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 involvements of these individuals. Congratulations to our winners!
- 2012:Heidi Buttery and Dave Mandelkern
- 2011:Vaagn Toukharian and Jess Smith
- 2010: Ian Hersey and Mia Terada
- 2009: Keith Terada and Kelly Couch
- 2008: Mike Osmond and Cindy Welton
- 2007: Martin Michael and Michele Santilhano
- 2006: Pierre Pujol and Kirsten Kempe
- 2005: Jeff Piland and Sally Phillips
- 2004: Lennard Hachmann and Mimi Winsberg
- 2003: Ed Owen and Tina Lount
- 2002: John Richardson and Edie Heideman
- 2001: Chris Berry and Tina Lount
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 ones 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 your'e 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, camaradarie, 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 minutae 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 placings.
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 countles wins and top age group placings. She uses her wicked-fast foot speed to close out races faster than any of her competitors.