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Lukas Verzbicas won Sunday's PATCO Pan American Junior Championships in Edmonton.
Lukas Verzbicas won Sunday's PATCO Pan American Junior Championships in Edmonton.
photo: ITU/Richard Lam

United States’ Kemper, Verzbicas Shine in Edmonton

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EDMONTON, Canada — Three-time Olympian and USA Triathlon National Team member Hunter Kemper earned bronze in the ITU World Cup event, and Lukas Verzbicas’ victory led a strong showing for the U.S. in the PATCO Pan American Junior Championships to highlight a full day of multisport action Sunday in Edmonton.  

Kemper (Colorado Springs, Colo.) logged a time of 1 hour, 46 minutes, 54 seconds in the Olympic-distance event to finish just seven seconds off the pace of New Zealand’s Bevan Docherty, who took the win in 1:46:47. France’s Aurélien Lescure was second.

Kemper, who notched his third ITU World Cup podium of the year, battled his way through the two-lap wetsuit swim to claim a spot among the leaders on the bike. On the six-lap bike, a lead pack of 45 riders gained a 45-second advantage on the field, and Kemper led the men out of T2 and onto the 10-kilometer run course.

On the run, Docherty and Lescure opened up an advantage early. Kemper dropped to fifth before closing with a strong kick to earn his fourth ITU podium finish of 2011. Visit triathlon.org for a full recap from ITU. 

“Bevan was a great champion,” said Kemper. “It’s a little disappointing for me today. It’s hard to say that after getting third and making the podium, but I am having a good year and for me my big weekend is four weeks from now in London, and I’m going to have to do better than I did today.” Next up for Kemper is the Aug. 6-7 London ITU World Championship Series race, which will serve as the first qualifier for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team.

On the women’s side, Ashleigh Gentle of Australia was victorious in 2:00:14. Jennifer Spieldenner (Findlay, Ohio), was the top American, placing 19th in 2:04:02. Visit triathlon.org for a full recap from ITU. 

The day kicked off with many of the nation’s top juniors in action in the PATCO Pan American Championships. Verzbicas (Orland Hills, Ill.) was victorious in the sprint-distance event in 55:24, with fellow American Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D.) earning silver in 55:39. Ben Kanute (Geneva, Ill.) was fourth in 56:04 to finish just off the podium. The top three U.S. athletes were together for the first half of the run before Verzbicas pulled away over the final 2.5k to claim the victory.

Breanna Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.) finished seventh in the women’s race in 1:03:21 to rank as the top U.S. athlete.

With three athletes in the top 15 of both races, the U.S. secured the maximum number of spots — three male and three female — for the 2011 ITU Junior World Championships on Sept. 10-11 in Beijing. Additionally, Smoragiewicz and Hemming qualified for Worlds individually thanks to their performances in Edmonton. Verzbicas and Kelly Whitley (Geneva, Ill.), who was 22nd in Sunday’s World Cup event, had already qualified for the team by virtue of their top-four finishes at last year’s World Championships.

The final male and female spots for this year’s Worlds will be claimed by the top U.S. finisher who has not already qualified at the Aug. 6 USA Triathlon Junior Elite National Championship in San Diego, Calif. 


2011 Edmonton ITU World Cup
(1,500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run)
Women – Click here for complete results
1. Ashleigh Gentle (AUS), 2:00:14
2. Mateja Simic (SLO), 2:01:06
3. Lisa Perterer (AUT), 2:01:07
19. Jennifer Spieldenner (Findlay, Ohio), 2:04:02
22. Kelly Whitley (Geneva, Ill.), 2:05:01
27. Amanda Felder (Cupertino, Calif.), 2:06:13
35. Lauren Goldstein-Kral (Shaker Heights, Ohio), 2:07:30

Men – Click here for complete results 
1. Bevan Docherty (NZL), 1:46:47
2. Aurélien Lescure (FRA), 1:46:49
3. Hunter Kemper (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 1:46:54
31. Steve Sexton (Berkeley, Calif.), 1:49:14
56. Barrett Brandon (Fort Worth, Texas), 1:52:25
DNF Ben Collins (Seattle, Wash.)
DNF Joe Maloy (Wildwood Crest, N.J.)

2011 PATCO Junior Pan American Championships
(750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run)
Women – Click here for complete results 
1. Ellen Pennock (CAN), 1:01:22
2. Christine Ridenour (CAN), 1:02:28
3. Adriana Barraza (MEX), 1:02:43
7. Breanna Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.), 1:03:21
9. Jennifer Howland (Elburn, Ill.), 1:03:57
11. Jennifer Clay (South Elgin, Ill.), 1:04:36
16. Johanna Gartman (Chattanooga, Tenn.), 1:05:42
23. Sonja Kent (West Boylston, Mass.), 1:07:43
25. Hannah Rae Finchamp (Altadena, Calif.), 1:07:59
36. Mackenzie Williams (Geneva, Ill.), 1:11:54
38. Devon Dabney (Atlanta, Ga.), 1:14:44

Men – Click here for complete results
1. Lukas Verzbicas (Orland Hills, Ill.), 55:24
2. Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D.), 55:39
3. David Nunez (MEX), 55:46
4. Ben Kanute (Geneva, Ill.), 56:04
15. Nolan Dickson (Aurora, Ill.), 57:04
22. Hunter Honeycutt (Tifton, Ga.), 57:33
30. Ryan Peterson (Richmond, Va.), 57:59
42. Reeven Nathan (Highland Park, Ill.), 58:52
43. Luke Farkas (Franklin, Tenn.), 58:55
49. Erik Fielder (Belvidere, Ill.), 59:42
52. Andrew Gyenis (Oak Hill, Va.), 1:00:55

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 140,000 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.

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