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Triathlon: Nelsen repeats, Boran top girl

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Sports Writer

Over the river and through the woods, straight to the Brainerd High School or in the case of Riley Nelsen — the hospital.

Thirty five students competed in Saturday’s Brainerd High School triathlon in Brainerd.

Eighteen girls and 17 boys, who enrolled in the high school triathlon class, put their months of training to the test with a one-mile swim, a 25-mile bike route and a six-mile run that ended at the Brainerd High School track.

For Nelsen of Baxter, winning was not without its costs. Nelsen finished the triathlon in 2:30.14, five minutes before runner up Andrew Solseth finished, but collapsed at the finish line due to dehydration and exhaustion.

“It was a hard day as far as weather conditions go,” Nelsen said. “It got hotter than I anticipated, which is why I ran into problems toward the end of the triathlon.”

As an active person by nature, and a competitor in Brainerd sports such as track and field and Nordic skiing, Nelsen already had the elements of an endurance athlete, but needed all his strength to complete the triathlon.

“I actually didn’t feel like I was doing very good during the swimming leg,” said Nelson. “I swam a little faster than last year, but I trained quite a bit to get my swimming to the next level. The bike was definitely my favorite part of the triathlon. I’ve always had a desire to be active and stay healthy and I guess the triathlon was just another challenge. If I have an interest in something I’m going to take it to the limit as I demonstrated today.”

Nelsen, who won last year’s triathlon, was determined to repeat and did the work to prove it including up to six hours a day of training for both the triathlon and track and field events.

“It’s a lot more than just getting a pair of running shoes and knowing how to swim,” said Nelsen. “When you take it to the next level, you have to have a plan and support. My mom (Gina Nelsen) spent a lot of time with me, making sure I was hydrated and eating well throughout my entire year of training. I had just enough training and energy to make it to the finish line and not another step more.”

Not only did Nelsen bring a passion for the sport and some serious training to the table, but he also had the support of friends, family and teachers to cheer him on and help him keep his spirits up throughout the grueling day.

“As far as support goes everyone who came to support team Riley; relatives and friends cheering, was really cool. Mary Claire Ryan my swimming coach was a huge help in getting me ready for that swimming leg and all the support from my Nordic and cross country coaches like Dave Herath, Owen Trout and Carl Schirmer really made it possible for me to be ready for this event.”

Despite his collapse at the finish line, Nelsen’s future is still full of athletics as he plans on attending Gogebic Community College in Ironwood, Mi and continue his career as a Nordic skier.

“Being hospitalized puts a question on why you would be doing that and as someone who is used to the cold and the competing against the winter elements it was hard to be out on one of the first hot day of the year.

“You have to have a passion and a drive to be a better version of yourself and keep moving ahead.”

Laura Boran of Brainerd has her natural swimming abilities to thank for winning the girls triathlon. Boran held a nearly 10-minute lead over triathon runner-up Kayla Kraemer, after the swimming portiion and held on to win in 2:53.15. Kraemer was second in 2:54.48.

“Swimming is my thing,” said Boran. “I’m good at it and I knew that I would finish it first. When I got out of the pool, I felt pretty good and when we transitioned to the bikes I thought that would be my weakest leg of the tri, but everything went really well until about the last three miles of the run when I started to cramp up.”

Mike Boran added, “Laura trained steady all year and had a good plan going in and a good crew.”

Despite a few cramps, Boran had plenty of support along the route.

“It was really cool to have everyone cheering,” said Laura Boran. “People were telling me I was ahead, but I tried not to think about it because then it would get in my head and I didn’t want to psyche myself out.”

Boran, who participates in high school track and field and swimming, has been watching her parents Mike, who teaches the triathlon course, and Laurie Boran compete in triathlons for years and looked forward to the day when she could participate as well.

“I’ve been going to events with my parents for as long as I can remember and I always thought it was so cool seeing everyone completing triathlons in the past. I couldn’t wait to compete in an Olympic length one myself.”

With her goal accomplished and a first-place finish on her record, Boran has no plans to stop competing.

“I definitely want to do more triathlons especially ones in the area this summer,” said Boran

Boran plans to attend Luther College in Decora, Iowa where she will continue swimming.

For Mike Boran and Ellen Fussy, who teach the triathlon class, the day couldn’t have been more successful.

“Laura and Riley are both very hard working and they trained well,” said Mike Boran. “We’re proud of those two and we’re proud of all of the kids for finishing. It was a fun day.”

Fussy added: “Every kid was a winner. It was a lot of fun and the family support was great. It was just another great year.”

Boys triathlon results: 1-Riley Nelsen 2:30.14, 2-Andrew Solseth 2:35.11, 3-Justin Warling 2:45.44, 4-Travis Waytashek 2:48.15, 5-Spencer Kanga 2:50.33, 6-Tom Glynn 2:55.20, 7-Ben Anderholm 2:55.29, 8-Riley Kline 2:58.13, 9-Sam Dellacecca 3:01.08, 10-Adam Weise 3:04.13, 11-John Mitchell 3:04.32, 12-Zach Dehning 3:04.57, 13-Joe Polansky 3:12.18, 14-Bryton Mutz 3:17.03, 15-Dan Windjue 3:30.09, 16-Max Ostergren 3:49.27, 17-Ethan Dwire 3:57.45, 18-Zach Hammond 3:59.03

Girls triathlon results: 1-Laura Boran 2:53.15, 2-Kayla Kraemer 2:54.48, 3-Chelsie Manton 2:59.47, 4-Madi Grausam 3:08.54, 5-Grace Beckl 3:11.22, 6-Ali Speiker 3:13.36, 7-Alex Erickson 3:17.31, 8-Bailey Andres 3:29.14, 9-Blair Boileau 3:29.48, 10-Gabby Metzger 3:35.49, 11-Jamie VanSickle 3:36.11, 12-Emily Dumbeck 3:42.28, 13-Jocelyn Brown 3:45.39, 14-Mikaeela Martinson 3:48.33, 15-Morganne Johnson 3:52.14, 16-Kylie Andres 4:04.04, 17-Tori Saxum 4:40.34

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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