Race Previews

2023 Buffalo Sprint Preview...Updated!


 2023 BUFFALO SPRINT PREVIEW - In our Buffalo Olympic preview we noted that later registrants would battle for top spots in the overall and age group competitions. The same will likely be true for the Buffalo's sprint race, so we will update this post later this week....

Historically, Buffalo Sprint is one of the more competitive "companion" events on the Minnesota calendar. Longer races tend to get top billing, for instance, Chisago 70.3 is billed as a "main event," though Chisago Sprint attracts more entrants. The same is true for the Buffalo races, the smaller Olympic event has an elevated status over it's larger companion Sprint. This is because the longer races are typically more competitive, i.e. they field more credentialed athletes. This is still generally true but the field quality gap between longer races and their sprint companions is closing. This is certainly the case at Buffalo, Timberman and especially Brewhouse, where the sprint field has been deeper than the Olympic field in recent years.

So, based on last week's registration list, here are some of our tentative predictions for next Sunday's Buffalo Sprint. 



cherylbelt.pngELENA HENGEL - Last year's breakout winner upset four-time champ Cheryl Zitur. These women faced each ther three times in 2022 with Hengel winning twice. (Hengel was co-Most Improved Female last year.) We are picking Elena to repeat.

CHERYL ZITUR (photo) - Winner of 20 triathlons in her impressive career, the final gap, as in 2022, between her and Engel will not be a wide one.

MACY IYER, 19, Edina - Former Minnesota Junior of the Year, and perennial nominee, Macy could claim the final women's podium berth.

Question Marks - Isabella Buenting, 20, Chanhassen - Not currently registered, Bella could crack the Top 3 if she decides to enroll. Buenting is a two-time Minnesota Junior of the Year and owns the current Buffalo Sprint junior course record. Christel Kippenhan, 57, Bemidji and Bettina Keppers, 40, Duluth. Bettina has other obligations this weekend, but we would be surprised if Christel didn't race.


BRIAN STORHAUG, 32, Alexandria - The three-time Buffalo Sprint runner-up already has one tri win to his credit this season.

KYLE LITHGOW, Rockford - We don't know which of the races Kyle will do on Sunday, but we are assuming that he is entered in the Sprint based on this 2022 Top 3 performance there. His resume is impressive but lean, and does not yet include a victory. That could change on Sunday.

Question Marks - Andy Zabel, 42, Sartell, Brooks Grossinger, 46, Mayer, and Mike Buenting,  48, Chanhassen. It's possible that some or all of these past Buffalo Sprint winners will register. 


- 00-19W - MACY IYER, 19, Edina - Macy should win the junior title handily.

- 00-19M - SEAN PICKLE, 18, St. Cloud - As a rookie in 2022, Sean was inthe Junior of the Year discussion.

- 50-54W - JILL ELLENBECKER - Newcomer to the 50-54 category. Late signup JEN MARTONE should give Ellenbecker a great race.

- 50-54M - THADDEUS INGERSOLL - Owns the 50-54 CR at Buff Sprint

- 55-59M - CHUCK HENGEL - Chuck did not get the love he deserved last year. He is the tree from which his super talented daughter Elena has not fallen from from.

- 60-64M - TIM BROWN - Clear favorite, but should get a nice push from Craig Peterson.

- 60-64W - LISA HINES - 2020 Minnesota Grand Master of the Year. turned 60 recently.

- 65-69M - LARRY STRACKE - Has returned to racing. He's coming off a divisional win at Cactus Man Olympic (Tempe, AZ)

- 70-74M - LUKE HARNED, 70, Mahtomedi - The men's 70-74 course record is very soft. Luke will blow it out of the water.

UPDATES - 2022 Triathlete of the Year PRESTON YOUNGDAHL has registered. The men's course record--56:44-- is in serious jeopardy.