Race Previews

Maple Grove Sprint & Lakes Country Previews...

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MAPLE GROVE SPRINT - We are very impressed with the way JENNIFER FITZHARRIS-FUNK (photo) is racing this year. Sure, she has been racing well for the last several seasons, but she seems to have  gone to another level in 2017. The tattoed 42-year-old Minneapolis resident's current resume features 2nd place efforts at Minneapolis and Chisago Sprints, and a 6th (4th amateur) at YWCA Women's Tri.

Here at MGS, JFF has three top 5 finishes, her best being a 2nd in 2014.

Is this the year she wins? It could be. We see her in the Top 2 with three-time champ CHERYL ZITUR.

It needs to be noted that Cheryl isn't totally healthy right now, plus her luck this season has been awful, affecting two ofher three starts this season. She flatted at Buffalo Sprint and crashed at Walker.

So, the door is wide open for a new champ. The one most ready to step through that door, in our opinion, is JFF. Still, we are not ready to predict the upset. Zitur is sort of the Dave Scott of Minnesota's women's multi scene. Never count her out.

This said, we're anxious to see how this year's sprint race turns out. FYI - We're picking LAURA SWARTZ to claim the bronze on Saturday.

As for the men, we predict that 2013 MGS winner DAVID PHILLIPS, who posted his seventh career win two weeks ago at Lake Marion, and brawny GREG DUMMER will take the Top 2 places. Based on his 2017 resume to date, Dummer is our pick to win.

 

LAKES COUNTRY TRIATHLON - WADE CRUSER is enrolled, thus he is our pick to repeat, threepeat actually....

Maple Grove Olympic Preview...

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MAPLE GROVE OLYMPIC PREVIEW - On Saturday, the Maple Grove Sprint and Olympic Triathlons will celebrate their 8th anniversary. Approximately 800 athletes are expected to participate, and the field strength in both races is impressive.

In alpha order, here are some of the Elites, i.e. "Premier Division," in the OLympic race who will battle for top spots:

 

- JOE ADRIAENS, 29, Elk River - Joe is enjoying a breakout season and is a likely 2017 Most Improved nominee.

- JAKE BRAAM, 26, Elysian - Likely Rookie of the Year nominee. A solid effort against a great field on Saturday should put him over the top.

- WADE CRUSER, 30, Sauk Rapids - Most Improved winner in 2016, Wade comes into this race as a prohibitive favorite.

- ERIN FARRENS (36, Maple Grove) - Erin, winner of the 2016 women's Most Improved award, was not on the registration list that we perused. She is the 2016 women's champ and has cracked the Top 5 here four times. We'd be surprised if she didn't race....

Doubled Attendance & No Cooley...

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YOUNG LIFE TRIATHLON PREVIEW – There are signs, subtle though they may be, that triathlon attendance, which has shrunk significantly since 2011, has begun an upswing.

A great example of this is the Young Life Triathlon in Detroit Lakes, the 14th edition of which will happen this weekend. For the last few years, the event, which features both Sprint and Olympic-distance races, has averaged approximately 200 finishers.

 

This season's YL races should have more than twice that many finishers. The registration list that the race director, a cool guy named JASON LONEY, shared with us had almost 400 names on it, and the races could grow by as many as fifty more participants by race time.

 

This makes us very happy....

Northwoods Turns 15....

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NORTHWOODS TRIATHLON - BROOKS GROSSINGER made history here last year. He won the race for the 12th time in the event's fourteen-year history. By doing so, he broke a tie for most wins at a single Minnesota race with TONY SCHILLER, who had won the Lake Waconia Triathlon on eleven occasions.

Grossinger will be going for victory #13 on Saturday, and there is no reason to think he won't get it. Not only does he own nine of the ten fastest times here, all of them under the one-hour mark, he's racing like a banshee this year. His resume features a win (Waseca) and four 2nd  place finishes. Now 40, Brooks is the current frontrunner for the Master of the Year award.

Will he keep his string of sub-1 hour clocking alive? Barring injury or mechanical issues, sure he will.

His closest challenger on Saturday should be local star DAVID LEWIS, who is also racing well this season. He has finished 2nd here on four occasions. 

As in 2016, we think that a time in the 1:14  range should win the women's race. That was what MATA AGRE posted in 2016, and she hopes to defend....

YWCA's Aluminum Anniversary...

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Photo - The Lendways, Heather & Lisa

 

YWCA WOMEN'S TRIATHLON - This iconic experience will celebrate its landmark 10th ananiversary (Aluminum) on Sunday. With 1500ish participants, it will probably be our state's largest multisport event of the year.

It will not only be a large race, it will be more competitive than ever. There will be twelve athletes in the Elite Wave, led by pros HEATHER LENDWAY, a two-time champ and course rcord holder, and HALEY CHURA, former USAT National Champion and one of America's premier long distance triathletes (IM PR - 8:56, half IM PR - 4:10ish). We're sure that these two stars will better the 1:03:16 that HL set in 2014. 

CHRISTINA ROBERTS amateur CR is also in jeopardy, and yes, we think that Christina will take it down a notch. She'll be challenged by LISA LENDWAY, who was victorious last weekend at Brewhouse Sprint, and like Christina, has broken 1:10 twice here. (No other amateurs had cracked that time.)

Does this mean that we're picking Roberts and LL to go 1-2 in the amateur race? Not necessarily. Sure, it could happen, but DIANE HANKEE may be more fit right now than Lisa. She (Diane) has also turned 40 this year, so we're predicting that ANN SNUGGERUD's masters record (1:13:16 - 2014) will go down...

Big Doings at Big Lake...

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GRANITEMAN BIG LAKE PREVIEW - There's four great races--Big Lake, Brewhouse, Waseca, Minnewaska--to choose from this weekend. We certainly hope that you do one (or more) of them.

Today we are previewing the Saturday's 7th annual G-Man Big Lake Triathlon. A great event at an awesome venue. It is also the third and final race of the Graniteman Tri Series.

Let's share some history and make a few predictions.

HISTORY

Big Lake Sprint Course Records:  MARCUS STROMBERG - 1:01:48 (2012) & BECKY YOUNGBERG - 1:06:28 (2011)

Sprint AG Records: 

0019 - TYLER HECHT - 1:06:54 (2012) & GRETA DANIELSON - 1:10:45 (2013)

4044 - JESSE SHAW - 1:07:32 (2013) & JAMIE HEYING - 1:09:17 (2013)

4549 - JEFF GREBNER -  1:02:39 (2013) & JEN NEUMAN - 1:14:49 (2016)

5054 - SCOTTY ERICKSON - 1:06:47 (2014) & LISA HINES - 1:14:35 (2013)

5559 - DAVE DOW - 1:11:41 (2012) & JUDY MURRAY - 1:23:00 (2014)

6064 - BRYAN SWENSON - 1:12:47 (2014) & BETHANY COLLINS - 1:28:22 (2015)

6569 - TOM COUILLARD - 1:34:12 (2016) & NANCY BAUER - 1:39:22 (2016)

 

Big Lake Olympic Course Records - DAVID HOLDEN - 2:00:52 & KELLY TROM - 2:16:48 (2016)

 

Big Lake Olympic AG Records:

 

0019 - SILAS NELSON, WI - 2:35:05 (2015) & JESSICA STAPLES - 3:06:09 (2015)

4044 - ALEX SCHAD - 2:21:59 (2015) & ALISON FORNEY-GORMAN - 2:22:08 (2015)  ....

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