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Fun and Excitement Abound at Youth Nationals


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WEST CHESTER, Ohio — More than 400 youth athletes from across the United States enjoyed swimming, biking and running in the sunshine at Voice of America Park on Sunday to close out the USA Triathlon Junior and Youth National Championship weekend.

The 13-15-year-olds began the youth age group races at 10:20 a.m. with a 200-meter swim, 10-kilometer bike and 2-kilometer run, followed by the 11-12-year-olds. The athletes in the 7-10 age groups completed a 100m swim, 5k bike, 1k run. Club awards were also presented following the races.

“It was hard, but it was a good course,” said Kieran Devere (13-15, Madera, Calif.), who has been doing triathlons since she was five and won her age group. “The best part was just being out there and racing.”

Many of the athletes thought the best part of the day was just having fun doing sports they enjoyed, like Kira Weil (11-12, Hamilton, Ohio). “I love sports and I love running,” she said, adding that she liked racing against so many other athletes because it provided a better challenge.

“There are so many good people, it’s hard to win,” said 7-year-old Vole Spring (Boulder, Colo.), who finished second in his age group. “The bike was very short but I just pushed as hard as I could. I did my best.”

The championship aspect was a big draw for athletes near and far. “The atmosphere and the fact that it’s a national championship (made it exciting),” said Jack Franko (13-15, Richmond, Va.).

“I felt really good. I felt really strong the whole time, so I am happy,” Alexandra Morgan (11-12, Glenview, Ill.)  “You’re here with all the national champions and it’s nice to know that you’re here and you’re doing it. Afterward you feel so proud of yourself.”

In all, nearly 700 triathletes comprised a record field for the event weekend, held in West Chester for the first time.

“West Chester is a great location for this event,” said Jeff Dyrek, USA Triathlon’s National Events Director. “We’ve had great support from the community and all of the groups we’ve been working with. The athletes, their parents, the spectators and coaches have helped us make this event a success.”

At the end of the day, athletes had a lot to celebrate after crossing the finish line. “It felt tough but I feel really nice now and I feel proud that I finished well,” said Jennifer Mettler (9, Chanhassen, Minn.). She summed up the event perfectly, saying, “You get a medal and you get yourself nice fitness and most of all, it’s really fun.”

2012 Youth Age Group National Champions
Ages 7-10 100m swim, 5k bike, 1k run
Ages 13-15 200m swim, 10k bike, 2k run
Complete Results
Female 7: Katherine McClelland (Redington Beach, Fla.), 24:02
Male 7: Braxton Legg (Tampa, Fla.), 19:27
Female 8: Monica Lopez-Aguir (The Woodlands, Texas), 20:59
Male 8: Lawson McLeod (San Antonio, Fla.), 19:22
Female 9: Abby Ross (College Station, Texas), 19:03
Male 9: Nicolas Raffinengo (Boynton Beach, Fla.), 18:19
Female 10: Emma Cavenish (Jupiter, Fla.), 17:21
Male 10: Andrew Shellenberger (Indianapolis, Ind.), 17:27
Female 11-12: Kira Stanley (Acworth, Ga.), 31:52
Male 11-12: Zach Wilson (Carmel, Ind.), 31:51
Female 13-15: Kieran Devere (Madera, Calif.), 32:28
Male 13-15: Matthew Marquardt (Cincinnati, Ohio), 29:03

Club Championship
(based on points for finishers 1-25 in each age group)

1. Tampa Bay Tri-Sports, 9702 points
2. Multisport Madness Kids, 6767 points
3. Trinity Multisport, 4481 points