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Katie, Jenna & Rachel...

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2021 MINNESOTA MULTISPORT HONORS - Today we reveal the three women nominatedin the MOST IMPROVED category, which measures which athletes are "climbing the elite ladder," that is, they are perceived to have either "arrived,"  i.e. demonstrated that they are competitive with the established elite amateur tri / du athletes in our state, or are on the verge of doing so. It also applies to those Team Minnesota members who have elevated their positions. For instance, 2019 Team MInnesota members RACHEL ZILINSKAS, who was earned the MI honor that year, and JENNA HORNER, will place much higher on the Team this year, thus their upward mobility is worthy  of MI consideration this time around. 

So, in alpha order, here are the official 2021 Female Most Improved nominees and their highlights:

KATIE DEREGNIER, 33, Farmington (photo)

- 2nd overall woman @ Buffalo Olympic

- 2nd overall woman @ Maple Grove Olympic

- 6th amateur woman @ Des Moines ...

COMMENT: Katie's been on the MMH radar since 2017. Her 2019 season was strong, and his year she blossomed, beating Team MInnesota-level competition at the three events listed here.

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JENNA HORNER, 23, Eden Prairie (photo R)

- 1st @ Harvest Sprint (MA)

- 2nd amateur woman @ Ironman 70.3 Maine - 4:30:41

- 2nd @ Rev 3 Williamsburg Olympic (VA)

- 5th overall woman @ USA Triathlon Olympic Nationals (WI)

- 5th overall woman @ College Nationals (CA)

- 10th overall woman @ USA Triathlon Sprint Nationals

COMMENT: Jenna's done the work, and it is truly paying off. She's considering a pro career in 2022, though it is our belief that if she remained as an amateur for one more year, she would be a finalist for US Athlete of the Year.

 

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RACHEL ZILINSKAS, 26, Minneapolis (photo L)

- 1st amateur woman @ Ironman 70.3 St. George (N. American Champs)

- 1st amateur woman @ Des Moines Triathlon 

- 1st amateur woman @ Ironman Lake Placid - 9:52:33 - amateur course record

- 2nd overall amateur woman / 1st US woman @ Ironman 70.3 World Championships (St. Geoege, UT)

COMMENT: Rachel came into the 2021 season with a 4:56:34 personal best at 70.3, and 10:54:55 at Ironman. She ended the season as the premier female amateur long distance racer in the country. Wow!

 

Two other athletes deserved to be mentioned, as in most other years, they would have been officially nominated. They are:

 

LISA FILZEN, 32, Duluth (photo R) filzenlisa.png

- 2nd @ Buzz Ryan

- 3rd @ Brewhouse Olympic

- 6th @ Timberman Olympic

- 10th overall woman @ Ironman Wisconsin

COMMENT: Until this year, Lisa had only dabbled in triathlon. This year she got serious and her results were impressive. While her improvement was more dramatic than Katie's, Katie was racing alongside, and sometimes ahead of, Team MInnesota woman, and will likely land a spot on this year's Team. We suspect that Lisa is one year away fom doing the same thing.

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KRISTEN HAWKINS, 32, St. Paul (photo L)

- 1st @ Oakdale Du (Long Course)

- 1st @ Manitou Olympic

- 1st @ One Last tri Olympic

- 2nd @ Chisago Sprint

- 6th @ Maple Grove Olympic

- 9th @ Buffalo Olympic

COMMENT: On paper, Kristen's 2019 resume did not portend the level of improvement that she demonstrated this year. What stood in the way of a nomination this year was the fact that Katie outraced her in their two meetings. 

 

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