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Thinking About 2020...

 

2019 cathyswimcap.pngwas an odd year. A few prominent athletes either didn't race at all (Wade Cruser, Matt PayneSuzie Fox, Jesson Baumgartner), or raced in out-of-state events only, (Gaby Bunten, Joe Adriaens), or only sparingly (Elaine Nelson, Kevin O'Connor, Dani Vsetecka, Nicole Heininger, Sam Hauck).

Sean Cooley only raced in one Minnesota tri last year. We're used to seeing him at between five (2018) and nine (2017 and 2016)  local races. Likewise, Jordan Roby is also a veteran of 5 - 9 annual local races, but like Sean, he only raced in one Minnesota tri in 2019.

No judgment here. We just miss watching these great athletes do that voodoo that they do so well.

On the positive side, there were those who filled in some of the gaps in 2019, like our state's most decorated female multisporter Cathy Yndestad (photo L), who returned to Minnesota after having lived  abroad for four years; and up-and-coming collegians Rachel Zilinkskas and Jenna Horner, as well as elite rookies Paige Schulz and Caryn Herrick.

Will everyone be back in 2020?  ...

Unfortunately, no.

We reached out to several athletes to see about their 2020 plans. Matt Payne replied to our inquiry via email with the preamble, "This is probably not what you wanted to hear..." Citing family stuff and airplane piloting, he said he will not race next summer.

Happier news came from Cruser. He plans to return to racing in 2020.aamodthicliff.png

Rachel Z told us that her racing plans in 2020 will likey focus on long distance events (Des Moines 70.3, and Ironman Lake Placid), thus we may not see her at local tris. 

Jenna Horner will probably be too busy getting on with her post-college life to race in her ancestral home state. She'll likely live in the Mid-Atlantic region.

The reply we got from from Cathy Yndestad was eloquent and bittersweet:

Hello! How are you? Kerry and I have moved to Mesa (AZ) for now. Although MN has the best triathlon community..., I'm unsure where I'll be racing next summer. I'm extremely pleased and proud of my 2019 season, as I actually felt stronger and faster than ever. Would have been great to race more often, but it was just a busy year. I still LOVE the sport, and I continue to seek additional race experiences beyond the finish line. I did qualify for the 2020 70.3 WC in NZ after my race at Indian Wells last month, but i'm unsure if I can make that trip work. Thanks for being ...supportive of the local athletes .. Wishing you a fantastic 2020. All the best, my friend!

In case you didn't know, Cathy won the amateur women's competition at Indian Wells (CA) 70.3. Her time was 4:31:27, the fastest half IM clocking by a Minnesota woman in 2019. She also had the fastest Olympic clocking by a Minnesoata woman last season: 2:05:33. CY had 71 multisport wins when she left Minnesota for Switzerland after the 2014 season. Her career win total is in the 80 range now, which places her 2nd behind David Thompson (102ish) on our state's all-time Win List.

So, we will miss Cathy and Matt in 2020, but hopefully Wade, Kevin, Elaine, Sean, Joe, Jordan, Gaby et al will return to local prominence. We also are anxious to see how St. Paul's Pauline Aamodt (photo R) fares on the Minnesota scene. She demonstrated great potential as a member of Iowa State's Tri Team before relocating for a year (2019) to Indiana to do graduate work.

We may have another odd season coming our way, but odd seasons aren't necessarily bad ones.

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