Race Coverage

Juniors Kick Butts at Maple Grove Sprint...



MAPLE GROVE SPRINT COVERAGE - Six-time MGS winner CHERYL ZITUR posted her fastest time ever on the Weaver Lake course last Saturday, breaking her former course record by eight seconds. That stellar effort, however, landed her in 3rd place.

Finishing in the second spot was shoo-in Most Improved nominee ELENA HENGEL, whose impressive 1:05:37 was 39-seconds quicker than Zitur's time, and only five seconds behind the winner, 19-year-old GRACE BUSCH, whose course record, coupled with her win at Fairmont and 2nd at Turtleman, make her one of two frontrunners for 2022 female Junior of the Year alongside two-time JOY BELLA BUENTING....

Beating Hengel and Zitur is a big deal, but those were not the only credentialled women that Busch outraced. A quick glance at the Top 10, which included ANNA RAINER, CINDY BLACKSTOCK, STEPHANIE PETERSON, JILL ELLENBECKER, Canadian MEGAN VAN HEYST, WHITNEY GREILANGER and MEGHAN HENRY, was proof that this year's women's Sprint field was the deepest in the 12-year history of the event.

Busch wasn't the the only teenager to set records at Weaver Lake last Saturday. Sixteen-year-old NOAH BILLINGS not only won the men's Sprint for the second straight year, his speedy 1:00:43 was 1:27 faster than his 2021 time. Better still, his sub-1:01 is only the second such clocking in the six years that  this course has been in use. Only MICHAEL WEISSENBORN's 1:00:15 is faster. beachcheryl.jpg

Billings, who is sporting a dapper 'stache these days, erased KYLE SWENSON's 2018 Junior course record 1:04:07 by 3:24. The win is Noah's 3rd of the season. He has set age group records in four of the six regional multis he's done in '22.


Finishing 2nd in the men's Sprint was BRETT LOVAAS, owner of at least 36 triathlon wins in his career. His time was 1:02:38. Third was earned by MIKE BIBLEHEIMER (1:04:03).

Approximately 700 athletes finished the Maple Grove races last weekend.  RESULTS


TOP PHOTO - 2018 MGS winner Kyle Swenson and 2021 and 2022 champion Noah Billings.

PAGE 2 PHOTO - Six-time MGS winner Cheryl Zitur.