Props For Heather, Kevin & Greg...

kevin.gifgreg-t.gifED. USAT has finally published its list of 2013 Triathletes of the Year. Once again, Minnesotans were well-represented. The Duathletes of the Year will be posted at later this week. One of the MTN Guys has been involved with USAT's selection process since the late 90s. His abbreviated comments will follow each category. Photos - HMs Kevin O'Connor and Greg Taylor.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced Kirsten Sass and Dan Stubleski as the top amateur triathletes of 2013. The awards headline the announcement of the 2013 Age-Group Triathletes of the Year, presented by Garmin, an honor awarded annually by USA Triathlon’s Age Group Committee...

USA Triathlon will announce its 2013 Duathlon, Off-Road and Elite Athletes of the Year later this week.

"We again had an outstanding class of awardees for Athletes of the Year,” said Steve Sutherland, chair of the USA Triathlon Age Group Committee Athlete of the Year Subcommittee. “The growth of triathlon and multisport under USA Triathlon leadership is reflected in the quality of the Athletes of the Year selected from our large talented pool of candidates."heather.gif
A long-distance specialist, Stubleski (Washington, Mich.) was the top U.S. amateur finisher and second overall at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship. He was also the top American and fourth overall finisher at the Ironman World Championship, and he was the fastest amateur at Ironman 70.3 Steelhead.

Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.) posted first-place overall finishes at a number of events, including Best of the US, Hy-Vee Elite Triathlon, New York City Triathlon and the Memphis in May Triathlon. She also won the F30-34 age group at USA Triathlon Olympic-Distance National Championships and finished second in her age group the following day at Sprint Nationals.

Masters Triathlete of the Year accolades went to Christopher Thomas (Easton, Conn.) and Susanne Davis (Carlsbad, Calif.). This was the second consecutive year as the top masters athlete for Thomas, who was the top masters finisher at Ironman 70.3 Worlds. He was also the top masters finisher at the Timberman Sprint Triathlon and Ironman 70.3 Syracuse.

Davis also had a standout year, finishing as the top masters triathlete at USA Triathlon Olympic-Distance Nationals and the Ironman World Championship. She also was the first amateur female finisher at the San Diego International Triathlon and the Encinitas Sprint Triathlon.

William (Chris) Wren (Arlington, Va.) and Jeni Winegarner (Kailua-Kona, Hawaii) earned Grand Masters of the Year honors. Wren won the 65-69 age group at the Ironman World Championship and Ironman Lake Placid. He also won his age group at the Columbia Triathlon and the Kinetic Half.

Winegarner topped the podium in the 55-59 age group at the Ironman World Championship and Ironman Texas. She was the first 50-plus finisher at the Alaska State Triathlon, Lavaman Waikoloa Triathlon and the Iron Mango Mini-Monster.

The 2013 USA Triathlon Age-Group Triathletes of the Year and honorable mention selections are as follows:

Men’s Triathlete of the Year: Dan Stubleski (Washington, Mich.)
Honorable Mention: James Chesson (Bedminster, N.J.), Andrew Drobeck (Missoula, Mont.), Brian Duffy Jr. (West Chester, Pa.), Clay Emge (Tyler, Texas), Colin Riley (Aurora, Ill.)

COMMENT: I agreed with all of these picks. Colin Riley was a very close 2nd here.

Women’s Triathlete of the Year: Kirsten Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.)
Honorable Mention: Susanne Davis (Carlsbad, Calif.), Corrie Kristick (Houston, Texas), Heather Lendway (St. Paul, Minn.), Samantha Morrison (Goldsboro, N.C.), Darbi Roberts (New York, N.Y.)

COMMENT: Once again I agreed with all of these selections. FYI, I ranked the women in this order: Sass (most versatile, won more national races than anyone), Morrison (Long course star), Lendway (America's best short course triathlete - photo), Roberts, Kristick and Martineau. To me, the Top 3 were interchangeable.

Men’s Masters Triathlete of the Year: Christopher Thomas (Easton, Conn.)
Honorable Mention: Shane Arters (Morristown, N.J.), Doug Clark (Morristown, N.J.), Kevin O’Connor (Medina, Minn.), Greg Taylor (Yankton, S.D.), Ritch Viola (San Francisco, Calif.)

COMMENT: Once more, I agreed. My Top 3 were Thomas, Clark & O'Connor.

Women’s Masters Triathlete of the Year: Susanne Davis (Carlsbad, Calif.)
Honorable Mention: Ann Davidson (Portland, Ore.), Kelly Dippold (Overland Park, Kan.), Lisbeth Kenyon (Barrington, R.I.), Leslie Knibb (Washington, D.C.), Steph Popelar (Parker, Colo.)

COMMENT: Once again, these were my picks also.

Men’s Grand Masters Triathlete of the Year: William (Chris) Wren (Arlington, Va.)
Honorable Mention: Dave McNeely (Glen Arm, Md.), Michael Orendorff (Pueblo, Colo.), Robert Plant (Woodside, Calif.), Bob Scott (Naperville, Ill.), John Weber (New York, N.Y.)

COMMENT: Here is where I disagreed. I picked McNeely as the GMOY, and Wren as a close runner-up. I also included Florida's Don Ardell in the HMs. Still, I'm totally okay with these selections.

Women’s Grand Masters Triathlete of the Year: Jeni Winegarner (Kailua-Kona, Hawaii)
Honorable Mention: Madonna Buder (Spokane, Wash.), Ellen Hart (Denver, Colo.), Carol Hassell (West Palm Beach, Fla.), Karen McKeachie (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Diane Ridgway (Arvada, Colo.)

COMMENT: Agreed on Winegarner. My HM list included California's Cherie Gruenfeld instead of Buder. All in all, I'm pleased with all of the selections and the democratic way they were determined.

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