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Eli Hemming Wins Clermont Draft-Legal Challenge Elite Cup

by USA Triathlon

CLERMONT, Fla. — U.S. National Team athlete and Tokyo Olympic hopeful Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.) broke the tape Saturday at the Clermont Draft-Legal Challenge, an elite international race hosted by Streamline Events that served as the 2021 season opener for most athletes. Fellow U.S. National Team member and Olympic hopeful Kevin McDowell (Geneva, Ill.) took second for the elite men, and Gina Sereno (Madison, Wis.) found the podium in the women’s elite race with a runner-up finish.Saturday’s events at the Clermont Draft-Legal Challenge also served as the return to racing for youth elite, U25 elite development and women’s NCAA triathletes. For complete results from all races in Clermont, visit The action continued Sunday with additional youth elite and U25 elite development races, along with an age group draft-legal competition.Stringent COVID-19 safety measures were in place in Clermont according to USA Triathlon’s Safe Return to Multisport guidelines, including face coverings at all times except when actively racing; contact reduction for athletes, staff and volunteers; and increased cleaning and disinfecting practices onsite.The elite, U25 and women’s collegiate races in Clermont featured a 750-meter swim, draft-legal 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run. In the men’s elite race, Hemming exited the water in 10th place and was able to join the lead pack on the bike. After a race-leading 5k run of 14 minutes, 41 seconds, he broke the tape in 52:17, with a narrow gap on McDowell and Canada’s Matt Sharpe.McDowell, who had  the fastest bike split of the field and the second-fastest run behind Hemming, edged Sharpe in a photo finish to take silver in 52:20.
Hemming, along with much of Saturday’s elite field, will head to Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida, next weekend for another set of draft-legal elite races as part of the Sarasota-Bradenton Triathlon.
“It’s good to be back in Clermont and actually racing again,” Hemming said. “It’s nice that they were able to host these races and actually get us out here with COVID-friendly racing. It was just good to bust some rust and be out there with the guys. I’m really happy with how the race went overall, I can’t complain about anything. Next up is Sarasota next weekend, and hopefully I can do the double.”In the women’s elite race, Iceland’s Edda Hannesdottir was second out of the water, held her position on the bike and then broke away from the field on the run to take the win in 58:20. Sereno was in 13th place at the end of the 20k bike, but used her signature run speed to make her way through the field — clocking a 16:17 5k en route to a second-place finish in 58:48. Rounding out the podium was France’s Sandra Dodet in 59:12. For Sereno, the 2018 USA Triathlon Age Group Sprint overall national champion, the silver marked her first podium as an elite athlete and a significant improvement over her 22nd-place finish in Clermont last March.
Next weekend’s Sarasota-Bradenton Triathlon will feature draft-legal racing for elite athletes, elite paratriathletes, youth elite, junior elite and age group athletes.   
The World Triathlon international season is set to begin in Japan with the World Triathlon Cup Osaka from May 8-9, followed by the World Triathlon Championship Series opener in Yokohama on May 17. Throughout the first half of the season, U.S. elite athletes will be chasing qualification for the postponed Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, due to take place July 24-Aug. 9. Fans can take part in the action by following USA Triathlon’s Tokyo United campaign, and by using #TokyoUnited and tagging @usatriathlon on social media.Women’s Collegiate Race
Saturday’s NCAA race served as the kickoff for the varsity women’s collegiate spring season, a replacement for the canceled 2020 fall season. Queens University of Charlotte, the five-time defending Division II national champions, showed top form with Queens athletes Sam McInnes (1:03:56) and Jana Millat (1:08:56) taking the top two spots overall. In third overall was another DII athlete, Zoe Van Dijk of Davis & Elkins College (1:07:15).The University of San Francisco’s Chloe Ramirez was the top DI athlete with a time of 1:07:47, just 10 seconds ahead of DI runner-up Payton Ryz of the University of South Dakota. North Central College, the four-time defending DIII national champions, led the DIII competition with Nicole Huff (1:08:34) and Annika Cotner (1:08:56) taking the top two spots.
To learn more about women’s triathlon as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women, visit Draft-Legal Challenge750m swim, 20k bike, 5k runElite Men — Complete Results1. Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.), 52:172. Kevin McDowell (Geneva, Ill.), 52:203. Matthew Sharpe (CAN), 52:20Elite Women — Complete Results1. Edda Hannesdottir (ICE), 58:202. Gina Sereno (Madison, Wis.), 58:483. Sandra Dodet (FRA), 59:12
Women’s Collegiate Overall — Complete Results

1. Sam McInnes (Queens University of Charlotte), 1:03:56

2. Jana Millat (Queens University of Charlotte), 1:06:36
3. Zoe Van Dijk (Davis & Elkins College), 1:07:15
Women’s Collegiate Division I
1. Chloe Ramirez (University of San Francisco), 1:07:47
2. Payton Ryz (University of South Dakota), 1:07:54
Women’s Collegiate Division II
1. Sam McInnes (Queens University of Charlotte), 1:03:562. Jana Millat (Queens University of Charlotte), 1:06:36
Women’s Collegiate Division III
1. Nicole Huff (North Central College), 1:08:34
2. Annika Cotner (North Central College), 1:08:56
U25 Elite Development Men, Day 1 — Complete Results
1. Lane Hollis (Dalton, Ga.), 56:16
2. Mark Fairley (Dubuque, Iowa), 56:20
3. Cade Martin (Albuquerque, N.M.), 56:45U25 Elite Development Women, Day 1 — Complete Results1. Alexandra Poole (Farmington, Conn.), 1:02:47
2. Faith Dasso (New Braunfels, Texas), 1:03:21
3. Micah Poellet (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), 1:03:26

U25 Elite Development Men, Day 2. — Complete Results
1. Trevor Foley (Brooksville, Fla.), 53:53
2. Mark Fairley (Dubuque, Iowa), 54:43
3. John Reed (Salt Lake City, Utah), 54:43

U25 Elite Development Women, Day 2 — Complete Results
1. Madisen Lavin (Vermillion, S.D.), 1:03:01
2. Abigail Church (South Riding, Va.), 1:03:53
3. Hannah Sakaluk (Tucson, Ariz.), 1:04:09

Age Group Top Three Overall Men — Complete Results
1. Josh Eaton (Winter Garden, Fla.), 55:49
2. Ken Axford (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 57:43
3. John Anthony (East Lyme, Conn.), 58:00

Age Group Top Three Overall Women — Complete Results
1. Brooke Kessler (Harpers Ferry, W.V.), 1:02:55
2. Emily Hayes (Scottsdale, Ariz.), 1:03:08
3. Michelle Christine (Leesburg, Va.), 1:03:21 

Youth Elite F1 Race
375m swim, 10k bike, 2.5k run

Youth Elite Female — Complete Results
1. Jenna Topott (Allen, Texas), 33:07
2. Searcy Mooney (Nolensville, Tenn.), 33:35
3. Lucy Eggleston (Randleman, N.C.), 33:44

Youth Elite Male — Complete Results
1. Eli McWard (Prosper, Texas), 29:13
2. Jake Adler (Jamestown, N.C.), 30:38
3. Ben Brown (Ponte Vedra Beach, Calif.), 30:43

About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors — as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation — USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including World Triathlon Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of World Triathlon and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).

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