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National Honors For Becky?

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In our Sunday/Monday post we discussed why we believed that GABY BUNTEN will receive a USA Triathlon 2019 Athlete of the Year Honorable Mention. Today, we explain why we think that BECKY YOUNGBERG will be a finalist for USAT Master of the Year.

For women, three age groups comprise the Masters category: 40-44, 45-49, 50-54. And since, with good reason, USAT favors athletes who excel at their National Championships, it is reasonable to assume that the winners of those three Masters categories at Nationals will be the first athletes to be evaluated for the MOY and MOY HMs.

At Cleveland Nationals, decorated distance runner GINGER REINER, 42 (MA), finished 8th overall and won the 40-44 AG. Becky Youngberg, 45 (MN), won the 45-49W, placing 17th overall, and ADRIENNE LEBLANC, 50 (AZ), took the 50-54, and was the 14th fastest woman overall.

Reiner and Youngberg also raced at Sprint Nationals, and once again, won their respective AGs. As two-time National Champions, Ginger and Becky were likely post-season honorees.

Further research revealed that Reiner won her AG at the Lausanne World Championships (Olympic distance), and LeBlanc did likewise, beating 2000 Olympic Triathlon champion Brigitte McMahon of Switzerland in the process....

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More National Recognition for Gaby?

 

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We believe that, according to typical USA Triathlon criteria, that at least four Minnesotans should receive post-season honors. Since most roads to recognition go through Age Group Nationals, we are fairly certain that, in our opinion, deserving athletes like Nationals-skippers Hanna Grinaker, Cathy Yndestad and Patrick Parish, will not receive recognition for their excellent triathlon resumes, though we believe that Parish will, once again, be honored for his duathlon excellence.

The four Minnesotans that we believe will receive honors are GABY BUNTEN, BECKY YOUNGBERG, PARISH and TONY SCHILLER.

Today, we will talk about Gaby, who we feel deserves an Open AOY Honorable Mention, a status she earned in 2018, and which came as a total surprise to the MTN and MMH guys. Because she had won AG Nationals and placed 2nd overall at Worlds, along with big wins at South Beach and Arizona 70.3, we thought she was a lock to win the AOY, an award given to Kirsten Sass of McKenzie, Tennessee. Gaby faced Sass twice in 2018 and beat her both times. Moreover, Sass had turned 40, making her a favorite in the MOY race, not the Open class....

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National Honorees - 2012 - 2018...

 

Hihlheadshot.pngstorically, Minnesotans have been prominent among the USA Triathlon's post-season honorees. In 2015, for instance, eleven of our state's best multisporters earned 12 honors. Granted, that was a special year, owing no doubt to the fact that Duathlon Nationals were staged in St. Paul. USAT leans heavily on it's own championship races, as well as larger events that are sanctioned by the Federation, when determining their "Athlete of the Year" selections. 

We respect their criteria, though it differs from MMH rationale, which favors head-to-head results, and gives full weight to performances in non-sanctiond races. 

Today we are listing Minnesota's honorees during the period between 2012 and 2018, though not before we drop some names of Minnesota athletes that were honored prior to that period: Cathy Yndestad, David Thompson, Brian Bich, Devon Palmer, Tony Schiller, Jan Guenther, Kevin O'Connor...

Noting that Minnesotans were not well-repped in 2017 and 2018, we are optimistic that when the 2019 AOYs are announced, four of our state's athletes will be featured. We contend that that foursome fulfilled USAT's criteria, and we would be shocked if any of them were overlooked. We will feature those athletes in our next post....

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Happy New Year From MTN!

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Acari Bowls, Manta Rays and Handfuls of Vaseline....

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By David Koppel(davidkoppeltriathlon.blogspot.com)

Kelsie and I traveled to the IRONMAN World Championships on the Big Island of Hawaii on Tuesday, October 8th, 2019, with no kids! The race was on Saturday, so it gave me three full days to get all ready and acclimate a bit with the heat I’d be racing in. We also enjoyed some touristy stuff in the days leading up, as I didn’t want to make every single minute about my race. Kelsie sacrificed plenty for me to be able to qualify for Kona and we both wanted to have a relaxing trip in paradise. If you want to just hear about the vacation, read the days leading up to the race and the days following!

The cliff notes version of the race is: Swim went as expected even with choppy conditions, bike was slow and legs were not feeling strong, and run was a mess for 2 hours until I pulled it together a bit for the last 14 miles. Slowest and hardest Ironman by 70 minutes, but an amazing experience that I’ll never forget.

Since this is a long post, I’ll start by thanking my wife, Kelsie, for her unconditional support with training and racing across the US. She didn’t hesitate when we found out I had a slot to Kona and said I had to take it! My in-laws were also...

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