Every year, Team Sheeper presents a Triathlete of the Year award to two exceptional individuals on the team. They are chosen for their personal, behavioral characteristics as well as for their athletic achievements and team contributions.
Our triathlon community is comprised of numerous individuals who are worthy of this award every year, but these athletes are singled out because of the way they elevated themselves in achieving ordinary to outstanding results during that year. And more importantly, they have improved our already thriving team culture by their actions and demeanor.
In the end, our team would just not be as successful without the involvement of these individuals. Congratulations to our winners!
Always smiling and always smooth in her style. Her pleasant and infectious demeanor perfectly aligns with her incredible flawless abilities to swim, bike and run with the best in her division in the country. Being unflappable and an on-the-fly problem solver are her super powers.
If it needs to be done, Boris will get it done. If the task is hard, Boris will meet the demands head on and persevere. A doer and an achiever and a team influencer that lifts the spirits and performance of his teammates.
Lori is the definition of achiever. She consistently is putting in the effort to shape the best athlete inside herself. She does what it takes to make improvements and she is no stranger to sacrifice. Although soft spoken, she will brutally “rip your legs off” on a climb when provoked.
Our team resident disrupter and jokester. Always searching to keep the team culture light and fun, but let it be known he knows how to drop the hammer when called for. Perry, through his commitment to improvement and hard work has made himself into one of the best triathletes in his category in the nation. His 1-2 workout daily routine fuel this near octogenarian to “get ‘er done.”
If you let her tell you about herself, she will be too modest to say anything other than she likes to be active. That would be the biggest understatement of the year. A multi-decade-long ultra distance cyclist and endurance athlete with incredible feats of of durability in swimming, cycling, running and triathlon. The warmest and most thoughtful person you may ever meet.
The hardest working Tennessee bred triathlete on the west coast. His low key style and demeanor is a cover for his internal fire that burns bright and allows him to achieve his goals and fight to the finish line of every event or workout.
Don’t let the doctor who replaced both her knees know that she is a world class triathlete that has no intention of settling into a life of leisure. A multiple time worlds qualifier that mostly gets tired from her incessant climbs up to the top of the podium after each race.
A fast wit, a quick punchline has made this speedy athlete a team treasure. His tenacity and drive has launched this new to the sport athlete across many. 70.3’s and Ironman finish lines. A long way from his first bike ride with the team when he showed up wearing sneakers and not knowing any different.
The laughing, talking Tiger. Jen prides herself on keeping it light and friendly and can easily start and be pulled into a workout long conversation. However, when it is go time-The Tigress in her knows how to get the job done and catch her prey.
Smiling, jovial and a straightup badass. Lee came to triathlons later in his adult life and has put in the hard work to make himself a consistent , durable, and constantly improving athlete with many races and Ironmans to his credit.
Lindsey – The light is on and the welcome mat is out. Lindsey is akin to a porch light that is bright and shining where everyone feels comfortable approaching and being greeted by her pleasant and uplifting demeanor. Her openness and willingness to authentically encourage all team members with no bias to first day members or grizzled team veterans, is her special brand of welcoming all to be themselves and thrive. Once Lindsey is convinced that the group is in good spirits, she is also very capable of ripping off their legs on a hill climb or their arms in a 400-yard pool effort. Of course, with a finishing smile.
Tim – With the mindfulness, precision and patience of a Zen master, Tim has molded himself into a very capable and competent triathlete. Joining our team devoid of any swimming or cycling ability was not viewed in Tim’s mind as a detriment or a detraction, but more as an opportunity to learn more about himself while navigating the challenge of mastering three sports. While observing, questioning, participating and experimenting within our team environs he methodically improved his command of the sports, his connection to his team members, and his awareness of how everyone in the community is lifted when one grows and thrives. I am certain that Tim’s process will continue to enlighten himself as well as others on the team to reach even greater heights.
Cindy – Concentrated; is the word that best describes this powerhouse of a person. Jam-packed into a stature that on her tip toes nearly reaches five feet, is resiliency, tenacity, positivity, creativity and durability. Her careful planning, and thoughtfulness in her physical endeavors and her outreach to team members is unprecedented. Cindy’s “Super Powers” are an incredibly fast walking pace, that absolutely no one else on the team can dream of matching accompanied by her body flexibility that makes one wonder if her tendons and ligaments have been replaced by rubber and elastic. Her commitment to our team community has led her to achieve more life accomplishments than she once thought possible.
Claudio – Fashionable and international, while still very sleek and swift is what best describes Claudio. When desired, provoked or challenged Claudio is capable of unleashing wicked-fast speed in all three sports that tops all facets of our team. Claudio in sport as in life has the innate ability to express incredibly strong traits of yang while racing motorcycles, bicycles, triathlons, trading stocks or DJing a house party. While he is equally as comfortable and capable of expressing his ying while caring for beginners on our team or attending to his two small children. Claudio is a unique treasure to our triathlon community.
Jenna Holden-Cool Runnings. Unmatched in the history of our team in strength, courage and optimism. Jenna has overcome more in her young life than most will encounter in a century of living. Her loudest voice couldn’t wake a sleeping baby, but her actions wake up others to quiet their personal pity parties and to strive and push right alongside her. Just try to rattle this woman…I dare you…it can’t be done.
Mike Ross-Tenacious Attack-When Mike bites into something…he will not let it go until he has shaken the life out of it or is content to let it go on his own terms. Mike came to triathlons as a below novice swimmer and has had the most meteoric rise to prominence in the history of the team. His tenacity condenses timelines and that is his enjoyment and his gift to others. Who can help get caught up in his drive and enthusiasm? He pulls a majority of his teammates along his fast path of growth and determinism, while he never loses sight of his goal or his bliss.
Grant Little-Quiet Storm. Grant is by nature quiet…you will hear only a few words from him during a training session, but he will make his presence always be known by devastatingly fast efforts on the bike and run. He can get so far ahead of the chase group that if he were to say something, no one could hear. But, when he speaks about his passions of triathlons and adventure, you’d be engaging with a man who living out what is in his heart and what satisfies his soul. More importantly there is not an equal to Grant when it comes to caring for others on the team. A true team player.
Leah Fine-Positively Steady-There is no stopping Leah. Leah has been steadily improving year over year as a triathlete since the late 90’s. Leah is an athlete that accepts and conquers our most daunting team challenges gathering more and more “street cred” in our circle of reality. More importantly, Leah is a natural team builder and instigator of inclusion. Teammates respect her experience and her insight as she encourages all to participate, grow and enjoy all at the same time. A true fire-starter.
Beginner to Badass in a decade. The first time I saw Mary at a training session, I would have “bet the farm” that her career in triathlon would have lasted another 2 weeks before retiring to the local “quilting club.” Mary has taught me to never judge an athlete but what you see in front of you, but to get to know them and look deep into their resolve and soul for the true athlete. She has transformed her physical athletic machinery to match her competitive and ever positive psyche. She is one of the only handful of people that I know that takes on challenges with guts and gusto. I have witnessed Mary cross the finish line at many extremely demanding XTERRA races where ambulance rides off mountain would be abundant for less than expert riders. I have seen her dominate stand-up paddling endurance races and take-off on lefts in Maui. I hope to meet more people in my life that surprise and impress me as much as Mary.
How can a guy be constantly smiling and in a good mood? What does he know that we don’t know? How can a guy always seem calm when there is a storm brewing around him? What does he know that we don’t know? Well, we know that our Paul Buttery: Has ascended from a very green beginner triathlete to an accomplished Ironman triathlete in such a very short period of time. We know that our Paul Buttery: Equally enjoys conquering the challenges of a very tough Wildflower long course and the celebratory bacon laden breakfast the next day. We know that our Paul Buttery: Does not hold grudges against his beautiful wife after she crushes him in our annual donut-eating contest. We know that our Paul Buttery: Is doing triathlons for all the right reasons and we know that he will have a long a successful crusade in the sport.
Like her famous namesake, Ray “Boom-Boom” Mancini, a world champion boxer, our own Claire “Boom-Boom” Mancini is a fierce competitor. Boom…she shows up at a race. Boom…she dominates the race. Claire is new to triathlons, but she is not new to competitive endurance sports. To accompany her strong and extensive background in swimming and running, this year she put her head down and started punching out cycling workout after cycling workout to a point where she is now able to knock-out all her peers in each of the three disciplines. Beneath Claire’s quiet exterior lies true grit and determination. These characteristics, coupled with her intense will to win and her insatiable appetite to improve herself by attacking every training session will allow her to be at the top of the sport for years to come.
Passion, wit and hard work. These are the three characteristics that have led Bob to be a valued and respected member of the team for a decade. The passion Bob has for triathlon and for everything he does in life is demonstrated by his consistency of effort, attendance and attitude. Bob’s ability to poke fun (Monty-Python-Style) at himself and a few others is the comic relief that is necessary to break the drama of pressure and tension that often builds and disallows others from taking our hobby and ourselves too seriously. When all is said and done, Bob is one of the hardest workers in the history of the team. He will flog himself over and over if it is necessary to get something done and done right, so he can finish with his patented phrase, “Jobs-a-Goodn’.”
Heidi’s appetite for improvement in her relatively new sport of triathlon is insatiable. Her quest for self-optimization is apparent at every training session and every event she graces. Her eternal optimism married with her internal drive has combined to elevate her swimming, cycling and running. Heidi has thrown the traditional wisdom of increasing one’s goals and expectations slowly and methodically, out the window. She has put herself on the FASTRACK and she is thriving due to her focus and drive in order for her to meet the high standards. Heidi accomplishes all this with an extremely humble and giving attitude and is admired by all team members.
Dave is the epitome of the Triathlete Statesman. He is driven, tenacious, experienced and a bit crazy. Dave is famous on Team Sheeper for completing a triathlon in each of the 50 states before he was 50. This amazing feat was only accomplished because of his resourcefulness, precision planning and expert execution skills. Dave has frequented our training sessions for more than a decade and honed his fitness and endurance skills during the week so he can launch into various challenges on the weekend that fuel his never-ending thirst for challenge and adventure. Dave has become a standard and steady measure on our team. Everyone always knows that his positive demeanor and his healthy output will add to our team experience.
Who knows where his peak is? Untapped and unknown are the best way to describe Vaagn’s triathlon talent. Vaagn began his triathlon career with very little swimming, biking or running background or any sporting background for that matter. His strategy for triathlon training has been.. “keep up with the guy in front.” Well, Vaagn is running out of guys in front of him. He has taken his drive for perfection, his analytical mind, and his raw physical talent and molded all that into being a national class triathlon contender. Although he is capable of riding or running alongside the very best, he enjoys everyone’s company and can be found happily accompanying all levels of his team mates around the training courses, displaying his authenticity as a team player.
Always smiling, always leading with a pleasantry, always inquiring about how you are doing. This is very tricky to the uninformed…it is easy to mistake this wickedly talented young triathlete as a happy-go-lucky, just-glad-to-be-here amateur rookie….that is, until she puts her body into motion. Whether she is swimming, cycling or running Jess will go “flat-out” at world class speeds with a ton of passion to accomplish whatever goal she sets out for herself. Her tenacity and talent have propelled her to the top of her class in short, medium and long distance races. Her personal qualities also lift the performance and spirits of all who come in contact with her during training or racing, making Jess a vital member of our triathlon community.
Tenacity, focus, determination, longevity. This is what Ian Hersey is made of. Ian has accomplished many great feats as an lifelong endurance athlete and he is nowhere near done with his career. In fact, he is just getting stronger and more intense as the years wear on. Ian is the ultimate achiever who is always setting out goals for himself that he is not sure he will be able to meet. Each time he does meet the goals it just makes him that much stronger and hungrier for the next horizon. Ian is and will always be a competitor in every age group that he enters in the triathlon world or his beloved running community. His contribution of passion and pure joy of triathlon to the Team Sheeper culture has no match.
Mia is a phenom and is not even aware of it. Mia has really only scratched the surface of what her body and mind are capable of accomplishing in endurance sports. As she continues to build years of athletic experience her confidence in her athleticism will follow and she will begin to demonstrate exactly how lethal she could be on a triathlon course. She has shown that her hard work, consistency, positive attitude and perseverance allows her to find the steps of a podium at most of her competitions. Mia has overcome many physical set-backs to achieve her fitness goals. This Team Sheeper Triathlete of the Year has only just begun her ascent.
2009 was the year that Keith decided to commit to change from a recreational athlete to a competitive athlete. He not only changed his mind about his desires, he changed his training schedule, he changed his racing schedule, he changed his thought patterns, he changed his eating habits, he changed his personal expectations, and through all this he changed how people viewed his athletics. The one thing Keith did not change was his passion for keeping it “fun” and keeping it “real.” 2009 was only the first year in what I am sure will be a long line of years of personal discovery and improvement.
2009 was the year Kelly decided she had enough of being a good triathlete. She decided she wanted to be an excellent world class competitive triathlete. She wanted to put her whole being into reaching her physical and mental potential. Her great strides in 2009 as an athlete had nothing to do with more or harder physical training, it came from belief. Step by step through the season she was able to believe more in herself and her abilities which enabled her to tap into her extreme athletic potential. Each time she stepped to a starting line in 2009 she had more confidence and belief than her previous event. This confidence unlocked her door to high performance and self-satisfaction.
Mike is an athlete that performs at his peak when he is surrounded by positive and enthusiastic people. He has been doing triathlons for almost 20 years over all distances and has plenty of experience to share with newer team members. Mike uses his natural ease with people to offer his positive energy in return for theirs. He has employed this formula to continually improve each of the three disciplines over the many years he has been a part of the team, and is a great example of how consistent training can overcome the aging process.
Cindy is a unique triathlete who has progressed tremendously since her introduction to the sport a few short years ago. Her drive to uncover the mysteries of our sport have led her on a quest to improve as an athlete by the most efficient means possible. Her tenacity at consistency and her continual positive outlook on life and sport has enabled her to come into the good graces with the wide spectrum of athletes across our team. She is a gamer and ready to give anything a go.
The noblest of all gentleman athletes that the team has ever known. His consistency, camaraderie, empathy, and determination set him in an echelon that all athletes can learn from. His performances are carefully planned and executed with most results going the way of the dream.
The world is not quite ready for a woman of this caliber. Her endurance feats in one season are nothing short of remarkable. Her endurance, recovery ability, desire to excel, desire to find human limits are what set her apart not from just the average athlete but from even the best world class competitors.
Dogged determination with an understanding of the global and minutiae of triathlon have kept him on a constant trajectory upward in his triathlon career. His unparalleled preparation for Ironman Cour de Alene where he ran with a torn tendon in his foot, but it still netted a Hawaii Ironman qualification where he managed a most respectable finish in his first World Championship appearance.
The strongest, sturdiest, and swiftest triathlon runner to ever grace the team. Her sheer joy of running has propelled her to many top finishes at the sprint to Ironman distance, along with an fantastic appearance and finish at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. There is no one else that can match her spirit to run for the pleasure of it regardless of time or place, which she never even calculates or records.
The quietest most humble elite athlete that you may ever meet. His ascent through the age group ranks at numerous races along with overall race wins have made him a contender on the national stage for his professional career.
Her strengths are her determination and her mental outlook, along with her phenomenal endurance capabilities. She has made tremendous improvements on her cycling enough to challenge our teams top riders as well as her racing peers. She epitomizes a team player and has been a fabulous training partner and confidante to many athletes on the team.
He parlayed his epic leg speed with his strong determination and his unmatched preparation skills to launch himself to the forefront of the team and the regional and national scene as a top competitor. His swimming improved to a point where he could still be a threat for the win on the run.
She came from out of nowhere to have one of the most diverse seasons of racing in the history of the team. Events from long distance cross country skiing to short sprints at swim meets to sprint and Ironman triathlons. Her recovery and preparation ability and determination married with tenacity thrust her to be a endurance force.
In only a few short years of being a triathlete he has leveraged his world class swim speed into a strong cycling and a national class long distance runner in the Ironman. Ed logged one of the top five fastest Ironman run splits ever on the team with a 3 hours 25 minute marathon to go along with a team record 49 minute 2.4 mile swim.
She was totally relentless in her racing endeavors again this year. Coming back after a year off to give birth to her first child, Tina raced herself into shape and back to the highest point of the podium in races ranging from sprint to the Ironman. An inspiration to aspiring parents everywhere.
One of the strongest riders on our team even though he give up a couple of decades in age to most of his teammates. This ageless wonder has carved out a name for himself on the regional scene with numerous top age group placin
One would never know by looking at her that this is the fiercest competitor that the team has ever known. She will let nothing stand in the way of her and a finish line. Sweet and motherly on the outside, while rugged and rough on inside. She mowed down most of the woman in her age group with top placings at Nationals and World Championships.
A remarkably strong athlete in each discipline. Started with a water polo background and used hard work to raise him to the top of the team and the top of his age group nationally with a phenomenal 9 hours 30 minute Ironman California which qualified him for Hawaii Ironman where he went about the same time.
A fearless and prolific competitor who raced more than anyone on the team with countless wins and top age group placings. She uses her wicked-fast foot speed to close out races faster than any of her competitors.