St. Louis Park's Suzie Finger was the 2009 Minnesota Rookie of the Year. Do you know who the national Rookies of the Year are?
Of course you don't.
Presently, neither USAT Triathlon nor the national tri mags (Inside Triathlon & Triathlete) include ROYs in their season-ending athlete recognition. Hopefully, this will change in the relatively near future.
Since 1998, MTN editor Jerry MacNeil has assisted in USAT's AOY selection process by providing athlete bios. In the research process, he has come across some very talented first-year triathletes. Had the Federation had a ROY category in 2008, for instance, Jerry would have recommended New Jersey's David Slavinski for the men's award.
Who would his 2009 nominees be?
Florida's Sean Jefferson and Massachusetts' Crystal Anthony (pictured above).
These athletes have made impressive transitions from elite running to multisports. Anthony demonstrated great range, excelling in long and short course triathlon, and, less surprisingly, in duathlon. Jefferson's early season efforts were "medium-dazzle," but from August on he raced as well as any US amateur.
Check out these resumes:
CRYSTAL ANTHONY, 29, Beverly, MA
* 1st amateur @ Lake Steven's 70.3 - 9th overall woman (4:46:54)
* 1st overall @ Pumpkinman Half - 4:30:41
* 1st overall @ Mayflower International
* 2nd overall @ USAT Duathlon Nationals (She finished 8 seconds behind NJ's Suzanne Huelster, the 2008 USAT Duathlete of the Year and 2009 ITU World Amateur Champion)
* 3rd overall @ Mooseman Olympic
* 8th amateur @ 70.3 Worlds - 4:21:21
SEAN JEFFERSON, 27, Palm Beach Gardens FL
* 1st @ Huntington's Disease Triathlon
* 1st @ Loggerhead Triathlon
* 1st @ Tropical Triathlon
* 2nd overall amateur (25-29 National Champion) @ USAT AG Nationals
* 3rd overall @ Toyota US Open Elite
* 4th @ FAU Wellness Triathlon
* 4th @ Tradewinds Triathlon
* 10th @ Key Biscayne
Some may wonder why National AG Champion Joey Maloy of Brighton, MA was not recommended for ROY honors. Many believe that 2009 was his first year in the sport. The truth is he raced at least twice in 2008 (Witch City and Belleplain).
Anthony's closest competition for 2009 ROY was Emily Dewald, 26, of Bloomington, IL. Dewald's scorecard featured several regional wins, a 2nd (behind Minnesota's Kortney Haag) at Pigman Half and a 3rd at Chicago Elite.