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Candidates for 2023 Men's Team Minnesota..

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By Goose

Who raced well enough to be included on 2023 Team Minnesota? My job is to compile a list of viable athletes, along with highlight commentary. Then Mav with select the Top 10 men and women. So you know, I favor an alphabetic list, one that does not rank the athletes. Mav, favors a ranked listing. Below are the men being considered for Team Minnesota berths:

JOE ADRIAENS, 35 (photo L) – Joe podiumed at Buffalo Olympic, Clearwater Olympic and Maple Grove Olympic. He was beaten by athletes destined for high places on the 2023 Team. There should be a berth with his name on it.

DAN ARLANDSON, 47 – 2023 Male Master of the Year. He excelled in 70.3 racing, starting with his overall amateur win (2nd behind pro John Reed) at Chisago. His 11th place (2nd Master) among amateurs at Gulf Coast was also impressive. His Des Moines 70.3 effort was solid, but he was beaten by fellow Minnesota master, Brandon Lee. Note: Team Minnesota athletes are not age-graded.

NOAH BILLINGS, 17 – Two-time Junior of the Year, Noah won two races in 2023. That he did not beat Minnesota athletes that are being considered for Team spots, works against him.

TIM BONTRAGER, 31 – Two podium finishes against good competition in Wisconsin triathlons plus a very fast 2nd at Maple Grove Olympic has me recommending Tim for a berth....

SEAN COOLEY, 39 – A former TOY and #1 on Team Minnesota, Sean's return to triathlon has been successful, though not quite up to his standards, circa 2014 – 2018. Still, he won three of the five Minnesota races he entered last season and, in hindsight, should have been nominated for Triathlete of the Year. I recommend at Top 5 placement for Sean on this year's team.

BROOKS GROSSINGER, 46 – Two wins in four starts, Brooks once again focused on short, fast races. Arlandson won the MOY, but Brooks may have a better shot at a Team berth.

BRANDON LEE, 41 (photo R) – Meteoric improvement over the last few seasons earned Brandon two nominations last year. He raced often, and at every distance. If age-grading figured in our calculations, Lee would finish in the middle of our list. As it stands, though, there should be a place for him (and Brooks) on the 2023 Team.

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AJ MANNING, 35 – Three sweet efforts a 70.3 plus a CR at Buzz Ryan were highlights. He should land a Top 4-5 spot.

COREY NYGAARD, 24 – Corey won two of the three Minnesota tris he did in 2023. The fact that he didn't compete against established regional elites, Spencer Syvertson notwithstanding, works against him. We hope to see him race at, say Timberman, Trinona or Maple Grove next year to prove that he's ready to bark with the big dogs.

SPENCER SYVERTSON, 27 -Spencer won two races in '23, and his 2nd at Lakes Country was a goodie. That he didn't fare well against Team Minnesota-quality competition at Timberman works against him.

PETER WIKMAN, 29 - Minnesota's Most Improved recipient based on his ascent among Team Minnesota peers. A win and two seconds against stout competition, plus a 70.3 PR were highlights.

DILLON WILLIAMS, 28 - Three Olympic races. Three sub-2-hour performances.

PRESTON YOUNGDAHL, 32 - 2022 and 2023 Triathlete of the Year. Undefeated against Minnesota competition in 2023. Slam-dunk #1.

 

NOTE: Several Team Minnesota vets were ineligible in 2023 because they didn't record at least three outstanding, i.e. competitive with the elite standards established for the event in question, performances. In alpha order, they are: Josh Blankenenheim, Stuart Gildea, Henry Jessen, Andrew Kershaw, David Koppel, Kris Spoth, Kyle Swenson, Michael Weissenborn and Andy Zabel.

 

 

 

 

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