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Jarrod Shoemaker is the top-ranked American entering the WCS Grand Final.
Jarrod Shoemaker is the top-ranked American entering the WCS Grand Final.
photo: Janos Schmidt/triathlon.org

U.S. Sending 13 Elite Athletes to ITU WCS Grand Final

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Thirteen of the United States' top elite triathletes - seven women and six men - will be in action on Sept. 11-12 when the 2010 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series culminates with the Grand Final in Budapest, Hungary.
 
The seven-race WCS is a key proving ground for the United States' top triathletes hoping for a slot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team. In addition to racing for WCS points, athletes also will be looking to score points toward securing a spot for their country at the 2012 Olympic Triathlon in London.
 
Increased rankings points and prize money will be on the line in the Grand Final.
 
The men are scheduled to race at 7 a.m. EDT on Saturday, Sept. 11 followed by the women at 8 a.m. EDT on Sunday, Sept. 12. A live webcast of both races will be available from ITU at triathlonlive.tv, and NBC Universal Sports will air the races on delay. Click here for more on the event from ITU.
 
Headlining the American squad is a pair of men ranked in the top 13 of the WCS series rankings in No. 7 Jarrod Shoemaker (Maynard, Mass.) and No. 13 Matt Chrabot (Colorado Springs, Colo.), and three women rated in the series' top 16 in No. 11 Laura Bennett (Boulder, Colo.), No. 14 Sarah Haskins (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and No. 16 Sarah Groff (Hanover, N.H.).
 
Joining Chrabot and Shoemaker on the men's side will be Kevin Collington (Orlando, Fla.), Ben Collins (Seattle, Wash.), Chris Foster (Redondo Beach, Fla.) and Manuel Huerta (Miami, Fla.). Additionally, Greg Bennett (Boulder, Colo.) will race under the ITU flag. Click here for a full men's start list.
 
Rounding out the women's start list of the U.S. is Mary Beth Ellis (Boulder, Colo.), Alicia Kaye (Maynard, Mass.), Jillian Petersen (St. Louis, Mo.) and Jenna Shoemaker (Santa Monica, Calif.). Click here for a full women's start list.
 
All athletes will compete on an Olympic-distance course comprised of a 1.5-kilometer swim, a 40-kilometer bike and a 10-kilometer run.
 
USA Triathlon takes a look at some news and notes leading into the 2010 ITU WCS Grand Final:
 
Team USA Piling up Top-10 Finishes
Over the course of the 2010 WCS, the United States has amassed a total of 15 top-10 finishes by six different athletes in the six events leading into the Grand Final. Jarrod Shoemaker leads the way with four top 10s, while Sarah Haskins and Laura Bennett have posted three top 10s apiece. Matt Chrabot owns the top performance by the U.S. this season with a fourth-place finish in Kitzbuhel last time out.
 
In Budapest, the U.S. will seek its first WCS podium finish since Shoemaker was victorious in Hamburg in 2009. Haskins' 2008 silver medal in Vancouver ranks as the most recent podium finish for the U.S. in a world championship final.
 
Shoemaker on Pace for Top U.S. Men's Finish Since 2006
On the strength of four consecutive top-10 finishes earlier in the season, Jarrod Shoemaker enters the Budapest event seventh in the WCS series rankings. No U.S. man has finished as high as seventh in the ITU world rankings since Andy Potts and Hunter Kemper were third and fifth, respectively, in 2006. Shoemaker finished 2009 ranked 10th overall and as the No. 1 American in the WCS series rankings.
 
U.S. Led by Super Swimmers
Three United States women - No. 1 Laura Bennett, No. 3 Sarah Haskins and No. 4 Sarah Groff - enter the Budapest event in the top four of the ITU Best Swimmer Rankings, which are based on each athlete's swim performances over the course of the season. On the bike, Chris Foster and Matt Chrabot stand second and fifth on the men's side, respectively, while Jillian Petersen is third among the women.
 
Balanced Attack for U.S. Women
In No. 11 Laura Bennett, No. 14 Sarah Haskins and No. 16 Sarah Groff, the United States is the only nation with three women in the top 16 of the WCS series rankings. All three have posted top-10 finishes this season and will look to do the same in Budapest.
 
Shoemaker Family Well Represented
Three of the 13 members of the U.S. elite roster in Budapest are members of the Shoemaker family. Jarrod Shoemaker is the top-ranked U.S. men's athlete, and his wife, Alicia Kaye, and sister, Jenna Shoemaker, will compete in the women's race. Jenna Shoemaker ranks 46th, while Kaye stands 54th, in the women's series rankings.
 
Family Reunion in Budapest
The top-ranked U.S. women's athlete, Laura Bennett, won't be the only member of her family racing in Budapest. Her husband, Greg, will compete in the men's elite race under the ITU flag as he transitions to racing for the United States. Additionally, Laura's father - Paul Reback (North Palm Beach, Fla.), 69 - is schedule to race in the ITU Age Group Olympic-distance World Championship on Sunday, Sept. 12.
 
A Look Back at Gold Coast
In the debut season of the ITU World Championship Series, Sarah Haskins led the way for the U.S. with a fourth-place finish in the Grand Final in Gold Coast, Australia. Sarah Groff was 13th and Mary Beth Ellis was 23rd to put three Americans in the top 25 of the women's event. On the men's side, Shoemaker finished 14th and was the top U.S. athlete.
 
USA's Elite World Championship History
Entering the Budapest Grand Final, the United States ranks second behind only Australia in all-time world championship medals. The U.S. has captured 19 medals, while the Aussies have grabbed 43. Sarah Haskins' 2008 silver is the most recent hardware captured by the U.S., and Laura Bennett is a three-time bronze medalist (2004, 2005, 2007). The American men have won just two medals - a 1991 gold by Mark Allen and a 1991 bronze from Mike Pigg.
 
United States Athletes 2010 Season Highlights:
 
Men
Jarrod Shoemaker, 28, Maynard, Mass., WCS Rank: 7
Ranked seventh in the ITU World Championship Series series rankings through six events · No U.S. male athlete has finished as high as seventh in the world rankings since 2006 · Posted four straight top-10 finishes on the ITU WCS circuit and owns seven top 10s in ITU events this year · Finished eighth at the first-ever ITU Elite Sprint World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Aug. 21 · Placed seventh in the Hamburg ITU event on July 17 and followed with a seventh-place showing in London on July 25 · Finished ninth and was the top American finisher at the Hy-Vee Triathlon June 13 · Placed ninth at the Madrid ITU World Championship Series race on June 6 · Finished eighth at the ITU World Championship Series stop in Seoul on May 8 · Placed third in the Mazatlan ITU Pan American Cup in March.
 
Matt Chrabot, 27, Colorado Springs, Colo., WCS Rank: 13
Currently ranked 13th and is the No. 2 American in the ITU World Championship Series series rankings · Finished fourth at the ITU WCS stop in Kitzbuhel for his second top-10 showing and the best finish by an American this year · Was part of a five-man breakaway on the bike and missed the podium by just 14 seconds · Placed fifth in a French Grand Prix sprint race in Paris on July 18 · Finished second at the July 10 Life Time Fitness Triathlon · Was 14th at the Madrid ITU World Championship Series event to move into ninth in the series rankings through three races · Finished 19th at the ITU World Championship Series race in Seoul May 8 · Closed with a strong run to take second at the ITU Monterrey World Cup April 18 · Took ninth at the ITU World Championship Series opener in Sydney April 11 · Winner of the March 14 Miami International Triathlon.
 
Manuel Huerta, 26, Miami, Fla., WCS Rank: 35
Currently ranks 35th in the ITU World Championship Series series rankings · Finished 13th at the Hamburg ITU World Championship Series event on July 17 in just his second career WCS start · Finished 24th at the Hy-Vee ITU Elite Cup on June 13 · Made his ITU World Championship Series debut in Madrid on June 6 · Took fifth at the ITU Monterrey World Cup April 18 and followed with a second straight World Cup top-10 finish with a seventh-place showing at the Ishigaki ITU World Cup April 25 · Placed fourth at the La Paz ITU Pan American Cup race in January.
 
Chris Foster, 28, Redondo Beach, Calif., WCS Rank: 56
Currently ranks 56th in the ITU World Championship Series series rankings · Won his fourth straight San Diego International Triathlon on June 27 · Was 19th at the Hy-Vee ITU Elite Cup in West Des Moines, Iowa, on June 13 · Finished 14th at the ITU World Championship Series opener in Sydney on April 11 and was 27th in Seoul on May 8 · Posted three top-six finishes in ITU Pan American Cup races - La Paz (second), Vina del Mar (fourth) and Salinas (sixth) · Winner of the Desert Classic Duathlon.
 
Kevin Collington, 26, Orlando, Fla., WCS Rank: 59
Currently ranked 59th in the ITU World Championship Series series rankings · Finished 35th in Sydney and 37th in Hamburg · Was the runner-up at the 2010 Chicago Triathlon on Aug. 29 · Finished ninth at the season-opening Mooloolaba ITU World Cup in March.
 
Ben Collins, 27, Seattle, Wash., WCS Rank: 64
Currently ranked 64th in the ITU World Championship Series series rankings · Finished 38th in Madrid and 41st in Hamburg · Won the San Francisco ITU Pan American Cup on July 11 and followed with a victory at the San Francisco Triathlon at Alcatraz on Aug. 29 · Also finished 10th at the Ishigaki ITU World Cup on April 25 and was 19th at the Monterrey ITU World Cup on April 17.
 
Women
Laura Bennett, 35, Boulder, Colo., WCS Rank: 11
Ranked 11th in the ITU World Championship Series series rankings through six events · On a run of three straight top-10 ITU World Championship Series finishes · Was eighth at the Kitzbuhel ITU World Championship Series stop on Aug. 15 · Placed seventh at the Hamburg ITU World Championship Series event on July 18 and followed with a fifth-place finish in London on July 24 · Finished sixth and was the top American finisher at the Hy-Vee Triathlon on June 13 · Placed 14th at the ITU World Championship Series opener in Sydney on April 11.
 
Sarah Haskins, 29, Colorado Springs, Colo., WCS Rank: 14
Currently ranks 14th in the ITU World Championship Series series rankings · Winner of the 2010 Chicago Triathlon on Aug. 29 · Won her second straight Life Time Fitness Triathlon on July 10 · Was fifth at the Madrid ITU World Championship Series event on June 5 · Finished 10th at the second stop of the ITU World Championship Series in Seoul May 8 · Placed eighth at the ITU World Championship Series opener in Sydney April 11 · Winner of the St. Anthony's Triathlon April 25 and the Miami International Triathlon March 14 · Also took first in the first USAT Elite Development Race in March.
 
Sarah Groff, 29, Hanover, N.H., WCS Rank: 16
Currently ranked 16th in the ITU World Championship Series series rankings and is the No. 3 American · On a run of three straight top-12 WCS finishes · Was 10th in Kitzbuhel on Aug. 15 · Finished 12th in the London WCS event on July 24 and was eighth in Hamburg on July 18 · Placed 17th at the Hy-Vee ITU Elite Cup on June 13 · Took 19th at the ITU World Championship Series opener in Sydney April 11 · Finished fifth at the season-opening Mooloolaba ITU World Cup in March.
 
Jillian Petersen, 27, St. Louis, Mo., WCS Rank: 30
Currently ranks 30th overall and is the No. 4 American in the ITU World Championship Series series rankings · Finished second in the Aug. 29 Chicago Triathlon · Placed 17th at the London WCS event on July 24 · Finished 15th at the ITU World Championship Series stop in Seoul May 8 · Took third at the St. Anthony's Triathlon April 25 · Runner-up at the Miami International Triathlon in March.
 
Jenna Shoemaker, 26, Santa Monica, Calif., WCS Rank: 46
Currently ranks 46th in the ITU World Championship Series series rankings · Finished 23rd in Hamburg and 27th in Madrid · Placed second at the Philadelphia Triathlon on June 26 · Was second at the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon on May 2 · Finished ninth at the ITU Monterrey World Cup April 18.
 
Alicia Kaye, 27, Maynard, Mass., WCS Rank: 54
Currently ranked 54th in the ITU World Championship Series series rankings · Placed 14th and was the top U.S. finisher at the 2010 ITU Elite Sprint World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland · Was 21st at the Hy-Vee ITU Elite Cup in West Des Moines, Iowa · Placed 25th at the Seoul WCS event · Finished seventh at the Monterrey ITU World Cup event and won the Lima ITU Pan American Cup race · Placed sixth at the St. Anthony's Triathlon and was the runner-up at USAT's Elite Development Race in Clermont, Fla.
 
Mary Beth Ellis, 33, Boulder, Colo., WCS Rank: 80
Currently ranks 80th in the ITU World Championship Series series rankings · Finished 29th at the Kitzbuhel WCS event on Aug. 15 · Was third at the Life Time Fitness Triathlon July 10 · Placed fourth at the May 9 Rev3 Triathlon in Knoxville, Tenn., and was fifth at the Rev3 Quassy on June 6 · Was second at the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon on May 2 · Finished 11th at the ITU Monterrey World Cup April 18.

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