Friday, April 24, 2009

Minnesotans Among Favorites at St. Anthony's

Chaska's Curt Wood and Apple Valley's Cathy Yndestad are among the favorites to win the Elite Amateur division of the 26th annual St. Anthony's Triathlon in St. Petersburg, FL on April 26. Other than the USAT National Age Group Championship, St. Anthony's is arguably the most competitive Olympic distance age group race in America.

Wood, who placed 2nd against a similarly talented field at St. Anthony's in 2007, has been training hard and with great results lately. He appears to be in even better shape than he was at this time of year in '07, when he was run down in final miles by fleet-footed Greg Rouault of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Wood's stiffest competition this Sunday should come from 21-year-old rising star Javier Beuzeville (Tampa, FL), former US Athlete of the Year John Reback (Jupiter, FL), 2008 USAT Athlete of the Year nominee Chris Thomas (Easton, CT), underrated Californian David Valencia (Encinitas), Zach Winchester (Chattanooga, TN), who has won two major races--Miami International and Florida's Great Escape--already this season and uber masters Vinnie Monseau (Morgantown, WV), who won the Best of the US Championship last October (at age 39) and former US AOY and MOY Bruce Gennari (Brentwood, TN). Of this august group, Winchester appears to pose the most serious threat to Wood.

As runner-up for AOY in 2008 (AOY winner Brooke Davison is now a pro), Cathy Yndestad comes into St. Anthony's as the favorite "on paper." There are a pair of Chicagoland women that could get in her way, though. They are Elizabeth Ott, whose 2008 resume includes a win at Chicago and a close 2nd at the Best of the US Championship, and reigning 25-29 National Champion Lindsay Whalen,  who won convincingly at Miami International last month. And then there is the amazing Linda Robb, a former AOY and MOY, owner of four medals--3 gold--in World Championship competition and most significantly, a four-time winner at St. Anthony's. Though 45, she is still one of the top 5 US amateur women at Olympic distance. Moreover, Robb has racked up at least two big wins--Nautica South Beach and FAU Wellness--thus far in 2009. 

Look for either Yndestad or Robb to come out on top.

Nearly 5000 triathletes are enrolled in this year's St. Anthony's Triathlon.