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2022 Performances of the Year...

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This post is a cursory look at possible (amateur) Performance of the Year nominations. Only a few performances are highlighted here because both Matt and Damon agreed that these efforts stack up alongside the best in Minnesota multisport history, i.e. performances by the likes of Matt Payne, Dan Hedgecock, Cathy Yndestad etc.

Here are their men's selections:

- HENRY JESSON's 7th place overall finish at Milwaukee Olympic Nationals (1:58:16). For the second year in a row, Henry has excelled at Nationals, outperforming all of his Minnesota peers. Does this effort compare favorably with the AJ's at Green Lake or Preston's at Clearwater? Matt and Damon are still debating this, though Damon calls Henry's performance "believable," whereas AJ's and Preston's bordered on the, hyperbolically speaking, "unbelievable."

- AJ MANNING's course record 1:35:31 at Green Lake Olympic. A truly brilliant performance, one that sliced more than six minutes off Marcus Stromberg's 2012 race record. This was redline effort. A minute ahead of the field after the swim, his lead eventually surpassed 16-minutes when he sped across the finish line. Check out his splits: LINK

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- PRESTON YOUNGDAHL's course record 2:05:27 at Graniteman Clearwater Olympic. On paper, with Preston and AJ in the field, Bennett Isabella's eight-year-old course record was vulnerable. The question was: by how much? A minute, maybe. Well, both men bettered Isabella's mark, AJ by an impressive 1:15; Preston by a whopping 4:04. Nuked records aside, beating AJ is a big deal. Beating him when he's at the top of his game is huge.

Other discussed performances: DAVID KOPPEL's amateur win at Tri West Olympic (1:56:01),  PRESTON YOUNGDAHL's amateur win (1:54:51) at Maple Grove Olympic, ANDY ZABEL's fast win at Hopkins Royal.

Because all three of Heather Lendway's performances this season were POY worthy, the bar for the other women to match or at least approach was impossibly high, but one effort, in the opinion of both Matt and Damon, deserved to be given serious nomination consideration.

- MAGGIE SWANSON's win at Ironman Wisconsin. Minnesota women have rocked at IMOO since its inception in 2002. Michelle Andres and Jan Guenther have won there twice, both in faster times than Maggie's, though only Michelle had won by a greater margin. In 2012, Andres posted a 10:05:30, a Minnesota women's state record, and her margin of victory was almost 20-minutes. Michelle won the Minnesota POY that year. Maggie's 10:48:00 seems a bit pedestrian by comparison, until you factor in the fact that conditions were horrific, as most athletes needed extra hours, not minutes, to complete the course. No other woman cracked the 11-hour mark, and Swanson's eventual margin of victory was 16:33. Both Matt and Damon enthusiastically agree that Maggie's IMOO win deserves a POY nomination.

Several other women's performances were discussed, and both Matt and Damon are considering adding one or two of the following efforts-- CARYN HERRICK's convincing win at Green Lake (WI) Olympic (2:10:49), SHYANNE MCGREGOR's 4th place amateur women's finish at Ironman 70.3 Eagleman (4:29:32). ELAINE NELSON's fast victory at Brewhouse Olympic (2:01:11 for .75 - 40K - 5 mile), PAIGE SCHULZ's win at Ironman Madison 70.3--to their unofficial nominees list. 

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