ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota age-group athletes Jan Guenther and Joel LaFrance raced their way to national titles on Sunday at the USA Triathlon Winter Triathlon National Championships, held as part of the King Boreas Winter Triathlon at Lake Phalen.
Winter Triathlon Nationals featured a 5k run, 15k bike, 7k ski. (USA Triathlon)
Guenther (Long Lake, Minn.) clocked in at 1 hour, 40 minutes, 51 seconds on the 5-kilometer run, 15-kilometer bike, 7-kilometer ski event to grab the women's overall title as well as the women's 55-59 age group title. The course had shifted slightly in the days before the event due to unexpectedly warm temperatures in St. Paul, which made the snow-covered portions of the course slick.
"We managed to get the ski on. It wasn't icy, which was great," said Guenther, who considers herself a skier by trade and plans to do IRONMAN Wisconsin later this year. "It would have been harder than I expected if it was icy. The bike [was the most challenging part], because I'm not a very technical biker."
Cindi Bannink (Madison, Wis.) finished second overall for the women, winning the 35-39 age group in 1:42:57, and Jeanne Fleck (Proctor, Minn.) was third overall in 1:44:11, which earned her the women's 50-54 age group title.
LaFrance (Plymouth, Minn.) posted the fastest overall time of the day in 1:24:19, which also clinched the winning time for the men's 35-39 age group despite breaking a ski pole before the finish.
"It was fun, a good run course and the bike was really challenging. A nice variety, though - very solid," said LaFrance, who is mostly a skier and is considering entering a swim-bike-run triathlon again soon. "This is my first winter tri in a couple of years. Like I said, I'm a skier by trade, and with three kids, a lot of my training is run, bike, ski, so it makes sense for me."
Sean Cooley (St. Paul, Minn.) had the second-fastest time of the day in 1:25:09, grabbing the men's 30-34 age group title, and Andrew Tilman (St. Louis Park, Minn.) won the men's 25-29 age group with the third-best time of the day in 1:32:00.
Overall, more than 60 athletes competed in Winter Triathlon Nationals, traveling as far as Washington state to compete in the unique run, bike, ski format. Winter Triathlon Nationals is the first of 15 USA Triathlon National Championship events slated to take place in 2016. Visit USATriathlon.org for more details.
2016 USA Triathlon Winter Triathlon National Championships
St. Paul, Minnesota
5k run, 15k bike, 7k ski - Complete Results
Female Overall: Jan Guenther (Long Lake, Minn.), 1:40:51
Male Overall: Joel LaFrance (Plymouth, Minn.), 1:24:19
F17-19: Kaitlyn Lindaman (Winona, Minn.), 1:59:07
M20-24: Andrew Hoogerwerf (Rock Island, Ill.), 2:08:44
F25-29: Christina Roberts (St. Louis Park, Minn.), 1:44:38
M25-29: Andrew Tilman (St. Louis Park, Minn.), 1:32:00
F30-34: Alisa Reckinger (Minneapolis, Minn.), 1:58:52
M30-34: Sean Cooley (St. Paul, Minn.), 1:25:09
F35-39: Cindi Bannink (Madison, Wis.), 1:42:57
M35-39: Joel LaFrance (Plymouth, Minn.), 1:24:19
F40-44: Amy Dettmer (Grand Rapids, Minn.), 1:59:37
M40-44: Justin Cummins (Duluth, Minn.), 1:39:54
F45-49: Kitty Earl-Torniainen (St. Paul, Minn.), 1:44:39
M45-49: Tim Gallagher (Aurora, Ill.), 1:41:28
F50-54: Jeanne Fleck (Proctor, Minn.), 1:44:11
M50-54: Mike Berkopec (Eagan, Minn.), 1:37:34
F55-59: Jan Guenther (Long Lake, Minn.), 1:40:51
M55-59: Richard Chin (St. Paul, Minn.), 1:43:02
F60-64: Sheri Schrock (Cohasset, Minn.), 2:18:11
M60-64: David Dow (Stillwater, Minn.), 1:37:41
M65-69: Mark Winholtz (Andover, Minn.), 2:09:48
||About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with nearly 500,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).