COPPER HARBOR - It took a mirror image to push him to the very finish, but Jeff Juntti held on for his third victory in four years at the Aspirus Keweenaw Copperman Triathlon Saturday at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park.
Juntti, from Negaunee, battled step for step with Derek Anderson of Marquette throughout the second two legs of the 20th annual event: a 23-mile bike ride and 5-mile run. He knew exactly what his rival was capable of, since the two rode together on the same cycling team for 10 years.
"It's kind of a love-hate relationship. You're glad you have him to push you, but it makes it that much harder," Juntti said while the two broke down the race together after the finish.
Jeff Juntti of Negaunee, left, and Derek Anderson of Marquette hit the running trail in first and second place to start the final leg of the Aspirus Keweenaw Copperman Triathlon in Copper Harbor Saturday. (DMG photo by Brandon Veale)
Given their experience, it's easy to see why the two were first and second in the cycling leg and two of just nine entrants to complete the second phase in under an hour.
Anderson was out of Lake Fanny Hooe in sixth, while Juntti came on land 19th. Anderson said his advantage over Juntti in the swim balanced out in the final leg.
"I'm a crappy runner, he's a mediocre runner," Anderson joked.
1. Jeff Juntti, Negaunee, 1:44:22.1; 2. Derek Anderson, Marquette, 1:44:37.2; 3. Nils Stenvig, Pewaukee, Wis., 1:47:19.1; 4. Tom Wood, Houghton, 1:47.59.4; 5. Jason Fudala, Gladstone, 1:48:11.9; 6. Ryan Kruger, Iowa City, Iowa; 1:48:20.2; 7. Jesse Cleaver, Houghton; 1:48:58.3; 8. Christopher Schwartz, Ossining, N.Y., 1:49:12.2; 9. Derek Carder, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; 1:49:54.3; 10. Jason Foster, Spring Lake, Mich., 1:50:19.2.
11. Scott Kentner, Newberry, 1:50:20.9; 12. Jeff Halonen, Cottage Grove, Minn.; 1:53:10.4; 13. Jeff Rabine, Kalamazoo, Mich., 1:53:43.8; 14. Doug Oppliger, Hancock, 1:54:37.8; 15. Evan Johnson, Willimantic, Conn.; 1:54:52.3; 16. Christopher Marr, Houghton; 1:54:59.5; 17. Kevin Juntunen, Ann Arbor, Mich., 1:55:42.4; 18. Evan Marvin, Marquette, 1:57:03.5; 19. Erik Juntti, Hancock, 1:58:28.8; 20. James Bitner, Madison, Wis., 1:58:36.9.
1. Ann Hoover, Hancock, 1:58.51.8; 2. Carla Carder, Mohawk, 2:02.01.0; 3. Laura Seiter, Marquette, 2:06:10.7; 4. Karen Kruger, Iowa City, Iowa, 2:07:14.9; 5. Stephanie Peterson, Houghton, 2:07:21.8; 6. Brita Pietila, Brighton, Mich., 2:07:59.4; 7. Alea Juntti, Negaunee, 2:08:56.0; 8. Lianna Miller, Colorado Springs, Colo., 2:09:02.0; 9. Laura Kangas, Chassell, 2:09:48.7; 10. Aubrey Kraemer, Marquette, 2:09:54.5.
11. Hannah Hasek, Marquette, 2:11:34.6; 12. Joanne Wolford, Marquette, 2:11:47.0; 13. Debi Cain-Juntila, Marquette, 2:12:06.1; 14. Elise Manders, De Pere, Wis., 2:12:30.6; 15. Ruth Oppliger, Hancock, 2:13:17.7; 16. Laura Lankton, St. Louis Park, Minn., 2:13:21.3; 17. Heather Rilei, Calumet, 2:14:55.5; 18. Danise Jarvey, Calumet, 2:15:36.8; 19. Kim Green, 2:15:51.5; 20. Amber Oja, Hancock, 2:16:51.2.
Male: The Incredibles (Vladi Kotov, Petio Kotov, Paul Lyle), 1:47:51.7
Female: Call Me Maybe (Louisa Raisbeck, Shannon Handler), 2:09:44.1
Coed: Team Winston (Kate Bunker, Kris Bunker, Gregory Reed), 1:51:41.2
Juntti made up about 45 seconds on the bike leg to re-enter the second transition zone just slightly behind, erasing the last of the gap on the first steps onto the running trail. He never got a big lead, but ended up winning by 15 seconds in a time of 1 hour, 44 minutes, 22.1 seconds (within six seconds of his 2011 winning time).
"I didn't want it to be an all-out sprint at the end, but it was anyway," Juntti said.
Tom Wood of Houghton was the top Copper Country finisher, taking fourth in 1:47:59.4. Jesse Cleaver of Houghton, who was first in the swim leg by nearly 90 seconds, finished seventh.
In the women's race, Ann Hoover of Hancock had a little less to worry about down the home stretch. She was the only woman to finish in less than two hours, and her time of 1:58:51.8 was enough for a victory by more than three minutes.
"I sat back a little more at the beginning instead of going all out and that helped keep a reservation of energy," Hoover said.
Hoover came out of the water in 11th place, but made up the gap quickly, taking the lead near the halfway point. Her bike and run times were better than the rest of the women's field.
"Some years I compete, some years I just enjoy it. This year, I said, it's time to compete," Hoover said.
Carla Carder of Mohawk took second place in 2:02:01.0.
Team winners included: male: The Incredibles (Vladi Kotov, Petio Kotov, Paul Lyle); female: Call Me Maybe (Louisa Raisbeck, Shannon Handler); coed: Team Winston (Kate Bunker, Kris Bunker, Gregory Reed).