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2018 Men's Team Minnesota: How & Why?

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MINNESOTA MULTISPORT HONORS - What needs to be understood at the outset is that TEAM MINNESOTA athletes are ranked by resume only, not reputation, i.e. who is perceived to be better than whom.

The way the team is determined is this: all Committee members independently evaluate the resumes of the 20-or-so (per gender) candidates. Each Selector then submits his or her list to the Chairman, who totals the points according to an athlete's placements. For instance, five Selectors ranked WADE CRUSER 1st, with two ranking him 2nd behind SEAN COOLEY. Wade, therefore, received 9 total points (5 x1, 2 x 2). Cooley finished 2nd with 12 point (2 x 1, 5 x 2).

Below is 2018 men's Team Minnesota with commentary:

1. WADE CRUSER - Named Triathlete of the Year. Nominated in three MMH categories (TOY, DOY, POY). Won six races in 2018, five in course record time....

 

2. SEAN COOLEY - the 2017 TOY is runner-up for that award in 2018. Won three of the five triathlons he entered, placing 2nd on the other two occasions. Only lost to one Minnesotan: Patrick Parish at Lake Waconia. Beat Wade in their two head-to-heads. Excelled at half IM.

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3. PATRICK PARISH - The former pro was a clear choice for the #3 spot. He recorded the 34th and 45th multisport wins of his career in 2018, one earning him the POY (Lake Waconia), the other (HOLT) a State Champion title. 

4. KEVIN O'CONNOR - In five tri starts in 2018, Kevin never missed the podium, with a big win at Chisago Sprint where he outraced Matt Payne and Josh Blankenheim. The 47-year-old set three Masters Records, his 1:56:05 in a 2nd place (to Cruser) effort at Maple Grove Olympic was arguably the male masters POY last season.

5. TED TREISE - Runaway winner of the 2018 Most Improved award, Ted's stunning late season victory at Augusta (GA) 70.3 in 4:08:29 lifted him from a tentative 8th place to 5th, where he even managed to slip in front of TOY / MOY nominee Payne. His 2nd (to Cooley) at Superior Man (4:13:03 despite a very long swim) was also an excellent result, and his Top 5s at Apple and Lake Waconia demonstrated that he can be a force in shorter tris and duathlons.

6. MATT PAYNE - Recipient of more MMHs (14!) than any other Minnesota male, two of the Selectors believed that he deserved the #5 spot, though neither was unhappy with Ted's final placement. Payne's scorecard featured three regional wins and two 2nds, one behind #1-ranked Cruser, the other behind #4-ranked O'Connor. His victory at Hopkin's Royal established a new course record. Had he won, or podiumed, at Lake Waconia, instead of crashing (DNF), his rank here would have been no lower than 5th because he would have outraced Treise. Had he outraced O'Connor at LWT, his likely ranking would have been 4th.

7. JOSH BLANKENHEIM (photo R) & 8. JORDAN ROBY (top photo) - Thus far we noted that the there was a battle for the Top Spot between  Cruser and Cooley, and a great three-way battle for the 4th through 6th spots. Most Committee members considered the 7th and 8th spots to be basically interchangeable, with Blank ultimately edging Jordan Roby for the 7th spot. In regional action, Josh podiumed in four of the six races he entered. For the first time in at least five years, though, JB did not win a race. Why then didn't Jordan, who won two races--Timberman Olympic and Turtleman Olympic--in 2018, plus claim a podium step at St. Paul Olympic (1:57:52) where he gave Cruser and Payne a run for their money, take 7th? It was argued that Blank raced in more competitive events, claiming podium finishes at Brewhouse and Lakes Country (behind Cruser), as well as Heart of the Lakes (behind Parish and Cooley) and Chisago Sprint (behind O'Connor and Payne). The only time Roby faced fellow Team Minnesotans was at St. Paul.

9. JOE ADRIAENS - Joe narrowly missed a spot (11th) in 2017, but was too successful not to include in 2018. His thirds at Chisago (4:14 - behind Aussie star Matt Hutchinson and Cooley) and Superior Man (4:16 - behind Cooley and Treise) were highlights, as was his 4th at Heart of the Lakes (behind Parish, Cooley and Blankenheim). He certainly held his own against our state's more established elites.

10. SAMUEL HAUCK - The battle for the 10th spot was fierce, with Hauck eventually being elevated over Most Improved nominees Josh Mork and Branden Scheel. As with Blankenheim and Adriaens, the Committee liked his the way he performed against fellow Team Minnesota members, and were very impressed with his convincing win at One Last Tri Olympic  (1:58:09), and 2nd o Payne at Hopkins.

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