Race Coverage

Another Course Record For Cruser.


By MIke Aulie (brainerddispatch.com) 


BAXTER—Sauk Rapids' Wade Cruser set a course record and returned to the top of the podium while Baxter's Jacquelyn Bacigalupi was a first-time winner for the women in the Lakes Country Triathlon Sunday, Aug. 26, in Baxter.

Cruser finished the course in 56:55, breaking the previous course record of 58:33 that he set in 2016. The current race was shortened slightly in 2014 and begins with a quarter-mile swim at Whipple Beach followed by a 14-mile bike ride and finishes with a 3.2-mile run through Baxter's residential area.

This is Cruser's fourth year competing in the triathlon and might have been his third consecutive win except for an unfortunate mistake while leading in last year's race. He was second in 2015 his first year and won the 2016 race....

Superior Performances....


SUPERIOR MAN - This year's races promised to be super exciting, and we were anxious to watch them unfold. Like everyone else on site, though, our hand-held device suggested that the weather conditions might yuckify during the event, so metaphoric fingers were crossed. Real participant fingers were needed for stroking, chinstrap snapping, steering, shifting gears etc., and spectator fingers were needed for clapping, waving and holding cardboard coffee containers.

Bad weather never materialized, thus racing conditions were surprisingly accommodating. Times would be fast, very fast, actually, despite the fact that the swim course for both the half IM and the 41.5 were long.

Five of Minnesota fastest 70.3ers were entered, as was a young Canadian woman intent on having a breakout performance. More on this later.

In MTN's 41.5 preview we suggested that late registrants would determine the outcome at the front of the race for the men. We were wrong about that, but late arrivals definitely impacted the women's competition in a hugely exciting way. Two-time champ CHRISTEL KIPPENHAN was our pick to three-peat, and she cerainly would have done that had not DANI VSETECKA, ELAINE NELSON and BETTINA KEPPERS, true national-level talents, decided to pop in at, as they say, the last minute.

Needless to say, we almost wet ourselves when we saw these ladies before the race.

Superior Man's great new run courses were multiple loop deals, the 41.5 passing within sight of the finish line crowd early on, and the 70.3 passing this point twice. This made the event's "crunch time" very spectator friendly. Kudos to CLINT and his crew for the design and execution....

A Showcase For Frontrunners....


MAPLE GROVE TRIATHLON - This race has always been a showcase for frontrunners. 

We're talking about those who have clearly established themselves as nominees for post-season honors.

The clearest example of this last Saturday was WADE CRUSER's and BECKY YOUNGBERG's dominance in the Olympic competition. Both athletes were on a winning spee when they entered the race. Becky had won her last two races, both in record time, and her entire 2018 scorecard convincingly showed that the 43-year-old Eden Prairie mom was the Master of the Year frontrunner.

Wade arrived at Weaver Lake Park with three consecutive wins in as many weeks under his belt, one of which was a course record. He came into the race as a prohibitive favorite, "prohibitive" because you never know what college studs are going to show up on race day. ...

"I Tried to Make Things Exciting"...


By Ryan Collison


Young Life Triathlon Race Report - Well MTN Guys, your 1-2 predictions were right for Young Life!  I tried to make things exciting, but Dave just had an awesome run in him this weekend. 

Going in, I really respected Dave’s run speed and I knew that I would have to get off the bike 3 min ahead of him and have a solid run to win.  

The swim and bike went well.  I spend most of the bike ride appreciating the traffic control car staying far enough ahead of me to not provide a draft, but close enough to keep an eye on me and keep traffic under control.  How often do we hear about the traffic control interfering at Ironman races or the Tour?  These guys got it right!  A very nice detail highlighting just how well run this local race is!

Coming into T2, I knew I had a gap and felt good....there was a chance!  After the first mile I just couldn’t get the turn over I needed to have a fast run, but how much gap did I have?  Could I just hang on? ...

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? ...

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