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photo: Rich Cruse/USA Triathlon
Triathlon’s Rising Stars to Compete in USA Triathlon Junior and Youth Nationals
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Up-and-coming triathlon talent from across the United States will take the stage at the USA Triathlon Junior and Youth National Championship set for Aug. 11-12 at the Voice of America Park in West Chester, Ohio.
More than 250 Youth Elite and Junior Elite athletes are on the start lists for Saturday, including many top finishers from the 2011 races. Elite Triathlon Academy athletes Johanna Gartman (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and Luke Farkas (Colorado Springs, Colo.) join Breanna Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.) as the top returners from the Junior Elite events. Top Youth Elite finishers Tamara Gorman (Rapid City, S.D.), Rachel Mann (Homer Glen, Ill.) and Sawyer Willingham (Simpsonville, S.C.) age up to the Junior Elite ranks this year, and Stephanie Jenks (Aurora, Iowa) and Matthew Stanley (Acworth, Ga.) will once again compete in the Youth Elite division.
Athletes who have earned a spot to represent Team USA at the 2012 ITU Junior World Championships in October in Auckland, New Zealand are also slated to compete in West Chester — Gorman and Eli Hemming, who both qualified for their spots as the top Americans at the Pan American Junior Championships on July 8, and Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D.), who finished third at Junior Worlds in 2011.
The first eligible Junior Elite male and female finishers will earn automatic nominations to the Junior Worlds team. To be eligible, an athlete must finish top-three overall and within 5 percent of the winner’s time for the men and 8 percent of the winner’s time for the women. An additional female slot will be filled per discretionary selection criteria.
The national championship weekend kicks off Saturday, Aug. 11 at 8 a.m. with the Junior Elite (ages 16-19) and Youth Elite (ages 13-15) national championships. Racing will resume at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 12 with a draft-legal team relay for athletes ages 13-19, in which four competitors (two male, two female) will each complete a 250-meter swim, a 5-kilometer bike and a 1.2-kilometer run.
The age group Youth National Championship is set to begin at 10:20 a.m. on Sunday, and will feature athletes ages 7-8, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-15. The competitive distances range from a 100m swim, 5k bike and a 1k run for ages 7-10 to a 750m swim, 20k bike and 5k run sprint-distance event for the Junior Elites.
Nearly 700 athletes and 50 relay teams are expected to compete in the weekend’s 13 events. Visit usatriathlon.org for more information on the event.
The youth demographic (ages 7-17) is the fastest growing segment of USA Triathlon's annual membership. At the end of 2011, USA Triathlon featured 42,626 youth members, which comprised nearly 30 percent of the organization's total membership.