Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Richfield's Steve Sander has reached the podium on three occasions this season, but has yet to ascend to the top step.

That should change on Saturday.

But it won't be easy. He'll be facing La Crosse, Wisconsin's Brent Sinn, who convincingly won the Castaway Club Sprint, an earlier incarnation of this event, in 2005, in the Olympic-distance contest. Steve and Brent faced each other at Life Time Fitness Elite last month with Sander coming out on top by 1:08 and two places. It should be noted that neither guy raced up to his potential on that day.

Jim Graif of Elk River, has podiumed in three Tri-Minnesota Series races this season (Younglife is the ninth race in the 10-race TMS) and should do so on again on Saturday.

The absence of unregistered course record holder Marnie Walth of Bismarck, ND, and pre-registered star Michelle Andres (East Gull Lake), who recently informed MTN that she has decided to take an extended leave from the Sport, has cleared the way for Bemidji' s Christel Kippenhan to pick up her 3rd victory of the season.

St. Paul's Christina Roberts finished 2nd at Chaska earlier this season and should do likewise in Detroit Lakes on Saturday.

The men's field in the simultaneously-contested sprint race contains no established elites, thus is wide open. Naming a favorite is all but impossible, though we suspect that he will be a late registrant. For the girls, though, it appears that Duluth's Tara Makinen, last year's runner-up, deserves to be listed as the favorite.

(Pictured - Steve Sander cruising to a 5th place finish at Lake Waconia Elite. Photo by YndeCam.com)