Kirsten Sass, Bill Jones Crowned Olympic-Distance Age Group National Champions

Nearly 2,000 amateur triathletes cross the finish line at Omaha’s Levi Carter Park

OMAHA, Neb. — Nearly 2,000 of the nation’s top amateur triathletes competed for national titles on Saturday at the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships, with Kirsten Sass and Bill Jones taking home their first-ever overall Olympic-distance national titles.

The race, which is USA Triathlon’s largest and longest-running National Championships event, featured a 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run course centered around Omaha’s Levi Carter Park.

Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.), the overall women’s champion, broke the tape in 2 hours, 9 minutes, 47 seconds. Sass owns several national and world titles in her age group and was last year’s overall champion in the sprint-distance race, but today earned her first-ever overall Olympic-distance national title.

“I’m really happy with my race,” Sass said. “The bike is always my strong suit — my problem is usually going too hard on the bike and killing myself on the run, but then to a certain extent, you just have to lay it all out there. I feel like I was able to balance the two pretty well today. I gave it all I had, so I’m happy with the result.”

Jacqueline Godbe (Chicago, Ill.) took second overall in 2:10:17, winning the women’s 25-29 age group in the process, and Danielle Dingman (Branson, Mo.) rounded out the overall podium in third in 2:11:47.

Jones (San Diego, Calif.) took home the overall men’s title, crossing the line with a time of 1:56:19. Racing at his first-ever Age Group Nationals, Jones also collected the men’s 30-34 crown.

Jones had to wait and see if he would hold onto his national title for about an hour and a half after he finished, as younger athletes starting in the later waves had yet to come through the finish. He would ultimately hold onto the top spot, with Ian Hoover-Grinde (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) taking second in 1:57:51 and 2016 overall champion Todd Buckingham (East Lansing, Mich.) taking third in 1:58:08.

“The bike went extremely well for me. All of my training came through, and I really felt great,” Jones said. “On the run, I had an idea of where I was overall. I had looked at previous years’ times, so I knew I was going to be in contention. But I also knew there was a lot of competition in the 29 and under age group.”

In addition to their overall podiums, Hoover-Grinde earned the men’s 17-19 age group national title and Buckingham earned the men’s 25-29 crown.

“You don’t always get to test yourself against the best in the nation,” Buckingham said. “You have to qualify for this race, so not everybody can show up like at your average local tri. Having all of these awesome athletes out here, it makes you push yourself. It brings out the best in me, and I hope that I bring out the best in them too.”

In total, 28 national champions were crowned in their respective age groups on Saturday, 10 of whom defended their titles from 2016. Defending champions included Hoover-Grinde (M17-19), Buckingham (M25-29), Sass (F35-39), Tim Hola (Highlands Ranch, Colo., M40-44), Adrienne Leblanc (Scottsdale, Ariz., F45-49), Lee Walther (Oklahoma City, Okla., M55-59), Kathryn Wiberg (West Boylston, Mass., F70-74), Elizabeth Brackett (Chicago, Ill., F75-79), William Marshall (Santa Rosa, Calif., M75-79) and Madonna Buder (Spokane, Wash., F85+).

The top 18 finishers in each age group and gender (rolling down to 25th place) earned the opportunity to represent Team USA at the 2018 ITU Age Group Triathlon World Championships in Gold Coast, Australia.

“You put in all that training, and you just want to be able to race to the potential that you have in you. I feel like I did that today,” said Ryan Bickerstaff, who took home the men’s 35-39 national title. “I’ve been doing triathlons since 1990 — my ninth birthday was my first triathlon — and I represented the U.S. at Junior Worlds a few times, so to be able to do that again at Age Group Worlds will be really awesome.”

For some athletes, like men’s 50-54 champion Robert Skaggs, just making it to the start line was the biggest accomplishment of the day.

“I’ve been trying to get here for 17 years,” Skaggs (Solana Beach, Calif.), said. “I signed up multiple times and never made it because of various injuries, so this is my first Age Group Nationals since 1998. I’ve had four Achilles tendon surgeries, so this was the first year I’ve gone through a training block with no injuries. I got no sleep last night thinking about the race, just thinking, ‘I can’t believe I made it here. I can’t believe I’m really going to start.’”

For Ellen Hart (Denver, Colo.), a longtime Age Group Nationals competitor, returning to this race is an annual celebration.

“The experience was amazing, just getting to see all my friends who I maybe only see once a year,” Hart, who placed fourth for women 55-59, said. “This is one of those days I look forward to every year. When somebody asks me, ‘Why do you do this when it’s so hard and takes so much time?” It’s like, ‘This is when we get to dance on our stage. This is when we get to play a symphony together. This is when we get to show what it is that’s inside of us and put it all out there.’”

 

Original article from USAT here

Complete results here

USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships to Draw 4,000 Triathletes to Omaha This Weekend

Nation’s top amateur triathletes to compete for national titles in sprint and Olympic-distance events

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — More than 4,000 amateur triathletes are registered to compete at the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships, happening this Saturday, Aug. 12, and Sunday, Aug. 13, at Levi Carter Park in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Age Group Nationals weekend is USA Triathlon’s largest and longest-running National Championship event. Also held in Omaha in 2016, the event will feature two days of competition with national titles up for grabs on each day.

Races begin at 7 a.m. CT each day, with the Olympic-Distance National Championships on Saturday and the Sprint National Championships on Sunday. The Olympic-distance event, which has been held annually since 1983, features a 1,500-meter swim, non-drafting 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run course. Athletes in this race qualified to compete based on a top age-group finish at a previous USA Triathlon Sanctioned Event. The Sprint National Championships, which have no qualifying criteria, will feature a 750m swim, non-drafting 20k bike and 5k run.

On both Saturday and Sunday, athletes will be competing for national titles in their respective age groups. Top finishers in each age group will also earn the opportunity to represent Team USA at the 2018 ITU Age Group Triathlon World Championships in Gold Coast, Australia, in their respective race distances.

The top 18 finishers (rolling down to 25th place) in each age group of Olympic-Distance Nationals will automatically earn a spot on Team USA.

Sprint-distance competitors must finish in the top six in their age groups to secure a spot for the Sprint World Championships, which will feature a draft-legal bike leg. Athletes can also qualify for the Sprint World Championships by finishing in the top-12 in their age groups at the Draft-Legal World Qualifier in Sarasota, Florida, on Oct. 7, 2017. More information about Team USA qualification for the sprint race is available at usatriathlon.org.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia are represented by the competitors in this weekend’s field. The youngest athlete on the start list is 14 years old, and the oldest is 88.

In total, 16 national champions from 2016 will be back to defend their Olympic-distance age-group titles.

Colorado Athletes Racing both the Sprint and Olympic distance events:

Lena Aldrich
Kathleen Allen
Tea Chand
Julia Gorham
Ellen Hart
Michele Hemming
Heidi Hoffman
Barbara Kostner
Melissa Langworthy
Kimberly Malinoski
Nancy Mallon
Stephanie Meisner
Tatiana Morrell
Karen Rice
Dorothy Waterhouse
Karen Weatherby
Sandi Wiebe
William Ankele Jr
Michael Boehmer
Simon Butterworth
Alan Carter
George Cespedes
Kirk Framke
Jim Fuller
Joseph Gregg
Daniel Haley
Jim Hallberg
Tom Hennessy
Tim Hola
Grant Johnson
Thomas Murray
David Pease
Erik Peterson
Kevin Sheen
Vincent Trinquesse
Nathan Turner
Gary Waterhouse
Andrew Weinstein
Lockett Wood

Mother/daughter racing Sprint
Christy & Hannah Croasdell

Average women’s age 54
Average men’s age 46

USAT Sprint Distance National AG Championships

Sunday Aug 13, 2017

Omaha, Nebraska

 

Welcome to Omaha!

USA Triathlon is thrilled to host Age Group Nationals in Omaha for the second consecutive year. The event saw over 3300 finishers in 2016 at Levi Carter Park. Todd Buckingham and Alissa Doehla captured Olympic-Distance titles in 2016 while Kirsten Sass and Christopher Douglas captured Sprint titles. Visit the 2016 Olympic-Distance and Sprint recaps to relive the action.

 

Athletes attending Age Group Nationals can expect to find the following enhancements when they race in Omaha:

  • Two-lap Olympic-distance run course (course will be entirely contained within Levi Carter park)
  • Addition of a portable restroom on the run course
  • Increased shade areas within the venue
  • Revamped shuttle system from hotels and off-site parking lots
  • Improved traffic and parking flow on race morning
  • Improved spectator viewing and video area between the expo and transition
  • Increased food truck presence and offerings
  • Modified swim exit ramp for easier exit from the water
  • Earlier race start on Saturday and Sunday (7 a.m. CT)

 

No qualification is required for Sprint-Distance. Sprint registration is open to everybody.

 

Complete details here

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