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Rookie Performance of the Year....

 

paigetriangle.pngFew would disagree that Paige Schulz's 10:09:12 third-place finish at Ironman Mont-Tremblant was the 2019 Performance of the Year by a Minnesota rookie. Schulz's 3rd at Chisago in 4:42:17 was a terrific effort, too, as was Caryn Herrick's victory at Hopkins Royal, but Paige's IM performance is at or near near the top of the all-time list of best first-year female multisport performances.

We'll let you be the judge of where it ranks. Eight of the last ten Rookies of the Year have been women, and here are what we consider to be their premier freshman efforts:

2018 – Heather Taylor's rookie POY was her victory at CyMan Triathlon in Bondurant, Iowa. 

2016 – Hanna Grinaker's jaw-dropping 1:30:00 at Lake Waconia, lowering Susie Fox's 2015 CR by 3:05.

2015 – Dani Vsetecka's amateur win at Pigman Half IM (4:41:34).

(In 2014 Nick Nygaard edged Kelly Trom in the polling for ROY.)...

2013 – Nicole Heininger – Her rookie POY? Either her breakout 2nd-place finish against a very deep field at Lake Waconia, or her course record performance at Waseca 1/3 IM.

2012 – Heather Lendway's stunning course record 1:27:32 at Square Lake Sprint, where she placed 3rd overall.

2011 – Ruth Brennan Morrey (photo R)– Amateur victory at the ITU Long Distance World Championships in Henderson, Nevruthnevada.pngada. RBM's margin over amateur runner-up Dana Wagner of Germany was 7:38, and 14:09 ahead of third-place Susan Williams (2004 Olympic bronze medalist!). Ruther closed with a 2:07:44 over the insanely challenging 30K run course, which was 7:38 faster than Wagner's 2nd-place split. Brennan Morrey would have placed 9th in the 27-member women's pro field.

 

2010 ROY – Jenny Shaughnessy's victory at Lake Waconia, or her win at Stumpy Creek in North Carolina, where her Olympic-distance debut produced a time of 2:10:46.

 

For us, the Top 3 rookie efforts by a woman over the last decade, and perhaps for the entire history of multisport racing in Minnesota, are:

1. Ruth Brennan Morrey's World Championships victory in 2011. For us, this was a slam dunk.
2. Paige Schulz's 10:09:12 at Ironman Mont-Tremblant. (Note: Paige's M-T was not her IM debut. She had also done Ironman Wisconsin in 2018—her Rookie season included her two 2018 performances *--where she placed 25th in 10:58:40.)
3. Heather Lendway's amateur CR at Square Lake in 2012, nipping Hanna Grinaker's course record 1:30:00 in 2016 by a very narrow margin.

 

* By MMH rules, if an athlete races less than three times in their first season, those results will be applied to their second season resume. This rule was applied in 2015, as well as 2019.

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