Race Previews

Should Be Interesting...

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2022 SQUARE LAKE PREVIEW - The 20th Square Lake 70.3 is happening this Saturday, and will be followed on Sunday by the 21st Square Lake Sprint. Judi allowed us to peak at the current entrant lists, i.e. as of Monday, and we immediately became excited. The 70.3 promises to be a very interesting event, especially at the front of the race, while the Age Group competition in the Sprint could produce some records.

Concerning the athletes that will compete for the overall wins and podium spots in the Sprint, we suspect that late registrants will fill most, perhaps all, of those positions. We wouldn't be surprised if 2021 women's winner DIANE HANKEE decided to race, or CHERYL ZITUR, who was victorious there in 2020. Regional elites like MICHAEL WEISSENBORN, ELENA HENGEL, ANDREW KERSHAW, GRACE BUSCH, Fargo's BRANDON LEE, BRIAN TINAJERO etc. could decide to race.

We don't expect JOSH MORK's stellar 4:11:39 (2019) course best to be seriously challenged. (Square Lake bike and run courses are arguably the most challenging in the region.) But we wouldn't be surprised if at least one athlete managed to post a faster time than JESSOP KEENE's 4:22:21 (2018), which currently stands as the second fastest men's result at SL Half. On paper, the guy with the best chance of doing that is former ISU star KRIS SPOTH. Kris' personal best at the half IM distance is 4:13:53, and he popped a 4:18 earlier this season at Door County in a Top 5 performance....

It's the women's race that intrigues us most. Wisconsin's MAGGIE FOURNIER is a credentialed veteran. In 2015, she podiumed at Liberty, and she won the 2014 edition (different course) of the Square Lake Half with a great time: 4:52:19.

We believe it will be difficult for Maggie, now 46, to stay ahead of four Minnesotans, all of whom are ready to have breakout performances at the 70.3 distance. Weird luck is the only thing that has kept KATIE REGNIER off the podium at the half distance. If her tires stay hard and she doesn't miss a turn, a Top 3 spot, perhaps even a win, should be hers.

Then there's sophomore triathlete CAMI ECKHOFF, a likely 2022 Most Improved nominee, who can break through. We think she will join Katie on the podium.

Also competing for Top 3-5 positions will be KRISTEN HAWKINS and LISA FILZEN, successful short course athletes who appear ready to break out at the long stuff.

As we said earlier, we are excited about next weekend's Square Lake races. If you do not plan to race, and you are not planning to spend the weekend in Madison (Ironman and 70.3), we suggest that you either spectate or volunteer at Square Lake, which is one of the most picturesque tri venues in our state.

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