Dan and Bella...


On Facebook a few months ago, Mike Buenting suggested that the MMH Committee add specific Performance of the Year honors for Juniors, Masters and Grand Masters.
He was especially interested in the Junior Performance of the Year because his daughter had been nominated, and subsequently won, the JOY.
We told Mike that we liked his idea.
We did not reassemble the MMH Committee to consider “Category POYs,” but here are ywo of the Performances that we, the MTN Guys, would recommen

This was an easy one. One performance rose above all the rest, thanks in part to the fact that the field was narrowed by the absence of Matt Payne, and the low racing volume of Kevin O'Connor. Those guys can always be counted on to deliver national-level results.

Still, Matt and Kevin would have had to turn in super efforts to be competitive with DAN ARLANDSON's Ironman Wisconsin performance. There the 43-year-old Burnsvillian placed 3rd overall among amateur men in a time of 9:20:31, which might be a state men's masters record....


ISABELLA BUENTING, 16, raced in five regional triathlons in 2019, and set junior course records in four of them. She was clearly the brightest star among our state's teen girls.
So, which of her efforts deserved the 2019 Junior POY Honor?

Here's a breakdown of the data:bellacap.png
- 4th overall / Junior CR at Buffalo Sprint. Bella's time was 1:08:33. The previous CR was Taylor Lundquist's 1:10:49, set in 2017, the year Taylor won the Junior of the Year Honor. Also, the highest placing prior to 2019 by a Minnesota junior was 6th in 2015 (Lauren Steinke).
- 3rd overall / Junior CR at Lake Minnetonka. Bella's time was 1:13:15. An extraordinary result. The previous Junior mark was 1:17:39 (Kristina Swenson in 2016).
- 1st overall woman at Heart of the Lakes Sprint. Bella's terrific 48:44 was a five-second improvement on Beth Zirbes' junior record set way back in 2003. For those who don't know, Beth was our state's all-time most decorated female junior. She won the JOY an unprecedented four times. More impressive still is the fact that Bella's time is the 2nd fastest women's time in the 34-year history of the Heart of the Lakes Sprint. Only former National Champion Gaby Bunten (45:41 in 2018) has gone faster on this course.
- 4th overall / Junior CR at Maple Grove Olympic. Bella's time was 1:10:09, which lowered her division's nine-year-old record by 4:40.

So, which of these efforts would you support for the Female Junior POY honor? Our vote goes to Miss Buenting's Heart of the Lakes result. Of her four truly special efforts, her HOLT result, to us, is the specialest.

More unofficial Divisional POYs will be revealed on Tuesday.

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