee, it would likely have been HELEN GUNTHER, 60, of Excelsior....

Long Distance AOY Nominees....



2017 MINNESOTA MULTISPORT AWARDS - The LONG DISTANCE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AWARD (LDAOY) was inaugurated in 2014. A coed category, nominees must have turned in a least TWO outstanding efforts during the season at races that are 70.3 or longer.

In '14, the winner was Matthew Payne, who won three long distance races: Liberty (4:02:46 - CR), Pigman (4:13) and Leadman Bend (OR) 125 (4:07:57 - CR).

In 2015, the LDAOY was won by Dani Vsetecka, who's long course resume featured wins @ Door Country Half IM and Pigman. 

Last year, Diane Hankee won the award, albeit narrowly, over Erin Farrens. Diane raced in FIVE halves, winning one (LIberty) and podiuming at Muncie (2nd - 4:38:51) and Steelhead (3rd - 4:41).


Who will be the recipient of the 2017 LDAOY? Here are the nominees and their long course highlights:


- NATHAN ANSBAUGH, 30, Minneapolis

2nd @ LIberty Half

5th @ Superior Man - 4:15:17 ...

2017 Triathlete of the Year: Men...



2017 MINNESOTA MULTISPORT AWARDS - Here are the four official male nominees for 2017 TRIATHLETE OF THE YEAR:


- NATHAN ANSBAUGH, 30, Minneapolis (photo below)

Tri Highlights:

1st @ Lake Minnetonka Triathlon

1st @ Lake Waconia Triathlon

2nd @ Liberty Half IM

3rd @ Minneapolis Olympic

3rd @ Heart of the Lakes

5th @ Superior Man Half IM


- JOSH BLANKENHEIM, 37, Duluth (photo L)

Tri Highlights:

1st @ Brewhouse Olympic

2nd @ Liberty Olympic

2nd @ Lake Waconia....

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