2021 TEAM MINNESOTA - MENheanryhead.png

Several years back, a prominent Minnesota triathlete suggested that Team Minnesota athletes should not be ranked. Instead, they should be listed alphabetically. Rankings can easily be misunderstood and often unnecesariy controversial because many of the spots are interchangeable, i.e. it is not uncommon for, say, the resumes of the 4th through seventh-ranked athletes to be quantitatively equal. For instance, should AJ MANNING be ranked ahead of HENRY JESSEN , or vice versa? Should Henry's outstanding Nationals performances outweigh AJ's regional wins and course records?

So, let's give the alphabetical format a try and see if that sticks. Remember, this list is based on competitive performances and consistency, not reputation or past history.  Also note that the reduction in races, and other factors (life!, pandemics), have eliminated many of the elite "ususal suspects." Some chose not to race this season. Others raced less frequenty, thus they didn't meet minimum "volume" requirements (3 outstanding / competitive performances *). For those reasons, as in 2020, Team Minnesota will be comprised of five members, not 10. ...


- TIMOTHY BONTRAGER (photo top L) - Five regional wins and two sub-2-hour Olympic performances. Nominations: AOY and MI.ajcap.png

- HENRY JESSEN (photo Top R) - Henry outperformed all of his Minnesota peers at both Olympic and Sprint Nationals. His Top 5s at Lake Minnetonka and Timberman rounded out his ourdtanding freshman season. MMHs - Rookie of the Year, Performance of the Year (Sprint Nationals).

DAVID KOPPEL (photo L) - Undefeated in regional action, each time by corpulent margins. Nominations: AOY, MI, POY. MMHs - AOY and MI. 

AJ MANNING (photo L- ballcap) - Three wins, two of which crushed previous course records. Solid performances at Sprint and Olympic Nationals, too.


kaylehair.pngKYLE SWENSON  (photo R) - Kyle, 19, proved himself to be our state's all-time most successful male junior, the only male teen to be nominated for AOY and earn a lofty berth on Team Minnesota. Big wins at Sarasota Sprint, Lake Minnetonka, Timberman Sprint and Maple Grove Olympic, coupled with fast times at Sprint and Collegiate Nationals, made for the kind of season that is unlikely to be matched by a fellow teen  for many years to come. Nominations: AOY, JOY, MI, POY. MMHs- JOY.

HM (Alpha) - Josh Blankenheim, Brooks Grossinger, Jake Keehan, Brad Woodford.



KORTNEY HAAG - Winner of three of the four races she entered, two at our state's most challenging half IMs, plus placing 2nd at Heart of the Lakes justified her multiple nominations. Nominations: AOY and Master of the Year. HMs - MOY.

CARYN HERRICK - Caryn had excellent results at Olympic (Buffalo), Sprint (HOLT) and IM (5th @ Ironman Wisconsin) in 2021. Her win at Heart of the Lakes was special and pushed her slightly ahead of Diane Hankee for a spot on Team Minnesota.

JENNA HORNER - Top 10s at both Sprint and Olympic Nationals, plus 2nds at Ironman Maine 70.3 and Rev 3 Williamsburg made her a shoo-in for her three nominations. Her pro debut in California earlier this month proved that she was ready to Level-up. Nominations: AOY, MI, POY.

SHYANNE MCGREGOR - Due to the reduced number of races this year, the MMH Committee decided to go with three nominations in each category, rather than four as in year's past. Shyanne would have been the 4th AOY nominee. Two wins in four starts, one of which was a POY-worthy effort (HITS Sarasota Half IM), made her a Team Minnesota shoo-in. 

RACHEL ZILINSKAS - Rachel's resume was "near-perfect," if you call her 2nd at 70.3 Worlds (1st US) an imperfect performance, that is. Three major wins, one resultig in her being crowned North American 70.3 champion, and another crushing Ironman Lake Placid's amateur course record proved that she was ready for pro racing. Her professional debut resulted in a sweet 8th place finish (9:35:04!) on a tough day at Ironman Florida. Nominations: AOY, MI, POY (2). MMHs - AOY, MI, POY (9:52:33 amateur CR at Ironman Lake Placid).

HM (Alpha) - Katie Deregnier, Diane Hankee, Elaine Nelson

    Kortney                    Caryn                       Jenna                      Shyanne                  Rachel