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Three MMHs For Rachel Z....

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RACHEL ZILINSKAS

ATHLETE OF THE YEAR - Rachel clearly established herself as our country's premier long distance amateur female triathlete in 2021. She was undefeated in four starts against US competition, winning by ridiculous margins each time. Her only loss, a 2nd-place finish at 70.3 Worlds by 1:13 to decorated German triathlete Danielle Kleiser. Zilinskas richly deserves to be one of the frontrunners for US Athlete of the Year.

FYI - Earlier this month she made her pro debut at Ironman Florida, placing an impressive 8th woman overall in a PR-9:35:04. Proving her pro-readiness, Rachel outraced the fastest amateur womanthere by 33:53.

It needs to be noted that Jenna Horner also received some AOY support, her advocates citing versatility--she excelled in long course, Olympic and sprint races--while Zilinskas concentrated on long distance, and the claim that she raced against deeper fields (Age Group and Collegiate Nationals). In the end, winning and overwhelming margins of victory sealed the deal for Rachel....

PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR - Course record at Ironman Lake Placid - Two of Rachel's efforts-- Course Record at Ironman Lake Placid, 2nd at St. George 70.3 Worlds--were nominated, with her Lake Placid victory receiving unamimous support.  There, she became the first amateur woman in the event's 22-year history to crack the 10-hour mark. Her brilliant 9:52:33 bettered the RSA's Kirsten Schut's 2019 record by 8:41. Moreover, it was 44:53 faster than the 2nd-place amateur woman.

MOST IMPROVED - As recipient of four nominations, and winner in all three of the categories she was nominated in, Rachel was the clear choice for the #1 ranking on 2021 Team MInnesota. For these reasons, Rachel edged out Jenna Horner and Katie Deregnier for the MI.

Next: Men's Athlete of the Year & Most Improved

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