Race Coverage

Branden & Becky Keep Rockin'....


YOUNG LIFE TRIATHLON - Fargo's BRANDEN SCHEEL (photo) continues to rock socks. Of the seven triathlons he's raced in this season, he's won five of them, four on the Minnesota side of the Red River, and all in course record time. In his two non-winning efforts, he placed 2nd (amateur) at Chattanooga 70.3 in  a personal best 4:12:51, and cracked the Top 10 at USAT Sprint Nationals.

The young man's most recent win happened last Saturday at the 15th annual Young Life Sprint in Detroit Lakes. Once out of the lake and on his bike, the race for first was over. He could have jogged to the finish line, saving himself for his next race. But he didn't. Instead he threw down a 16:41 5k run split.

The result was a time of 56:54, giving him a 7:25 margin of victory over runner-up THOMAS LOEGERING of West Fargo, who, as they say, aint no slouch. Tom won this race in 2017. 

Scheel's time lowered LINCOLN MURDOCH's 2009 sprint course record by a hefty 1:51.

Third place went to accomplished junior JACK HENNEN, 18, of Cambridge.

For the second straight year a girl named LUNDQUIST won YL's women's sprint title. Last year, that Lundquist was named TAYLOR,17, who went on to win the 2017 Junior of the Year award. This time, though, Taylor's sister SIMONE, 15, took the title in her sibling's absence. (Taylor had already enrolled at Black Hills State University, and was following Simone's race progress on her "device" in her dorm room.)

In '17, Simone placed 2nd, her time was 1:13:32. She was almost three minutes faster this time. She was challenged by KEIRSTEN COOLEY, 29, of Fargo,who finished 21-seconds behind Lundquist....

Positive Signs!



ST. PAUL TRIATHLON - Is triathlon attendance rebounding?

If last weekend's tris--St. Paul and Young Life--are any indication, the answer just might be "yes."

Young Life's attendance was record-setting, and with 398 finishers, St. Paul's was more than two and a half times larger than it was in 2016. (St. Paul was cancelled in 2017 due to park and roadway construction.)

It could be that, in part, there has been a nice influx of new participants of late. At St. Paul, newbies were asked to raise their hands before the event, and a surprising number of hands went up.

There was also a playful vibe at Lake Phalen. Most participants appeared to be committed to having fun, even those athletes who were very serious about their performances.

And there were some seriously great performances. The womens' Sprint, for instance, turned into a knock-down-drag-out affair between emerging talents, HEATHER TAYLOR and EMILY GAGE. On paper, Gage seemed to have a slight edge. In her last two races--Minneapolis Sprint and Big Lake Sprint--she had finished 2nd and 1st, respectively.

Taylor had impressed us with her efforts at Minneapolis Olympic (11th) and High Cliff Olympic (4th), two very compettive events.

On Saturday, Taylor crossed the finish line first, making her the leader in the clubhouse. Would Gage, 32, who started after the 22-year-old University of Minnesota triathlete, close the gap? ...

Training Partners Win at Green Lake...

glfinisher.pngED. The Lakes Area Review is based in New London, Minnesota. Their sports editor, Brett Blocker, covered last Sunday's Green Lake Triathlon, and gave us permission to repost. The results at the bottom are of Willmar area athletes.
By Brett Blocker (lakesareareview.com)
Audiences were treated to some of the finest weather the Green Lake Triathlon has had in recent memory, as Sunday’s mild 75-degree morning was a far cry from last year’s torrential downpour. 
Not that the athletes would have minded of course...
As per annual tradition, by 10:30 a.m., Saulsbury Beach became an assemblage of 169 exhausted endurance athletes each, struggling to regain a baseline heart rate and body temperatures after a taxing three-sport race. Among them: two new record-setters, and one very near miss.
While this year’s top overall Olympic time went to 31-year-old Wade Cruser, of Sauk Rapids – finishing a full five minutes ahead of his closest competitor and just three seconds shy of record-holder Marcus Strummer’s 2014 time of 1:41:53 – the most impressive performance of the morning belonged to 43-year-old Becky Youngberg, of Eden Prairie....

Different From "Regular" Triathlon....


By Macy Iyer, 14

Last weekend (August 4-5) I participated in the USA Triathlon Youth/Junior Elite National Championships in West Chester, Ohio - this is a draft-legal championship for 13-19 year olds and it was my second year doing this race (I raced the not-draft-legal age group race there ages 10-12). Draft legal racing is quite a bit different than "regular" triathlon - the swim becomes much more important, and you have to use a lot of strategy on the bike course, creating and working with a bike pack, and the course is a lot more technical (several 180 turns and lollipops). There are 75 people in each race (4 different races - male, female, 13-15 year olds and 16-19 year olds - I'm 14). There are 5 qualifying races during 2018 around the country to determine who gets to the National race, and I did two of them.

I had a really good race at the final qualifier in Des Moines (Flatlands Triathlon) and finished 8th - my highest finish in draft-legal so far - but my goal for Nationals was just to be in the top 25 because all the top girls from all the races would be at Nationals. My coach Jenny Weber (from my Z3 Triathlon team) thought I could place higher. I also have many really strong girls in my age group just from my own team (we had 10 of the 75 spots)...

Size Matters and Uncooperative Hearts...


YWCA WOMEN'S TRIATHLON - Isn't it cool that the largest multisport event in Minnesota is a women-only triathlon! We sure think so. With just under 1500 (of 1700+ registrants) finishers, it overtook, though not by much, the Minneapolis Tri for the enrollment title.

Here's some of the competitive takeaways from last Sunday's YWCA Tri:

- CHRISTINA ROBERTS did indeed make good on her favored status, winning for the 4th time. Twas the 21st W of Christina's career, and third win in five tri starts this year.

- In our race preview, we didn't give KELLY TROM (photo L) enough love. Our bad. We predicted that she'd finish 5th behind athletes who historically excel at sprints, suggesting that Olympic and long course racing were Trom'sr strong suits. Kelly placed 2nd last Sunday, her YWCA debut, and we couldn't be happier for her. This woman is versatile.

- CHERYL ZITUR, 53, has for the last five seasons been a record-setting machine. She crushed the 50-54 record by two minutes last weekend, and landed in 4th place overall.

- JENNIFER FITZHARRIS-FUNK needs to race more often! In two tri starts this year, she won the Minneapolis Sprint, then placed 3rd at YWCA. Way to rock JFF! ...

Old Stomping Grounds...



By Shane Frederick (mankatofreepress.com)


NORTH MANKATO — Julie Busch said there was no trash talk when she passed her daughter Grace during the bike portion of the North Mankato Triathlon, just words of encouragement.
"I said, 'You're looking good!'" said Busch, who was the top female finisher in Sunday morning's race.

Busch, 44, of Mankato won and was 18th overall with a time of 1 hour, 9 minutes, 58 seconds. Grace, 15, was second in 1:10:54, followed by Jenna Christensen, 27, of Janesville in 1:11:27.

It was a close battle between those three, each of whom dominated a different discipline of the three-stage race, which includes a quarter-mile swim in Hiniker Pond, followed by a 12-mile bike ride out the Judson Bottom Road and back and a 3-mile run around Spring Lake Park....

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