Race Coverage

Highlights Galore at Apple!


Photo - Fast Women! (L-R) Overall winner Diane Hankee and AG record setters Julia Weisbecker and Jan Guenther.


SARTELL APPLE DUATHLON - While TED TREISE and DIANE HANKEE were busy leading the way, as expected, we had our eyes on age group performances, and there were plenty of highlights to share.

The day was tough. Warm. Humid, and especially, windy. Not a day for record-setting, yet Treise, a second year  pro, outsplit the men's field from timing mat to timing mat. His 1:22:00 gave him four and a half minutes to relax before runner-up / local star / Apple's amateur champion ANDY ZABEL made his PR performance here official.

Diane, who had also won here in 2016, relied on her run splits to secure her 1:26 win over another  former Apple champ, ELAINE NELSON, who is probably the fastest female pharmacist in our region...

Now for the AG highlights. Arguably the most competitive women's division was 55-59. Three ladies battled through the hot, fast, thick air en route to times that were significantly faster than the decade-old course record 1:51:30. The bronze in this category went to two-time Ironman Wisconsin divisional champ TRACY SERREYN, 57, whose 1:49:28 landed her in 6th place overall in the women's race. The silver went to AMY WOOLSEY, 55, whose 1:48:56 just missed the overall women's podium. Her clocking was a 1:33 PR.

The gold medal performance was arguably the women's premier effort of the day. JULIA WEISapplebillings.pngBECKER, three weeks into  her 55th year, did climb the women's podium, finishing 3rd overall. More impressive was he time, 1:43:02, a full 8:28 better than the previous record. 

The other gender's most awesome AG performance was dialed by a 15-year-old. NOAH BILLINGS (photo R) placed 4th overall last Saturday, posting ungodly splits for someone that still has a few more years of high school ahead of him. His 1:32:36 was the 2nd fastest 16-19 boys time in the 17-year history of this course. Eighteen-year-old elite junior NICK KLONNE, then 18, had gone faster (1:30:52), albeit under ideal racing conditions in 2015. 

Adding perspective, Noah's time was brisker than the next two fastest teens, JASON LIEBSCH (1:33:02 in 2014)  and ANDREW NOVAK (1:32:54 in 2019). Those decorated elite juniors were 18 when they did what they did. Imagine how fast Billings will be in three years!

Though early, Noah is squarely on the Junior of the Year radar.

Similarly, 2020 Junior of the Year MACY IYER, 17, cracked the Top 5 in the women's field, her sub-1:50 only the third time a female teen has done that, and those that had were highly credentialed: Canada's AMY BRISCOE, 18 in 2004, and two-time Minnesota Junior of the Year GRETA DANIELSON, 18 in 2013.

Julia Weisbecker was not the only AG athlete to set a divisional record last Saturday. JAN  GUENTHER, 62, returned to Apple after a twelve-year absence and lowered the 60-64W mark from 1:56:56 to 1:53:52, giving Jan three AG records at Apple (45-49, 50-54, 60-64).

FYI, Jan's son CONNOR KNUTSON, 23, made his duathlon debut at Apple. Wearing borrowed shoes, he placed 11th overall in 1:41:46, proving yet again that apples  do not fall far from their trees.

Finally, MTN congratulates the participants in the 3rd edition of the Apple Sprint, which boasted a record 74 finishers. Leading the way were ANDY CLARK, 58, who possesses Rob Lowe-level good looks, and PAMELA WAGNER, 44. Clark's 48:42 was a course record.