Race Coverage

It's Koppel's Turn...


15th BUFFALO OLYMPIC TRIATHLON - Men's Race - It's fun to watch the birth of stars. Triathlon stars, that is. Some rise to the status in just a year-or so. Examples include Heather Lendway, Ruth Brennan Morrey, David Thompson, Dan Hedgecock, Claire Bootsma, Kortney Haag.

Others take a tad longer, like two or three years. Patrick Parish , Cathy Yndestad, Matt Payne fit this profile.

And there are those that take a relatively long time. Several years. In these cases, it's pleasantly surprising when it happens, and very encouraging to ambitious athletes who have yet to make their mark.

JOSH MORK has been a triathlete for a long time, more than a decade. He was a "solid" competitor for much of that time. But in 2019 he emerged as a true star, a national class amateur triathlete...

The regional accolades have piled up. Most Improved. Ranked #2 on Team Minnesota twice. Two-time nominee for Minnesota Triathlete of the Year, multiple Performance of the Year nominations.

Another guy who has been around for a while, though not as long as Mork, is DAVID KOPPEL (photo). His results in 2017 and 2018 very pretty good. His 2019 performances were even better. He was on the rise.


But could he podium at Buffalo last Sunday? Could he hang with JOSH BLANKENHEIM, AJ MANNING and the admittedly undertrained yet supremely formidable DAVID THOMPSON?

Josh Mork sent us this comment about his good friend, David Koppel:

"...no clue what Blank or DKT have been up to for training but I pick Koppel for no worse than 2nd place unless something catastrophic happens to him. (flat, crash, off course etc). He's been dedicated all winter and posted a massive Tue Night Time trial a couple weeks ago."

Josh knows what he was talking about. David didn't finish any lower than 2nd. In fact, he WON! The victory was only the second of his career, but many more are on the horizon.


Four minutes behind Thompson and other projected frontrunners heading out of the turbulent lake, Koppel significantly outgunned the field on the bike and run, especially the bike. His eventual margin of victory over DKT, the runner-up, was chunky: 3:05! A glance at Thompson's run and bike splits, suggested that something wasn't right, still he managed to keep himself in front of everyone but Koppel.

To the surprise of no one, father-to-be Josh Blankenheim claimed the final podium spot, though his margin over 4th placing AJ Manning was only 24 seconds.


As we know, the conditions at Buffalo were inhospitable, still a few  AG records fell. THAD INGERSOLL, 51, snipped 10 seconds off SCOTT RAMSOM's 2015 50-54 mark, and EDWARD PATTON, 67, bettered his division's previous best by 3:37.  RESULTS

NEXT: Buffalo Sprint Coverage...