Jason Pedersen, 24, Simi Valley, Calif.
A 14:37 5K runner, Pedersen took up triathlon in earnest after graduating from Northern Arizona University last spring. He swiftly excelled in the sport, capturing the amateur title at July’s San Francisco Triathlon before placing fourth overall at USAT’s Age Group Nationals in August. This season, he’ll focus on draft-legal races, including ITU events in Clermont (March), Dallas (June), and Buffalo (September) with the hopes of earning an Olympic berth in 2016. “[Triathlon] gave the dwindling flame within me got a shot of fresh air,” says Pedersen. “I feel like I have been given a second chance at my dream to be an Olympian.”