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Sixteen U.S. Juniors to Compete at PATCO Triathlon Championships


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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Sixteen of the nation’s top junior triathletes have earned the right to represent the United States at the 2011 PATCO Triathlon Junior Pan American Championships in Edmonton, Canada, on July 10.

On the line in Edmonton will be 15 spots designated for PATCO athletes for the 2011 ITU Junior World Championships in Beijing on Sept. 10-11. Each nation can earn a maximum of three spots per gender based on the results of this event. PATCO — the Panamerican Triathlon Confederation — is comprised of 38 national federations in the Americas.

Additionally, the Edmonton event will serve as the first qualifier for the U.S. squad for the 2011 Junior World Championships. The top U.S. finisher per gender will qualify for Beijing provided they place in the top eight and finish within 5 percent of the winner’s time. A second U.S. athlete per gender also may qualify with a top-three showing and a finish within 5 percent of the winner’s time.

The athletes will complete a sprint-distance event featuring a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run.

Five of the six athletes who represented the U.S. at the 2010 World Championships in Budapest are slated to compete in Edmonton with the goal of returning to the world stage.

On the women’s side, Kelly Whitley (Geneva, Ill.) was fourth at Junior Worlds a year ago. Additionally, 2010 USA Triathlon Junior Elite National Championship winner Tanelle Berard (Clive, Iowa) placed seventh, while Jennifer Howland (Elburn, Ill.) finished 20th.

Lukas Verzbicas (Orland Hills, Ill.) was fourth for the U.S. men in Budapest, while 2010 USA Triathlon Junior Elite National Championship winner Ben Kanute (Geneva, Ill.) took 40th. Verzbicas was the winner of the 2009 PATCO Junior Championships in Oklahoma City, Okla., and Kanute placed third.

The athletes scheduled to represent the U.S. at the 2011 PATCO Triathlon Junior Pan American Championships are:

U.S. Junior Women
Tanelle Berard, 19, Clive, Iowa
Devon Dabney, 16, Atlanta, Ga.
Hannah Rae Finchamp, 16, Altadena, Calif.
Johanna Gartman, 18, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Breanna Hemming, 18, Kiowa, Colo.
Jennifer Howland, 18, Elburn, Ill.
Sonja Kent, 19, West Boylston, Mass.
Kelly Whitley, 19, Geneva, Ill.
U.S. Junior Men
Nolan Dickson, 18, Aurora, Ill.
Luke Farkas, 18, Franklin, Tenn.
Erik Fielder, 19, Belvidere, Ill.
Andrew Gyenis, 17, Oak Hill, Va.
Hunter Honeycutt, 17, Tifton, Ga.
Ben Kanute, 19, Geneva, Ill.
Tony Smoragiewicz, 17, Rapid City, S.D.
Lukas Verzbicas, 18, Orland Hills, Ill.

About USA Triathlon
Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon – one of the fastest growing sports in the world – as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. USA Triathlon sanctions 3,500 races and connects with more than 135,000 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, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including ITU World Championships, Pan American Games and the Summer Olympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the International Triathlon Union and the United States Olympic Committee.