Race Coverage

Youth Rocks at Big Lake...

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GRANITEMAN BIG LAKE SPRINT COVERAGE- We are so glad that JENNA HORNER's career path led her back to her ancestral Minnesota. As fans of her growth in the sport of triathlon, we wondered if we'd ever get to watch, in person, her do what she was destined to do: win triathlons.

Well, the 22-year-old George Washington University graduate kicked off her 2020 racing season with her first win on home soil at Big Lake last Saturday. It's wasn't easy, but she, and we, knew that it wouldn't be. Expected to breathe down her neck were junior phenom ISABELLA BUENTING (photo below) and 2019 Rookie of the Year runner-up CARYN HERRICK, and they did just that. Bella and Caryn enjoyed one-minute-plus advantages out of the water, making Horner need to turn up the heat on the bike.

She did, and effectively closed the swim gap. The run is her strong suit, but that didn't make her feel secure. Buenting launched before she did, and would have the honor of finishing ahead of  all the other women.

She didn't hold her clubhouse lead for long, though. Jenna finished shortly after her to claim a 30-second victory. Both women had the pedal all the way to the floor when they entered the park for the final push to the finish. It was thrilling to behold.

Herrick needed another minute to make her bronze medal effort official....

As exciting as the battle for the overall podium, was the emergence of ANNA RAINER, nee MOYNIHAN. Rainer's past results did not suggest that she was quite ready to compete with the frontrunners, thus is was cool to watch her break through last Saturday. Her 4th place finish was only 45-seconds off Herrick's pace. Hopefully Rainer will race at least once more this season, and if so, turns in a similar effort. This would put her in contention for a Most Improved nominatin at season's end.bellabl.png

Buenting is a national class junior talent, but she wasn't the only fast teen in the race last weekend. In fact, six of the Top 11 women's finishers were teenagers. Check it out:

5th - MACY IYER, 16, a two-time Junior of the Year nominee.

8th - CAROLINE PETERSON, 18, an infrequent triathlete, but a Top 10 finisher when she shows up.

9th - SIMONE LUNDQUIST, 17 - 2019 Junior of the Year nominee and four-time Top 5 finisher at Big Lake Sprint.

10th - ARIANA WERTS, 19 - 2018 JOY returning to the sport after a year off to do other stuff.

11th - MORGAN BELL, 17 - Two-time AG winner in 2019 who was almost eight minutes faster here this year than last.

Also, two Age Group records were nuked last weekend. LISA HINES (1:20:15) sliced 2:45 off the prior 55-59W record, set in 2014, and HELEN GUNTHER (1:24:34 - Top Photo) took the 60-64W mark down by 3:48. Hines placed an impressive 12th overall on Saturday, and Gunther's Big Lake debut resulted in her 4th AG record in her last seven regional starts.

As we noted in our first Big Lake coverage post, everything about the experience--weather, venue, competiton, cameradery et al--was awesome. We're sure that most of the 300-plus BL participants have or will register for Graniteman Clearwater on the 16th.

In between now than then, though, is the Green Lake Triathlon (August 9), a truly great event that deserves a large turnout, and will be previewed in our next post. (Big Lake RESULTS)

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