June 2018 Athletes of the Month...





June was beset by yucky weather and the unfortunate cancellations of great races like Buffalo, Lake Minnetonka and RochesterFest. This made it difficult for athletes to post at least two outstanding efforts during this 30-day period, which is what is necessary for AOM consideration. Many athletes--Sean Cooley, Hanna Grinaker, Matt Payne, Christina Roberts, Becky Youngberg etc. had one truly elite-level effort--and probably would have had more if lightning and cancellations weren't part of the deal.

Still, some managed to fulfill the criteria, thus here are MTN's Athletes of the Month for June, 2018: ...



MALE TRIATHLETE OF THE MONTH - PATRICK PARISH, 33, Minneapolis - The former pro who is a six-time National Champion outperformed the deepest men's field of the year thus far in a MInnesota multi at Lake Waconia. He also placed 2nd against an even stronger field, one that featured a very formidable collegiate group, at Pigman Sprint in Palo, Iowa. His closest challenger for this award was JOSH MORK, whose June scorecard featured podium finishes at Waconia and New Bri, a race he was leading when a wrong turn derailed his victory. CHRISTOPHER BUDAHN was also considered. Though he posted two wins - Eau Claire Sprint and Trinona Sprint--it was concluded that he did not face the quality of competition that Parish and Mork encountered.


FEMALE ATHLETE & MASTER OF THE MONTH - CHERYL ZITUR, 53, Corcoran - In June, Cheryl, a three-time Minnesota Master of the Year, won the Liberty Olympic Triathlon, and placed 5th at Lake Waconia. Her nearest challenger for both the AOM and MOM was SARA RONDORF, 40, who won at New Bri, placed 4th at Waconia and 5th at Liberty Olympic. We gave the nod to Zitur because Liberty Olympic was much more competitive than New Bri, and that her margin over Rondorf in that race was 4:10.


MALE MASTER OF THE MONTH - KEVIN O'CONNOR, 47, Medina - KO podiumed at Liberty Olympic and Lake Waconia. We were especially impressed with his LWT. Not only was he fast (1:23:34) and only two seconds out of 2nd place, he managed to beat a half dozen of our state's best guys.


GRAND MASTER OF THE MONTH - PAM STEVENS, 65, Sartell - Pammy crushed her competition by a 26+ minute margin at Escape from Alcatraz, then followed that with another crushing, this time an age group course record, at Lake Waconia.


MALE JUNIOR OF THE MONTH - CARTER DEICHMAN, 17, Mankato - Carter was a JOY nominee last year, and certainly appears poised to get another this time around. In june, he placed 2nd overall at Trinona Sprint, where he was only 12-seconds behind the winner, and posted an AG win at Waconia.


FEMALE JUNIOR OF THE MONTH - TAYLOR LUNDQUIST, 18, Maple Grove - The 2017 JOY raced twice in June, placing 2nd overall woman at Trinona Sprint (20-seconds out of 1st place), and 10th overall woman at Lake Waconia.

MTN is considering adding a Most Improved category to our monthly AOMs. Obvious candidates for the June 2018 MI would be JOSH MORK, TED TREISE and KRISTINA SWENSON. Treise turned in a 70.3 PR OF 4:15:29 at Eagleman, plus a Top 5 at Lake Waconia. Swenson placed 2nd at  High Cliff Olympic in Wisconsin, and 4th at both Trinona Olympic and Pigman Sprint.


Top Photos (L-R) - Patrick Parish & Cheryl Zitur.

Page 2 Photos (L) - Pam Stevens, (Top R) Kevin O'Connor, (Bottom R) Taylor Lundquist


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