Let the Controversy Commence...



2017 MINNESOTA MULTISPORT AWARDS - Most of the MMA explanation posts have dealt with categories that weren't especially controversial. Taylor, Keeghan, Jan, Matt, Diane, Gaby, Nathan and Sean were basically clear-cut choices.

Three of the next four categories, however, are extremely disputable. 

Today we'll attempt to justify the controversial selection of WADE CRUSER's victory at Apple Duathlon as the male PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR.

Matt Payne was the Emma Bingo winner at this year's MMA Party. He correctly guessed 11 of the 14 categories, for which he pocketed $50. One that he missed was male POY. After the event he explained to two members of the MMA Committee why he believed that though Wade's selection was reasonable, Sean Cooley's victory at Chisago Half was a better choice. He explained that Sean's 4:06 was the fastest 70.3 time by a Minnesota male in 2017, AND that he was able to outrace decorated pro Daniel Bretscher, who is best known for his long  course prowess. Daniel is a 3:52 half, and 8:19 full, guy....


Great arguments, ones that had been considered by the Committee during their deliberations.

Matt then argued that Wade's win at Apple was assisted by several facts. Firstly, Cruser already had raced in two dus prior to Apple. And, he beat pros Patrick Parish and Bretscher, neither of whom had raced prior to Apple, AND Patrick was not at the top of his game, and Daniel is an infrequent duathlete.

Now it was the Selector's turn to argue.

The first thing they noted was that the factors that Payne mentioned--no rust versus rust, high fitness versus medium or low fitness--were not admissible. It was not for the Selectors to decide who was rustless and fit and who was rusty and unfit. Beating pros, especially Parish, who is the most decorated US pro duathlete since 2010, is a big deal, as is beating MN DOY nominee Kris Spoth (by 2:08) and Minnesota Triathlete of the Year Sean Cooley (by 2:59) and two-time Most Improved nominee Jordan Roby.

Head-to-head excellence, i.e. beating credentialed athletes, is the criterion that Selectors lean on most heavily, and Wade outraced more high-profile athletes at Apple than Cooley did at Chisago (or Minneapolis, for that matter).

This raises the question of why didn't Matt Payne win the POY for his victory at Buffalo Olympic. The field was excellent, featuring four of the Top 5 guys on Team Minnesota. 

Payne's win at Buffalo in 2016 against the same guys won the POY, so why not a repeat? The Committee argued that Matt's 2016 effort, which resulted in a course record, was superior to the one he turned in this year. In addition to the CR, Payne's margin of victory was 2:40 in '16. His MOV in 2017 was 39-seconds. 

The purpose of these explanation posts is to share the reasons for the selections. It's up to the rest of us to agree or disagree. 

Did the two Selectors change Payne mind? Does Matt now agree that Cruser was the best choice in the male POY category?

Probably not, and that's cool. The purpose of the MMAs is to celebrate the greatness of our state's athletes and events. And to encourage discussion.


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