Race Coverage

Drama & Big Trophies...

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LAKE MINNETONKA TRIATHLON - Fifty weeks ago, JOSH MORK sped out of T2 in first place at the Lake Waconia Triathlon. He was facing what was certainly the deepest men's field of the season, and though he was recognized as possessing "elite" credentials, it certainly appeared that he was, as they say, "in way over his head." The guys he was facing--PARISH, O'CONNOR, CRUSER, TREISE, BLANKENHEIM, ADRIAENS et al--were men he'd never beaten before....

 

Only one of those national-class guys would run him down: Patrick Parish. Still, Josh's 2nd place finish at the LWT was a true breakout performance, one that was the key to his Most Improved nomination at season's end.

The men's race at rainy, muddy Lake Minnetonka in Excelsior last Saturday had a deja vu-y kind of vibe. After a stellar swim split, Mork overtook early leader, THAD INGERSOLL, early in the bike phase. Pre-race favorite Parish would be able to match Mork's bike speed, thus the 1:30ish lead that Josh enjoyed after the swim remained intact when he entered T2. A herculean run split was needed to catch him.

Herculean run splits are what Parish is famous for. He threw one of those down at Lake Waconia last year, and it was clear that when he blasted out of T2 at LMT, the race for first was not over. In the words of legendary locutionist Yogi Berra, "It was like deja' vu all over again."

As at the LWT, Parish was first to finish. Mork splashed across 38 seconds later. For Parish, it was, according to our records, multisport win #37, and his second in 2019. Additionally, his 1:03:44 was the 3rd fastest amateur men's time in the 16-year history of the race.

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Also making up a sizable chunk of time on the run was eventual 3rd-placer JOSH BLANKENHEIM, whose final clocking was only 26 seconds slower than Mork's. Blank now has three podium finishes in three starts at LMT.

Other outstanding efforts were recorded by ANDY ZABEL (4th), who is definitely on the Most Improved radar this season, as is JACOB KEEHAN (5th). (Top 5 photo below)

Two-time LMT champ CHRISTINA ROBERTS (photo L) and reigning Minnesota Master of the Year, who might just be one of the two fastest over-40 woman (with Tennessee's KIRSTEN SASS) in the US right now, BECKY YOUNGBERG came into the race as co-faves.

In their last head-to-head battle--Buffalo Olympic--Youngberg placed 2nd and Roberts took 3rd.

Advantage Becky? Not necessarily. Christina's record on this course--2 wins,2 seconds--gives her a "muscle memory" edge. Becky had raced here on only one prior occasion, which was back in 2004. (Yes, she won that year and later collected the Triathlete of the Year award and the #1 spot on Team MInnesota.)

As expected, Roberts was the first woman out of the water. Youngberg emerged 41 seconds later. Becky would erase small bits of that time on the bike and run, but Chrisina would gain some of those seconds back with superior transitions. The result was win #3 at LMT for Roberts. The victory was the 23rd of her impressive triathlon career. Her 1:11:05 was the 5th fastest women's time ever here. Only HEATHER LENDWAY (twice), CATHY YNDESTAD and Christina herself in 2016, have gone faster on this course.

Youngberg' posted an brisk 1:12:03, which was 52-seconds faster than her winning time in 2004, and a new LMT masters record. She's raced four times thus far in 2019 and set MRs on each occasion.

Unsurprisingly, the third woman to cross the finish line was three-time Minnesota Master of the Year nominee ANDREA MYERS. What was a surprise, however, was the fact that her place didn't stand. A later wave athlete, 16-year-old ISABELLA BUENTING, turned in a time which not only crushed the Junior course record, but proved to be the third fastest women's clocking of the day.

Prior to Saturday, no teenage girl had ever finished higher than 7th on this course. The performance of the day? We think so.  RESULTS

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