Young up-and-coming triathletes Taylor Knibb and Mike Meehan raced their way to overall titles at the 2014 USA Triathlon Sprint National Championships, held Sunday as the closing event of the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships.
Read the race recap from USA Triathlon below:
With nearly 1,750 finishers crossing the line at Sprint Nationals, Milwaukee was once again host to a record-breaking field. Nearly 4,850 amateur triathletes from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., competed over two days with the action centered at the iconic Milwaukee Art Museum and Discovery World.
Competing on a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run course, Knibb (Washington, D.C.) finished in 1 hour, 2 minutes, 53 seconds, the fastest time for the women’s field by nearly two minutes. Knibb, who also won the 15-19 age group, competes at the junior level and was third last weekend at the 2014 USA Triathlon Junior Elite Nationals.
“”It was just a lot of fun,” Knibb said after her race. “I am very fortunate to be able to race a lot of different races a lot of different places. I didn’t really know [if winning was possible], because you can control what you can control and who shows up isn’t in your control. It was a very competitive field today.”
Dani Fischer (Wausau, Wis.), yesterday’s second-overall finisher, repeated her performance today with second overall and first in the female 25-29 age group in 1:04:45. Adrienne LeBlanc (Scottsdale, Ariz.) picked up the female 45-49 age group win for third overall with a time of 1:04:59.
Meehan (Allison Park, Pa.), another young athlete from the 20-24 age group, turned in the fastest overall men’s time for the day in 58:29. Meehan also completed the weekend double, excelling on Sunday after a tough day on Saturday.
“I heard that all the guys were right in front of me, so I just kept on pushing really hard on the bike,” said Meehan, who lists USA Triathlon’s Collegiate Nationals and Age Group Nationals as the two most competitive races he’s done. “I was very happy with it. This is probably my biggest victory that I’ve had.”
Kevin Denny (Lee’s Summit, Mo.) was second overall and the top of the male 25-29 age group with a time of 58:47 after a 10th-place overall finish at Olympic-Distance Nationals on Saturday. Matthew Payne (Columbia Heights, Minn.) earned the male 35-39 age group title en route to third-place overall in 59:31, following a 15th-place overall finish on Saturday.
LeBlanc and Dave Slavinski (M40-44, Point Pleasant, N.J.), who won his age group in 1:01:45, won the Masters division in Sunday’s race. In the Grand Masters division, Lorrie Beck (55-59, Williamston, N.J.) earned the honor in a time of 1:14:49, while Michael Orendorff (60-64, Pueblo, Colo.) was recognized on the men’s side with a time of 1:08:48
Sprint Nationals became a USA Triathlon-owned National Championships event in 2010 and has quickly become a staple for athletes, especially when it comes to world championships qualification.
“This is my third national championship in a row and I’m going for my third world title in Edmonton,” said Lynda Lubelczyk
(Manchester, N.H.), who won the female 65-69 age group title. “For the third time this feels wonderful. Especially since the field was so stacked this year. I have never seen so many people. There were four or five people in our age group that could have given me a run for my money.”
Athletes of all ages echoed the sentiment that many of the most talented amateur triathletes in the U.S. were in attendance, due in part to the Team USA spots up for grabs. The top 25 in each age group automatically qualified to compete for the U.S. at the 2015 ITU World Championships, scheduled to take place in Chicago in September 2015.
“The competition is fierce,” said Kirsten Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.), female 30-34 age group champion. “With Worlds spots on the line for next year, that’s going to up the ante and you can’t find better competition anywhere in the world, I don’t think.”
Aside from national titles and world championships spots, athletes flocked to Milwaukee for a memorable event due in part to the cooperative efforts of the city of Milwaukee and the local organizing committee, including Visit Milwaukee and Peak Performance Pros.
“Urban racing is kind of new to me,” said male 65-69 champion Mike McDowell (Swartz Creek, Mich.). “Most of my races are in Michigan where you park your car 50 feet from transition. I love the city. There are a lot of great restaurants. The course was great. It’s amazing they can put this thing together with so many people and run it as smooth as it is.”
For more information on Sprint Nationals, visit Usatriathlon.org/agnc14sprint.
2014 USA Triathlon Sprint National Championships, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run
Sprint National Champions - Complete Results
Overall Female: Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.), 1:02:53
Overall Male: Mike Meehan (Allison Park, Pa.), 58:29
Masters Female: Adrienne LeBlanc (Scottsdale, Ariz.), 1:04:59
Masters Male: Dave Slavinski (Point Pleasant, N.J.), 1:01:25
Grand Masters Female: Lorrie Beck (Williamstown, N.J.), 1:14:49
Grand Masters Male: Michael Ordendorff (Pueblo, Colo.), 1:08:48
F15-19: Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.), 1:02:53
M15-19: Griffin Bailey (St. Louis, Mo.), 59:48
F20-24: Laura Mathews (Memphis, Tenn.), 1:09:34
M20-24: Mike Meehan (Allison Park, Pa.), 58:29
F25-29: Dani Fischer (Wausau, Wis.), 1:04:45
M25-29: Kevin Denny (Lee’s Summit, Mo.), 58:47
F30-34: Ericka Hachmeister (Corning, N.Y.), 1:07:36
M30-34: Jeremy Lindauer (Fishers, Ind.), 1:01:14
F35-39: Kirsten Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.), 1:05:58
M35-39: Matthew Payne (Columbia Heights, Minn.), 59:31
F40-44: Heather Westerman (Ligonier, Pa.), 1:09:07
M40-44: Dave Slavinski (Point Pleasant, N.J.), 1:01:25
F45-49: Adrienne LeBlanc (Scottsdale, Ariz.), 1:04:59
M45-49: Brian Francis (Ann Arbor, Mich.), 1:02:17
F50-54: Kelly Dippold (Overland Park, Kan.), 1:08:24
M50-54: Bobby Gonzales (El Paso, Texas), 1:04:39
F55-59: Lorrie Beck (Williamstown, N.J.), 1:14:49
M55-59: Tony Schiller (Eden Prairie, Minn.), 1:04:58
F60-64: Karen McKeachie (Ann Arbor, Mich.), 1:15:48
M60-64: Michael Orendorff (Pueblo, Colo.), 1:08:48
F65-69: Lynda Lubelczyk (Manchester, N.H.), 1:23:52
M65-69: Mike McDowell (Swartz Creek, Mich.), 1:13:33
F70-74: Heysoon Lee (Morristown, N.J.), 1:38:31
M70-74: Tony Marshall (Carlsbad, Calif.), 1:19:20
F75-79: Sheila Isaacs (Shoreham, N.Y.), 2:00:05
M75-79: Donald Ardell (St. Petersburg, Fla.), 1:25:34
F80-84: Joanne Rooney (Arlington Heights, Ill.), 2:34:20
M80-84: Brad Leonard (Missoula, Mont.), 2:08:25
M85-89: Robert McKeague (Villa Park, Ill.), 2:00:02