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National Champions Crowned Over Two Days Of Racing In Milwaukee At 2022 Toyota USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships

by USA Triathlon

MILWAUKEE, Wis. — The nation’s fastest amateur triathletes swam in Lake Michigan and biked and ran the streets of downtown Milwaukee Saturday and Sunday at the 2022 Toyota USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships, which welcomed more than 6,000 registrants for the second straight year. 

Twenty-five-year-old Matthew Guenter (Boulder, Colo.) won two overall national titles during the weekend, claiming Saturday’s Olympic-Distance national title and Sunday’s Sprint national title. Thirty-three-year-old Dani Fischer (Indianapolis, Ind.), won the women’s Olympic Distance national championship, while 21-year-old Shannon Feran (Grand Junction, Colo.) won Sunday’s Sprint national championship. 

Age Group National Championships is USA Triathlon’s longest-running National Championship event, first held in 1983. Milwaukee has played host to Age Group National Championships on five occasions, including three consecutive years from 2013-15, averaging more than 5,000 registrants per year. USA Triathlon Nationals returned to Milwaukee in 2021 and the city has now hosted back-to-back years with more than 6,000 registrants, with athletes coming to the city from all 50 states and Washington, D.C. 

New for this year’s event included the return of the Clydesdale & Athena National Championships as a part of Age Group National Championships and a category for athletes who identify as non-binary. 

In addition to racing for national titles in their respective age groups, athletes also raced for the opportunity to represent age group Team USA at the 2023 World Triathlon Age Group Championships in Pontevedra, Spain (Olympic-Distance) and Hamburg, Germany (Sprint). For more information about Team USA, comprised of the nation’s top amateur triathletes who represent Team USA in World Championship competition, visit

Saturday’s Olympic-distance course featured a 1,500-meter swim in Lake Michigan, followed by a 40-kilometer bike traversing the Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge and the Lake Freeway. Athletes then completed a 10-kilometer run through Veterans Park and Lincoln Memorial Drive, ending with a sprint down USA Triathlon’s red-carpet finish chute adjacent to the Milwaukee Art Museum and Discovery World.

In the men’s race, Guenter took top honors with a time of 1 hour, 51 minutes, 41 seconds. The former swimmer at Penn State University recorded the fourth fastest swim, the fastest bike — averaging 27 miles per hour — and ran a 35:17 10k to secure the win. Guenter’s goal was to win the national title after finishing sixth in last year’s Age Group National Championships. 

“It’s so much work — I’ve trained 800 hours over the last year to get to this point. Winning here has been a goal of mine for a long time,” said Guenter, who encourages qualified athletes to compete at Age Group National Championships. “Age Group Nationals — it’s the best race that attracts really good Olympic- and sprint-distance age groupers every year. Age Group Nationals is the place to come race the best and I’ve never shied away from that challenge.” 

Todd Buckingham (Wyoming, Mich.), finished second overall with a time of 1:55:27, while winning the 30-34 age group national title. David Reynolds (Andover, N.H.), placed third overall in 1:55:35, winning his 20-24 age group national title. 

Fischer (Indianapolis, Ind.), who is a former collegiate runner at the University of Wisconsin, won the women’s overall national title in a time of 2:10:31. She, too, was aiming for the overall win. She finished second overall in both the Olympic-Distance and Sprint National Championships in 2019 — earning her USA Triathlon Overall Age Group Athlete of the Year honors — and after taking a couple years off from racing, she wanted to return to Age Group National Championships with a title. 

“My mantra today was ‘Be relentless’ and it all worked out. I'm pretty proud of myself for staying in it today and being relentless and gritting it out. I'm extremely grateful to be here and to be healthy,” Fischer said. 

Marissa Lovell (Eugene, Ore.), placed second overall and took the 25-29 age group national title with a time of 2:11:16. Brooke Kelley (Naples, Fla.), placed third overall in a time of 2:11:48 and took the 20-24 age group title. 

Clydesdale & Athena athletes also competed for Olympic-Distance and Sprint national titles on the same course in Milwaukee. Clydesdale & Athena National Championships had been held as a standalone event on USA Triathlon’s National Championship calendar since 2014, but this year returned to be a part of Age Group National Championships. 

“It's a good thing. It is a big step for USAT to say that Athena and Clydesdales count and that we get to go to the big show. When you go to the national show it says that everyone there is serious because you have to qualify to be there,” said Clydesdale athlete Kevin Gaston, who is a USA Triathlon Foundation Ambassador. “I think if you're going to have multiple groups that you award in multiple divisions that you give them the same shot to be on the same stage.” 

The Clydesdale and Athena competitive divisions are based on weight minimums outlined in the USA Triathlon Competitive Rules. Men competing in the Clydesdale division must be a minimum of 220 pounds, and women in the Athena division must be a minimum of 165 pounds.

Josh De Jong (Indianapolis, Ind.) won the Clydesdale 39 and younger national title in 2:18:53; Chris Worden (Indianapolis, Ind.), won the Clydesdale age 40-54 national title in 2:34:28; Mindy Powell (Slater, Iowa), won the Athena age 40-54 national title in 2:54:15; Angela Lee (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Stacey Zapolski (Davenport, Iowa) were named co-winners for the Athena age 55 and older national title and William Jankowski (Avon, Ind.) won the Clydesdale age 60 and older national title in 3:10:05. 

Sprint National Championships

On Sunday, Guenter added another overall national title, winning the Sprint National Championships title in a time of 29:29. Due to inclement weather, the course for Sunday’s Sprint National Championships was shortened to a Super-Sprint distance of a 385m swim, 10.7k bike and 2.5k run. 

Buckingham repeated as runner-up in a time of 30:30, winning his 30-34 age group national title, while Daniel Moore (Madison, Wis.) placed third overall in a time of 30:38. 

Feran won the Sprint National Championships title in a time of 34:06. Feran, 21, competes for the NCAA Division II women’s collegiate triathlon team at Colorado Mesa University. Read more about women’s collegiate triathlon and the path to becoming an NCAA Championship Sport here.

A longtime swimmer, Feran joined the triathlon team at Colorado Mesa and fell in love with the sport. 

“It’s such a fun sport. It gets you outside, you get to ride in beautiful places. There are so many distances and I’ve really found a love for cycling,” said Feran, whose goal this season was to break the tape and earn the overall win in a triathlon. “I’m super excited. I wasn’t expecting this. I saw the opportunity and I was feeling good, so I just went for it. My goal this season was to get a banner of some sort in some race.” 

Freya McKinley (The Woodlands, Texas) finished second overall in 34:12, winning the 15-19 age group national title. Michelle Stratton (Naperville, Ill.) took third overall in 34:24, winning the 30-34 age group national title. 

Clydesdale & Athena National Championships winners included Rhoda Miel (Ann Arbor, Mich.) in Athena age 55 and older in 54:09; Mike Savage (Geneva, Ill.), Clydesdale 60 and older in 44:07; Michelle Richards (Madison, Wis.) in Athena 40-54 in 44:12; Eric Michel (Westmont, Ill.) in Clydesdale 40-54 in 37:51; Mallin Blaxall (Cincinnati, Ohio) in Athena 39 and younger in 43:46 and De Jong (Indianapolis, Ind.) as a double national champion, in Clydesdale 39 and younger in 36:27. 

Competitors in Sunday’s Sprint National Championships included 92-year-old Sister Madonna Buder (Spokane, Wash.), known in the triathlon community as the “Iron Nun” and 15-year-old Caleb Prewitt (Jacksonville, Fla.), who became the first person with Down syndrome to compete at Age Group National Championships. 

Buder has completed roughly 400 triathlons, including 45 IRONMAN races, all while she was over 50 years old. 

Prewitt is an ambassador for the USA Triathlon Foundation and he also competed at the Zone3 Youth & Junior Nationals in West Chester, Ohio, earlier this summer. His idol is Chris Nikic, who in 2020 captivated and inspired the world when he became the first person with Down syndrome to complete an IRONMAN triathlon. 

“It's so great that we can give them the same opportunity we give all other athletes. Anything is possible and there is more and more to come,” said USA Triathlon Certified Coach Hector Torres, who coaches Prewitt and Nikic.  

Sunday’s race also featured a PC Open division for adaptive athletes, featuring several participants from the Wisconsin chapter of myTEAM TRIUMPH

2022 Toyota USA Triathlon Age Group Olympic-Distance National Championships
1,500m swim, 40k bike, 10k runComplete Results

Overall Female: Dani Fischer (Indianapolis, Ind.), 2:10:31
Overall Male: Matthew Guenter (Boulder, Colo.), 1:51:41
Masters Female: Kirsten Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.), 2:13:01
Masters Male: Michael Phinney (Yardley, Pa.), 2:00:25
Grand Masters Female: Juliana Nievergelt (Mount Pleasant, S.C.), 2:24:32
Grand Masters Male: Sean Richardson (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.), 2:11:13
Non-Binary: Sebastian DeJong (Indianapolis, Ind.), 2:24:40
Athena 55 and over (co-winners): Angela Lee (Los Angeles, Calif.) 3:35:21 and Stacey Zapolski (Davenport, Iowa) 3:36:23
Clydesdale 60 and over: William Jankowski (Avon, Ind.), 3:10:05
Athena 40-54: Mindy Powell (Slater, Iowa), 2:54:15
Clydesdale 40-54: Chris Worden (Indianapolis, Ind.), 2:34:28
Clydesdale 39 and under: Josh De Jong (Indianapolis, Ind.), 2:18:53
F15-19: Ellison Wolfe (Columbia, Pa.), 2:13:54
M15-19: Rayan Jamshidian (Irvine, Calif.), 1:57:48
F20-24: Brooke Kelley (Naples, Fla.), 2:11:48
M20-24: David Reynolds (Andover, N.H.), 1:55:35
F25-29: Marissa Lovell (Eugene, Ore.), 2:11:16
M25-29: Matthew Guenter (Boulder, Colo.), 1:51:41
F30-34: Dani Fischer (Indianapolis, Ind.), 2:10:31
M30-34: Todd Buckingham (Wyoming, Mich.), 1:55:27
F35-39: Kristine Banks-Smith (Denver, Colo.), 2:14:43
M35-39: Brett Collins (La Grange, Ill.), 2:00:19
F40-44: Kirsten Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.), 2:13:01
M40-44: Michael Phinney (Yardley, Pa.), 2:06:26
F45-49: Jessica Holmes (Natick, Mass.), 2:18:18
M45-49: Brooks Grossinger (Mayer, Minn.), 2:08:54
F50-54: Becky Paige (Maynard, Mass.), 2:18:20
M50-54: Steve Bosic (Waltham, Mass.), 2:09:06
F55-59: Steph Popelar (Elizabeth, Colo.), 2:24:49
M55-59: Robert Skaggs (Dunedin, Fla.), 2:07:24
F60-64: Juliana Nievergelt (Mount Pleasant, S.C.), 2:24:32
M60-64: Sean Richardson (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.), 2:11:13
F65-69: Donna Smyers (Adamant, Vt.), 2:32:24
M65-69: Jim Huguenard (Louisville, Ky.), 2:26:40
F70-74: Missy LeStrange (Visalia, Calif.), 2:55:59
M70-74: Jim Fuller (Greeley, Colo.), 2:36:15
F75-79: Kathryn Wiberg (West Boylston, Mass.), 3:15:28
M75-79: Charles Perez (Englewood, Colo.), 2:39:36
F80-84: Peggy McDowell-Cramer (Santa Monica, Calif.), 4:11:22
M80-84: Richard Schmidt (Fort Myers, Fla.), 3:40:30

2022 Toyota USA Triathlon Age Group Sprint National Championships
*385m swim, 10.7k bike, 2.5k run — *Course shortened due to rain | Complete Results

Overall Female: Shannon Feran (Grand Junction, Colo.), 34:06
Overall Male: Matthew Guenter (Boulder, Colo.), 29:29
Masters Female: Kirsten Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.), 35:49
Masters Male: John Reback (Jupiter Fla.), 33:04
Female Grandmasters: Steph Popelar (Elizabeth, Colo.), 37:01
Male Grandmasters: Bobby Gonzales (El Paso, Texas) 36:54
Non-Binary: Sebastian DeJong (Indianapolis, Ind.), 38:40
Athena 55 and over: Rhoda Miel (Ann Arbor, Mich.), 54:09
Clydesdale 60 and over: Mike Savage (Geneva, Ill.), 44:07
Athena 40-54: Michelle Richards (Madison, Wis.), 44:12
Clydesdale 40-54: Eric Michel (Westmont, Ill.), 37:51
Athena 39 and under: Mallin Blaxall (Cincinnati, Ohio), 43:46
Clydesdale 39 and under: Josh De Jong (Indianapolis, Ind.), 36:27
F15-19: Freya McKinley (The Woodlands, Texas), 34:12
M15-19: Brave Mays (Aubrey, Texas), 31:29
F20-24: Shannon Feran (Grand Junction, Colo.), 34:06
M20-24: David Reynolds (Andover, N.H.), 30:58
F25-29: Marissa Lovell (Eugene, Ore.), 34:53
M25-29: Matthew Guenter (Boulder, Colo.), 29:29
F30-34: Michelle Stratton (Naperville, Ill.), 34:24
M30-34: Todd Buckingham (Wyoming, Mich.), 30:30
F35-39: Jennifer Santoyo (Burien, Wash.), 36:54
M35-39: Brian Reynolds (Richland, Mich.), 31:31
F40-44: Kirsten Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.), 35:49
M40-44: Todd Ricketts (Newark, Ohio), 33:44
F45-49: Ginger Reiner (Lincoln, Ma.), 35:52
M45-49: Christian Waterstraat (Naperville, Ill.), 
F50-54: Michellie Jones (Carlsbad, Calif.), 36:59
M50-54: John Reback (Jupiter Fla.), 33:04
F55-59: Steph Popelar (Elizabeth, Colo.), 37:01
M55-59: Robert Skaggs (Dunedin, Fla.), 33:17
F60-64: Karen Cummins (Newton, N.J.), 39:32
M60-64: Bobby Gonzales (El Paso, Texas) 36:54
F65-69: Sharon Johnson (Andover, Md.), 40:45
M65-69: David Morrow (Tarpon Springs, Fla.), 37:28
F70-74: Tove Shere (Cleveland Heights, Ohio), 45:54
M70-74: Rick Kozlowski (San Diego, Calif.), 38:53
F75-79: Bobbe Greenberg (Highland Park, Fla.), 55:29
M75-79: Terry Habecker (Ithaca, N.Y.), 46:21
F80-84: June Black (Austin, Texas), 1:08:20
M80-84: Rob Norris (Bailey, Mich.), 56:04
F85-89: Sheila Isaacs (Shoreham, N.Y.), 1:31:50
M85-89: Kenneth Fleischhacker (Littleton, Colo.), 56:44
F90-94: Madonna Buder (Spokane, Wash.), 1:55:08

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