August 2, 2018 at 3:07 p.m.
Matt Hutchinson has been an elite triathlete in Australia since his teenage years, and this year, on a whim, he brought his talent to the Chisago Lakes Triathlon.
He is going to college in Wisconsin and saw some information on the Chisago Lakes Triathlon and decided to load up his gear and take on the challenge. Four hours, six minutes and 45 seconds after starting that challenge, Hutchinson found himself crossing the finish line first, beating defending champion Sean Cooley of St. Paul by just under three minutes.
Hutchinson was consistent throughout the race, finishing in the top five in all three aspects of the race -- swimming, biking and running. He was fifth in the swim, fourth in the bike and was the top runner, which is where he made his move to pass Cooley. The two had nearly identical swim times, coming out of the water just two seconds apart, but Cooley is an elite biker, and consistently puts the top bike time on the board. He had put seven minutes between himself and Hutchinson heading to the final third of the race.
Cooley kept his lead all the way up until the final two miles of the running course, when Hutchinson dug deep and passed him on Old Towne Road in Chisago City. Hutchinson seemed to get stronger after the pass, putting nearly three minutes of time in between the two competitors over just the final two miles.
The late pass was one of the more dramatic finishes of the triathlon in recent memory, and it crowned a new champion.
Cooley, however, has nothing to hang his head about. He finished in 4:09:25 and the second place finish was his seventh straight top 10 finish in the event, and fourth straight top four finish.
Elk River’s Joe Adriaens finished in third place for the second year in a row, finishing in 4:14:52. Wade Cruser of Sauk Rapids finished in fourth and Aaron Scheets of Marshfield rounded out the top five. Reed Steele of Minneapolis was the fastest swimmer on the day, finishing the 1.2 mile course in 25:54.
Last year’s champion Molly Smith didn’t make the trek from Denver, Colorado this year, and that left the door open for a new champion to emerge amongst females. St. Paul’s Hannah Grinaker seized that opportunity and won the event with a time of 4:28:33. She cleared the rest of her competition by nearly 10 minutes.
She was dominant in her win, finishing fifth in the swim and registering the fastest bike time and the fastest run among women.
The accomplishment is all the more impressive considering the field was dotted with former champions Kelly Trom and Diane Hankee.
Becky Youngberg, of Eden Prairie, and Kortney Haag , of Maple Grove, had a battle for second place, with Youngberg beating Haag by just 57 seconds. Youngberg finished in 4:37:04 and Haag followed her runner up finish from last year with a third place finish in 4:38:01 this year.
Trom and Marlina Walth rounded out the top five females.
There were six local runners that finished the race:
98. Jeramy Kalusa, Wyoming, 5:18.43
160. Jon Lauritzen, Lindstrom, 5:37:14
188. DJ Rodacker, Stacy, 5:46:32
289. Sharron Peltier, Stacy, 6:23:53
318. Kristen Ponsolle, Chisago City, 6:36:02
409. Daree Scott, Wyoming, 8:11:41.
Sprint and Aqua Bike
Kevin O’Connor of Medina won the Sprint Race in a time of 1:16:30, beating second place finisher Matthew Payne by just 21 seconds. Nicole Heininger was the top female.
Dave Lundberg of Cottage Grove and Julia Weisbecker of Mendota Heights were the top male and female finishers in the Aqua Bike, which is the half distance without running at the end.
For full results of the sprint distance and the aqua bike, check out www.pttiming.com under All Results.