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USA Triathlon Announces 2008 Garmin Athletes of the Year

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USA Triathlon is pleased to announce the recipients of the Garmin 2008 Age Group Athletes of the Year awards, as selected by the USAT Age Group Committee and Duathlon Committee.

Included in the list are 18 awards for triathletes and duathletes across multiple categories for men and women, including overall, masters, grandmasters, ParaTriathlon, and juniors.

Following are the recipients of the 2008 USA Triathlon Garmin Age Group Athletes of the Year awards.

(all results are in age group unless noted otherwise)

Age Group Triathlon

DAVID KAHN, 24, PORT JEFFERSON, N.Y.

1st Ironman Arizona  
1st Boise 70.3
1st Open Amateur New York Triathlon
1st Overall Jack’s Generic Triathlon
1st Open Amateur Chicago Triathlon
1st Austin Triathlon
Open Amateur National Champion Toyota US Open
1st Clearwater 70.3

“Being honored as the US Age Grouper of the Year really means a lot to my coach and me.  It was a major goal of ours when we came up with our plan for 2008.  It’s really satisfying to look back on a year and say that you accomplished what you set out to do.”

BROOKE DAVISON, 37, BOULDER, COLO.

1st Open Amateur St. Anthony’s Triathlon
1st Overall Tri for Your Cause Boulder
1st Amateur Boise 70.3
1st Overall 5430 Boulder Sprint
1st Overall Loveland Lake to Lake
1st Amateur Boulder Peak Triathlon
1st Amateur 5430 Boulder Long Course
1st Open Amateur, Los Angeles Triathlon
1st Amateur Age Group Nationals
1st Open Amateur, Toyota US Open
1st Amateur Ford Ironman Clearwater 70.3

“In receiving this award, I am humbled and honored to be named Female Age Group Athlete of the Year. The field of age group women in 2008 was nothing short of incredible and helped push me to achieve my best. At each and every race, I felt honored to be among such incredible women racing in a sport that we all so thoroughly enjoy. I am so grateful to my entire family, my coach, and my community for helping support me along the way to achieving this award. Thank you, USAT!”

Masters Triathlon (male age 40-59 / female age 40-54)

BRIAN BICH, 42, DULUTH, MINN.

1st Amateur Pigman Sprint
1st Dakotaman
1st Overall Lake Waconia Triathlon
1st Overall Heart of the Lakes Triathlon
2nd Amateur, 3rd overall Brewhouse Triathlon
1st Amateur, 2nd overall Pigman Half Ironman
2nd 40-45 age group USAT Age Group Nationals
3rd Overall Best of the US National Championship

“I am extremely honored to be selected for this award, especially considering the group of great athletes who were also nominated.”

ELLEN HART, 50, DENVER, COLO.

2nd in age group, 6th Overall master Cross Country National Championships
1st Master, 1st Grand Master, course record by 6 minutes St. Anthony’s Triathlon
7th ITU Age Group World Championships
7th Overall female 1st in age group, 5430 Sprint Triathlon    
1st and course record by 29 minutes Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3 Triathlon
1st Boulder Peak Triathlon
1st 5430 Long Course Triathlon
4th USAT National Championships
3rd World Ironman Championships
1st World 70.3 Ironman Championships

“I am surprised, excited, and immensely honored by this recognition. Relatively new to triathlon, I have come to love the sport for its challenges and variety. I am grateful to the USAT, not just for the award, but more so for the incredible opportunities the organization provides for age-group athletes to compete, grow and excel. I am grateful for good health, great fellow triathletes that push me to be better, and my sweetie and family who support me in all this fun.”

Grandmasters Triathlon (male age 60+ / female age 55+)

STEVE SMITH, 62, GRANGER, IND.

1st USAT Age Group National Championship
1st Whirlpool Steelhead 70.3 Triathlon
1st Niles Triathlon
1st Muncie Endurathon
1st Buffalo Springs Lake Ironman
2nd Ford Ironman World Championship
1st Ford Ironman 70.3 Florida
2nd Ironman World Championship 70.3

“To have my name added to the list of legends that have received this award, makes it that much more special! I am truly honored and appreciative.”

ANN ERICKSON, 66, THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS

1st CB & I Tri The Woodlands
1st Capital of Texas 2008, Austin –SMW Regional Championship
1st Vancouver World Championship
1st Buffalo Springs Lake Ironman 70.3
1st Sportspectrum Rivercities Triathlon
1st F65-69 The Austin Triathlon
1st Ironman World Championship 70.3

“If you never give up, the reward is sweet at the end of the journey. When you are down, there is only one way to go – upward!  It was worth the climb back from injury and bereavement. It gives me the encouragement to repeat the climb back again after injuries and losing another loved one. Like the little train chugging up the mountain, saying, yes I can, yes I can, YES I CAN”

Age Group Junior Triathlon

JOE WELSH, 18, CORDOVA, TENN.

2nd Overall Whistlestop Duathlon  
1st Wildflower International Triathlon  
1st Memphis In May International Triathlon
2nd Vancouver World Triathlon Championships

“I am very honored to receive such an award.  Last year was a hectic year for me, as I dealt with college decisions, graduation requirements, and the typical life of a multisport athlete.  Fortunately, I was lucky enough to be offered some amazing opportunities, meet some awesome people, and compete in races which I never dreamed possible.”

AVERY VISSER, 15, AUSTIN, TEXAS

1st Overall Corpus Christi Triathlon
4th Open Pro field TX Rookie Triathlon
1st Overall Cap TX Triathlon
2nd Overall Couples Triathlon
1st 19 & U Iron Girl Triathlon

"I feel honored and blessed to receive recognition like this and it is my wish to encourage all young triathletes to aspire to fulfill their dreams in this sport.  Triathlons have been a great sport for me and has taught me how to endure and push myself beyond my preconceived limits".

Age Group Duathlon

CHRIS GANTER, 30, DOYLESTOWN, PA.

1st Overall Amateur Brandywine Duathlon
1st Overall Amateur USAT Duathlon National Championships
2nd Amateur Timberman
5th Amateur Ironman Arizona

“I'm honored to have been named USAT’s Male Athlete of the Year for 2008 Age Group Duathlon! Duathlon is not only a great way to test early season multisport fitness, but it is a great discipline in its own right. I absolutely love being a multisport athlete and I'm equally proud to be a duathlete!”

SUZANNE HUELSTER, 35, RIVERTON, N.J.

1st Overall Brandywine Duathlon
1st Overall Short Course Nationals Duathlon
1st Overall Metroman Du
2nd Overall Sunset Sprint Triathlon
1st Overall NJ State Triathlon
2nd Overall World Duathon Italy
3rd Overall Best of US Triathlon

“2008 was an incredible season offering countless opportunities to meet great people and race in some fantastic locations. This award certainly tops off what I thought couldn’t have been a better season.”

Masters Duathlon

CASEY WILLIAMS, 41, BOILING SPRINGS, PA.

1st Masters, 3rd Overall Carborro Classic – Mid Atlantic Masters Championship
3rd Masters USAT Short Course Duathlon National Championship
6th Masters ITU Long Course Duathlon World Championship
1st overall Gifford Pinchot Duathlon
1st Masters, 2nd Overall American Zofingen Long Course Duathlon

“It was an unexpected honor to be named the male masters duathlete for the 2008 season. I'm certainly humbled when I consider sharing in the company of athletes such as John McGovern, Gordy Holterman, Jeff Miller, Chris Giordanelli, Richard Bailey and Doug Covington who are all equally worthy of this privilege. Participating in duathlon events over the last couple of years has been a great experience, as there are a lot of wonderful folks involved in both the promotion and participation of the sport.”

JULIE DEERY, 43, BALA CYNWYD, PA.

Top Masters female Brandywine Valley Duathlon
3rd Amateur USAT Short Course Duathlon National Championship
1st Columbia Triathlon
Top Masters Female Hammonton Sprint
Top Master's Female Back Bear Triathlon
1st Philadelphia Triathlon
2nd Masters She Rox, Philadelphia

“Wow! Thank you for recognizing me as an athlete. I have only recently begun to think of myself as one. When I decided to do an Iron Man for my 40th birthday, I caught the triathlon fever. I have been inspired by the strength and beauty of all the women I race and compete with. A special thanks goes out to T3 Triathlon, my husband Paul Davis for training me and my dad Robert Sachse for being a real Iron Man.”

Grandmasters Duathlon


DENNIS KASISCHKE, 63, SAN DIEGO, CALIF.
 
1st Desert Classic Duathlon
1st Lake Havasu Tri
1st Rage Half Ironman
1st USAT Long Course Duathlon National Championship
6th World Long Course championship
2nd USAT Halfmax National Championship
3rd USATF San Diego section cross country series
1st Orange County Duathlon

"I believe the sixty age group has set the trend in multi sports.  Everyone in the group is as tough as when we were youngsters."

DIANE PROUD, 57, FORT WORTH, TEXAS

1st Regional Duathlon Championship - Striders Duathlon
1st and Top Masters USAT Duathlon National Championship
1st Regional Sprint Triathlon - Four States Triathlon
2nd Regional Triathlon Champs, Capital of Tex Triathlon
1st and Top Grandmaster OK State Triathlon - Route 66 Sprint
11th ITU Short Course Triathlon World Championship
1st and 5th Overall, Blazing Saddles Duathlon
1st Grandmaster and 8th female, Wool Capital Olympic Triathlon
8th USAT Age Group National Championship
3rd ITU Short Course Duathlon World Championship
1st Master Fall Classic Duathlon
 
“Being recognized as USAT’s 2008 Female Athlete of the Year for Grandmasters Duathlon is a wonderful surprise. It’s such an honor to be recognized again in such a great sport and organization. It inspires me to keep living and promoting the multisport lifestyle and to always try to do my best, especially when facing challenges.”
 
Junior Duathlon

BRIAN REGISTER, 19, MIDDLETOWN, N.J.

7th Annual Virginia Duathlon
1st USAT Short Course Duathlon National Championship
1st Hammonton Duathlon
1st Thundergust Duathlon
2nd Westchester Medical Center Biathlon
5th Flat As A Pancake Duathlon
4th Vincetown Duathlon
3rd Sunset Challenge Duathlon
10th Lighter Than Air Duathlon
4th Lums Pond Duathlon, 4th Overall and USAT Mid-Atlantic Duathlon Junior Champion
7th Skylands Duathlon
1st Endless Summer Duathlon

“I am very honored by this award. It means that a lot of hard work is starting to pay off, and not just by me. Because this award also belongs to my parents who have always supported and encouraged me, my brother James who is also a duathlete and the best training partner in the world, my great biking coach and teacher Don Clapp, and my running coach Bob Gordon. This honor is a great motivator to my brother and me to train hard, compete vigorously, and most importantly to continue to enjoy every aspect of this great sport.  Thank you.”

KRYSTAL BEMMAN, 20, WINTER HAVEN, FLA.

1st Gasparilla Marathon 1st in age group
7th ITU Short Course Triathlon World Championship
1st Danskin Women's Triathlon Series
2008 Publix Family Fitness Weekend Triathlon Series Overall Champion for age group
1st Powerman Florida
1st The Great Clermont Triathlon Regional Championships

“To be recognized by USA Triathlon as Female Athlete of the Year for 2008 Junior Duathlon is a great honor. USAT is the official governing body for triathlon, and for them to give you an award is pretty special. From the very first triathlon at age 14 that my mother coaxed me into doing, I have just fallen in love with the sport. Triathlons are a big part of my life, they enable my family to train and spend weekends together traveling to events. My 15-year-old brother, father, and mother, all compete in triathlons with me. For me, being a triathlete is very special. It is not just about winning races, it is a lifestyle, promoting healthy living and encouraging others to "tri". I have such a passion for the sport and fitness in general. I would to one day have a career in it. Whether by becoming a professional triathlete, a race director, or an owner of my own adventure fitness camp to provide youths with the opportunity to participate new activities, and show them how fun being active is.”

ParaTriathlete of the Year

JONATHAN BIK, 35, RANCHO CORDOVA, CALIF.

1st Above Knee - ParaTriathlon Triathlon National Championships
2nd Above Knee - ITU World Championships
Finisher California 70.3
1st ParaTriathlon - XTERRA National Championships

SANDY DUKAT, 36, DENVER, COLO.

1st Above Knee - ParaTriathlon Triathlon National Championships
1st Above Knee - ITU World Championships

About Garmin International
Garmin International is a world leader in GPS navigation with products for the automotive, marine, recreation/fitness and aviation markets. Runners, cyclists and triathletes around the world rely on Garmin fitness products to take their training to the next level. The GPS-enabled Forerunner® 305 is ideally suited for multisport training. In addition to tracking speed, distance, pace, heart rate, elevation and cadence, it’s available with a quick-release wrist and bike mount. And the training never ends after the workout. Athletes can upload their data to our online analysis program, Garmin Connect™, to view in-depth metrics, overlay their activity on a variety of maps and share routes and courses with a worldwide community of fitness enthusiasts.

In addition to sponsoring USAT's Athletes of the Year program, Garmin supports the USAT Trade Team and Coaching Education Program with their renowned GPS-based training and mapping tools.

Find out more at www.garmin.com

About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the national governing body for triathlon – the fastest growing sport in the world – as well as duathlon, aquathlon and winter triathlon in the United States. USAT sanctions 2,500 races and connects with more than 110,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USAT provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including World Championships, Pan American Games, and the Olympic Games.

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