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photo: USA Triathlon
Clubs, Long Course Triathletes Battle for National Titles
BOULDER CITY, Nev. — More than 1,500 triathletes competed Saturday in the USA Triathlon Club and Halfmax (Long Course) National Championships outside Las Vegas.
In the much hyped club battle, the L.A. Tri Club dethroned defending champion Columbia Multisport in Division I, capitalizing on the motivational and performance boost from one of its famous – and fastest – members, Chris “Macca” McCormack.
The sheer number of club members who made the short trip from L.A. to Las Vegas helped the L.A. Tri Club defeat Columbia Multisport 443.5 to 186.5. The Tri Club of San Diego finished third in Division I (clubs with more than 250 members) with 150 points.
“We knew we wouldn’t be able to match the numbers of the L.A. Tri Club, but we were just hoping to do our best out here and put some people on the podium,” said Clint Smith, a member of Columbia Multisport. “We’re just a proud little community that has a lot of good athletes who like to cheer each other on – we’re like a big family.”
In the Halfmax (Long Course) National Championship, Dantley Young won the men’s overall national title with a time of 4:27:57. Phillippe Kozub finished second and Ryan Stevens finished third.
Kirsten Sass finished first overall in the women’s Halfmax National Championship with a time of 5:06:13. Maggie Fournier finished second and Annie Carrino finished third.
Columbia Multisport, along with the other clubs competing Saturday, did not find out until Friday that they would not only be racing against the top clubs in the country, but also the 2007 Ironman world champion and perennial Ironman contender McCormack.
“It’s unreal [to be a part of the club atmosphere]. I spend a lot of time in L.A. and people in the club are close friends of mine,” McCormack said. “I love this type of racing and I love the grassroots stuff. As a pro you don’t get to come to a lot of these events, and it’s just wonderful to back here.”
McCormack fielded plenty of questions from athletes seeking a quick tip to help them on race day.
“A lot of people were asking questions about how to approach the race, and the key is just to smile and have fun,” he said. “That’s what’s good about these races. In the pro ranks no one really talks much and it’s really dog eat dog. This is more about fun. This is what got me into the sport in the first place – I miss this part of it.”
Many of the competitors acknowledged the role club participation has played in their triathlon career.
“I haven’t done a triathlon in two years, and it’s so motivating to be in a club and have everyone cheering for you as you go by,” said Molly Vetter-Smith of Columbia Multisport. “That’s what helps keep you going when you really feel the burn. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the club.”
1. L.A. Tri Club 443.5
2. Columbia Multisport 186.5
3. The Tri Club of San Diego 150
4. DC Triathlon Club 23
1. Team Sheeper 31
2. Phoenix Triathlon Club 27
No team competitors
1. Full Throttle Racing 90
2. Team Fast Lane 61
3. Mid-East Elite Tri Team 9
1. Baton Rouge Triathlon Club 30
2. Team Mindful Sports 20
Dantley Young (Highland Utah) 4:27:57
Phillippe Kozub (Baton Rouge Triathlon Club) 4:37:25
Ryan Stevens (Drums PA) 4:40:25
Kirsten Sass (McKenzie TN US) 5:06:13
Maggie Fournier (Onalaska WI) 5:15:45
Annie Carrino (Portola Valley CA) 5:19:46
Monica Murphy (Louisville KY) 5:35:59
Leanne Miller (Team Fast Lane) 5:21:47
Amber Rydholm (Boulder CO) 5:22:54
Karen Walls (Tucson AZ) 5:25:57
Karen Burks (Cedar Park TX) 5:26:24
Judyann Cummings (Denver CO) 5:27:15
Kate Samuelson (Livermore CA) 5:42:53
Jan Lebourgeois (Austin TX) 6:48:57
Barbara Kostner (Lakewood CO) 7:58:46
Madonna Buder (Spokane WA) 7:59:29
Dave Richter (Illinois) 5:23:48
Matthew Hoffman (Rio Rancho NM) 4:48:24
Mat Steinmetz (Lizton IN) 4:48:00
Kirk Framke (Denver CO) 4:43:11
Brad Hendron (Phoenix Triathlon Club) 4:49:47
Holger Beckmann (L.A. Tri Club) 4:47:10
Kevin Sullivan (Redondo Beach CA) 5:00:11
Patrick Wallace (Oswego OR) 4:57:27
Victor Selenow (Buena Vista CO) 5:36:24
Andrew Loeb (Sarasota FL) 5:32:52
Greyson Quarles (Duck Key FL) 7:15:13
John Weber (New York NY) 7:13:33