Race Previews

GRANITE MAN BIG LAKE REVIEW...

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 GRANITEMAN BIG LAKE - The 9th edition of this great event is happening on Saturday and you can still get in. Race day registration is available.

Approximately 300 are expected for this year's Sprint and Olympic contests, and on paper, it appears that three of last year's champions, and many of the AG winners, should repeat....

 

On paper.

There are always some late entrants that will upend our predictions, which we are totally cool with. Our prognosticatory mission is to generate interest and conversation, not to be right.

Let's start with the Olympic race.

KORTNEY HAAG, now 40, owns BL's women's course record - 2:13:09 (2017)--and is her gender's overwhelming favorite. She's super fit right now, as her performances at Chisago Half (PR - 4:32:52) and Graniteman Clearwater (2:22) clearly show. Good weather could help Kort lower her CR, perhaps to 2:10-11, and torch the Masters record by ten minutes or more. 

We're anxious to see who fills out the women's Top 3. The list of contenders is a lengthy one, and includes OLIVIA BERG, MARIANE WALIN, CASEY MORK, COURTNEY ENGEN and JESSIE STEVENS. 

As for the Olympic men, we see the battle for first to be between 2018 winner RYAN COLLISON, who had a breakout season last year, and MOSHI PERI, a very consistent racer whose 2019 resume is slightly stronger than Ryan's. Because of this, and the fact that Collison may be carrying some residual fatigue from last weekend's Chisago Half, we are picking Peri to prevail.

 

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In the Sprint, BRIAN STORHAUG, once again, appears to be the favorite. Not only is he the defending champion, he is very fit right now. His 2019 season features a win at Clearwater Sprint and a 2nd at Buffalo Sprint.

We're anxious to see how tri-rookie STEVEN WERT fares in the Sprint. We think a podium spot is possible for him.

Last year's Most Improved woman was EMILY GAGE, her victory at Big Lake Sprint being one of the reasons for the MI honor. We're picking her to repeat, not only because her 2019 resume, which is highlighted by a victory at Minneapolis Sprint, is impressive, but because the woman who would normally present the biggest challenge, is coming back from an injury.

We're talking about 2017 Minnesota Junior of the Year TAYLOR LUNDQUIST. Taylor won this race two years ago, handily beating runner-up Gage. Last season, Gage returned the favor, beating 2nd-placing Lundquist by 40 seconds.

The wild card here is Taylor's younger sister SIMONE, 17, whose 4th place / 1st junior effort at Timberman Sprint  last month suggests that she is ready for the podium at Big Lake. The question is whether she'll place 2nd or 3rd.

Weather permitting, we expect several AG records to be rewritten. Here are a few predictions:

- The men's 65-69 Sprint record is 1:20:44.  LEN KLUN, 65, should take that mark down by a couple of minutes.

- The men's 70-74 Sprint record doesn't exist yet. Too bad. We were hoping that 2018 Grand Master of the Year THOMAS ROHMAN, now 72, had a record to shoot down, because that is what he's been doing in every race he's entered over the last two seasons. We're predicting a time in the 1:23-range for Tom.

- The 50-54 men's Olympic record is 2:18:18. Based on his AG winning 2:17 at Buffalo, and his fine efforts at Clearwater and Heart of the Lakes, we think that RANDY PETERSON, 53, can shave some seconds off Big Lake's 50-54M mark.

According to weather.com, conditions should be favorable on Saturday, so we're anxious to get to Lakeside Park and watch the action.

We hope you'll be part of the action, too, as a participant, or a volunteer, or as a spectator.  RACE WEBSITE

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