The 2017 USAT Winter Triathlon season opened Sunday with Minnesotans Sean Cooley and Jan Guenther capturing overall amateur titles at the USAT Winter Triathlon National Championships, held as part of the King Boreas Winter Triathlon at Lake Phalen.
Originally scheduled to be contested as a 5-kilometer run, 19.5-kilometer bike, 6-kilometer cross country ski event, the course was changed to a 5k run, 19.5k bike, 3k run in the days before the event due to a lack of snow.
Cooley (St. Paul, Minn.) posted a time of 1 hour, 17 minutes, 28 seconds to beat out last year’s champion Joel LaFrance (Plymouth, Minn.) by more than 1 minute. In addition to the overall title, Cooley, who finished second overall last year, successfully defended his 30-34 age group title, while LaFrance won the 35-39 age group title with a final time of 1:18:39. Chris Ganter (Boise, Idaho) finished third overall and second in the 35-39 age group in 1:19:34.
“It was only 29 degrees, but with the wind it felt quite a bit lower. I think with the wind chill it was probably into the single digits, and you definitely felt that on the bike in the feet, and at the start of the run, too,” said Cooley, who races in triathlon events year-round as part of Team Every Man Jack.
“I wish we could have skied. It was great to do a duathlon but I knew there were some really strong skiers behind me that would have made things a little more interesting.”
Guenther (Long Lake, Minn.) repeated as the women’s overall champion, as well as the women’s 55-59 age group winner, finishing in 1:39:14, more than three minutes ahead of the next women’s competitor.
“They make it fun. It’s a fun mountain bike course, and it takes a little finesse – more than I have,” said Guenther, who also had been wishing for snowier conditions. “It was nicely done. I wiped out once, which was enough. This is fun, they organize it well.”
Jeanne Fleck (Proctor, Minn.) finished second overall in 1:42:05 to defend her women’s 50-54 title, clinching a spot in the women’s overall top three for the second straight year. Jenny Wilcox (Stillwater, Minn.) grabbed the women’s 40-44 age group title as the third fastest-overall, clocking in at 1:42:39.
In total, more than 60 individuals from nine states competed on Sunday in St. Paul. The next USA Triathlon National Championships event will be in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where Collegiate Club Nationals and High School Nationals will be held from April 21-22. Visit usatriathlon.org/nationalchampionships for complete information on all of USA Triathlon’s 2017 National Championships.
2017 USAT Winter Triathlon National Championships
St. Paul, Minnesota
5k run, 19.5k bike, 3k run – Complete Results
Female Overall: Jan Guenther (Long Lake, Minn.), 1:39:14
Male Overall: Sean Cooley (St. Paul, Minn.), 1:17:28
F20-24: Emily Muellner (Minneapolis, Minn.), 1:45:58
M20-24: Aaron Bartnik (Minneapolis, Minn.), 1:20:13
F25-29: Lindsey Marshall (St. Paul, Minn.), 1:47:39
M25-29: Jonathan Fillmore (Hopkins, Minn.), 1:42:24
F30-34: Kierann Toth (Eagan, Minn.), 1:52:33
M30-34: Sean Cooley (St. Paul, Minn.), 1:17:28
F35-39: Tara Makinen (Grand Rapids, Minn.), 1:53:23
M35-39: Joel LaFrance (Plymouth, Minn.), 1:18:39
F40-44: Jenny Wilcox (Stillwater, Minn.), 1:42:39
M40-44: Jason Toth (Eagan, Minn.), 1:26:50
F45-49: Nancy Whillock (Aberdeen, S.D.), 1:43:18
M45-49: Scott Olden (Dallas, Texas), 1:32:13
F50-54: Jeanne Fleck (Proctor, Minn.), 1:42:05
M50-54: Paul Langer (Minneapolis, Minn.), 1:43:31
F55-59: Jan Guenther (Long Lake, Minn.), 1:39:14
M55-59: Brent Peacock (Jackson, Wyo.), 1:28:55
F60-64: Helen Gunther (Excelsior, Minn.), 1:56:42
M60-64: Stephen Clark (Cushing, Wis.), 1:34:00
M70-74: Daniel Kirk (Blaine, Minn.), 1:55:57