Hanna Versus Gaby...Part II...


Photo - Hanna at HOLT with a guy.


MINNESOTA MULTISPORT HONORS - After winning the POY for his victory at the Apple Duathlon in 2017, WADE CRUSER contacted members of the MMH Committee to state his disagreement. He believed, as did some of the Selectors, that SEAN COOLEY's win at Chisago Half was more deserving.

Some of us rethought our positions, though it was too late to do anything about it. We were comforted by the fact that honoring athletes is inherently controversial, and that strong arguments could be made for both performances, his and Sean's.

Well, determining this year's women's PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR was even controversialier than last year's men's battle for that honor. After it was revealed on MTN last month that HANNA GRINAKER's victory at Heart of the Lakes was selected ahead of GABY BUNTEN's win at the USAT National Championships, we received a bit of expected blowback. One person even wondered why Hanna's win at Minneapolis wasn't selected. After all, she outraced future National Champ Bunten in that event.

Great argument. (One Selector did favor Hanna's Minneapolis effort. And two Selectors stridently believed that Gaby's Nationals win was the POY.)...


More parenthesis: (Bunten's 2nd place / 1st US finish at Worlds was not taken as seriously as her Nationals performance because, historically, World Championship fields that are not staged in the US or Europe do not draw stronger fields that do our National Championships. This undoubtedly is due to travel expense.)


So, why would Hanna's HOLT result rise above the rest of the nominated efforts?

There were several reasons for this:

1. It happened the day after her stunning 2:08:07 win at Minneapolis.

2. Her time at HOLT was 1:39:42. No woman had broken 1:40 in 10 years.

3. The women's amatuer CR is 1:39:16, set by CATHY YNDESTAD in '09, the year she was named US Athlete of the Year.

4. Prior to 2010, Elite Wave athletes were allowed to wear wetsuits, which explains in part, why times have been, on average, slower in the last decade.

5. So, Hanna's performance was, arguably, the best amateur result in the 33-year history of the race.

6. Since 2010, Elite Male/Elite Female time differtentials at HOLT have ranged from 10:25 (2012) to 17:11 (2010). Even Yndestad finished 11:17 behind the fastest amateur male in 2009. Hanna finished just 8:36 behind the men's winner, TOY nominee PATRICK PARISH.

7. The women's field that Hanna beat at HOLT was arguably stronger than the one she beat at Mineapolis.

The Committee took great care when analyzing the nominated performances, and the majority of the Selectors sided with Hanna's HOLT results, over Gaby's "Big Stage" performance. 

Do these arguments presented here erase the controversy? Absolutely not.




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