Shocked & Unconvinced...


By Wade Cruser

I thought this would be too long for the comment section, so if you like it,  feel free to post it.

I, like Matt Payne,  had Sean’s 4:06 at Chisago on my EMMA Bingo sheet for POY, as I’m sure most did. 

When Jerry called my name I was baffled.  Almost positive he said the wrong name, but sure enough my name was on the award.  So for the last month I’ve been refreshing Minnesotatrinews.com nonstop, waiting for the explanation.  In that time I’ve tried to put together an argument, that would justify me winning, to me.   

I’m a results nerd, so I put together the top 20 times at each event since 2006.  Now I’m sure you’ll say, “ but Wade, weather is never consistent, and can cause changes in race times from year to year”.   I do agree whole heartedly, but I think with a large enough sample size then it’s not as big of a factor.   I would say that 10 years is a good chunk, and wouldn’t you know it, we have 11, perfect!! So buckle your seat belt, because here we go. ...


Top 10 amateur times since  2006



1. 1:20:45 Matt Payne- 2015

2.  1.21.04 Patrick Parish - 2012

3.  1.21.31 Dan Hedgecock - 2011

4.  1.21.48 Wade Cruser - 2017

5. 1:22:00 Jesson Baumgartner - 2012

6. 1:22:17 Tom Jeffrey - 2007

7.  1:22:18 Patrick Parish - 2015

8. 1:22:28 Matt Payne - 2016

9. 1:22:40 Patrick Parish - 2017

10. 1:22:46 Joshua Merrick - 2009



1.  4:04:27 Tim Hola - 2014

2.  4:05:10 Eric Engel - 2015



3.  4:05:48 Jonathan Balabuck -2006

4.  4:06:19 Dan Hedgecock - 2012

5.  4:06:52 Sean Cooley - 2017

6.  4:06:53 Paul Eicher - 2011

7.  4:06:59 Jeremy Sartain - 2007

8.  4:07:59 Joshua Riff - 2010

9.  4:08:01 Jared Woodford - 2012

10. 4:09:04 Sean Cooley - 2014

* Chisago 2009 had 4 guys all under 4 hrs but the swim splits and run splits seemed suspicious so I tossed that year out. (ED. Courses were short in 2009.)


So let me guess. You’re saying to yourself, “okay, so what?”  Well, when I first started trying to justify it in my head. I knew that my time at Apple was the fourth best amateur time in course history.  My theory was that my time must have been more impressive in the history of the race than Sean’s was in the history of Chisago. I was kind of right.  Mine being fourth best and Sean’s fifth, but what does that really mean?  Well, what if I compare the time gaps between our times and the course best times. Mine 00:01:03, Sean’s 00:02:25..... hhhmmm. Mine is less, but the race is also shorter, so one could safely assume that if Apple was the same length as Chisago that my gap would then be greater.  Apple is 26.7 miles, and Chisago is 70.3.  Chisago is well over 2.5 times longer than Apple, so if you take 01:03 x 2.5 you 02.37.5, which means that Sean’s gap to first place is  less and more impressive than mine. 

What does that all mean? I’m not sure. 

Then this morning (Monday)I was finally able to read the reasoning. I’m still not convinced.  I would, however, like to rebuttal some of the points Matt had. 

1. Sean had the fastest 70.3 of 2017. True, but it’s POY not 70.3 POY. Also, Sean has gone faster at the distance twice. 

What does that all mean? I’m not sure. 

2. Rust, I don’t buy it. For me there is no rust in multisport.  I come from a wrestling and football background, where techniques needed to be practiced constantly to be sharp and ready for competition. The closest multisport gets to that is our swim stroke. If I don’t swim for a week my stroke feels sloppy, not sharp, even rusty. As a whole that’s  not the case in multisport. You’re either fit or you’re not for the race.  

What does that all mean? I’m not sure.

3. Patrick wasn’t at the top of his game. That could be very true, but if you like results like I do, they suggest something else.   In 2017 Patrick had his 3rd fastest time ever at Apple. Faster than 2016 when a few weeks prior to Apple he had won the Elite title at USAT Long Course Du Nationals.  Patrick also recorded his fastest Apple bike split ever in 2017.  He was :30 seconds faster in 2017 than his next fastest In 2012. 2012 is when he won USAT Duathlon Nationals a month prior.  Also, at that race he out biked Lionel Sanders. Yes, the Lionel Sanders who breaks the sound barrier every pedal stroke.  Granted, Lionel wasn’t the strongest cyclist in multisport at that time, but a fun fact to know.  So was Patrick at or near the top of his game? I have no clue. 

What does that all mean? I’m not sure. 

Congratulations, if you’ve made it this far, you have a better understand of how my brain works. 

Well I guess this is the part where I tell you if all of the research, and analyzing has solidified me receiving the POY In my own mind?  Who should have the award?? 

Fuck if I know.  No matter how much research and debate goes into it, it will always be subjective.  I will say this, I think that a performance that happens early in a year can be slightly diminished by the end of a year. Especially when Minnesota has so many great athletes turning in numerous outstanding performance throughout the season.  That will always make the MMA selectors jobs’ difficult. 

Now, I’m going to be completely honest.  I would have given the award to Sean.  For me, Apple isn’t a big deal because I did it.  I know it’s something achievable. A 4:06 on the other hand, I can’t see myself doing that. It doesn’t seem achievable. Which makes it a bigger deal in my head.  I know Sean has gone faster, but 4:06 is still crazy!  I’m going to share with you my text I sent Sean after I saw the result. 

“Holy shit!  Putting 4 minutes into a Pro?!? Hell of a race man!”

With all that being said. I would once again like to thank the MMA committee for the honor of POY.  I’m still shocked. 


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