United States Earns Mixed Relay Bronze Medal at the 2021 Cali Junior Pan American Games

by USA Triathlon

Team USA earns bronze medal at junior pan am games in Colombia

CALI, Colombia – In a thrilling race to the finish, the United States earned the bronze medal in the Triathlon Mixed Relay at the inaugural 2021 Junior Pan American Games held in Cali, Colombia, on Sunday, Nov. 28. 
Ecuador won gold, while Mexico earned the silver medal in an exciting sprint finish on the blue carpet.  

The U.S. team made up of Drew Shellenberger (Indianapolis, Ind.), Liberty Ricca (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Madisen Lavin (Vermillion, S.D.) and Nicholas Holmes (Glendale, Wis.), finished in a time of 1 hour, 24 minutes and 18 seconds. Eight countries competed, each fielding a team of two men and two women, with each athlete completing a super-sprint triathlon consisting of a 300-meter swim, draft-legal 6.2-kilometer bike, and 1.5-kilometer run before tagging off to the next teammate. 

This is the first year that the Pan American Games are hosting international competition at the Junior level — athletes aged 17 to 22 from countries of North America, South America, Central America and the Caribbean. 

Originally scheduled for June and then postponed until September, the Games were pushed back again to November to allow for Colombia and competing athletes to have more time to get COVID-19 vaccinations. 

The Mixed Relay medal performance for the U.S. came after individual competitions for both the men and women were held on Friday, Nov. 26. Athletes took on a sprint-distance course featuring a one-lap 750-meter swim, four-lap 20-kilometer bike and two-lap five-kilometer run.  

In the women’s race, Lavin placed fifth overall with a time of 1:06:52. A top swimmer, Lavin was second out of the water. Lavin is a member of the University of South Dakota’s Division I women’s collegiate team and on Nov. 13 placed fifth overall at the Women's Collegiate Triathlon National Championships in Tempe, Arizona, and was the top finisher for her school’s program.  

Following just seconds behind Lavin and finishing in sixth place was Ricca, with a time of 1:06:58. Ricca put forth a solid, consistent performance, never faltering from the top eight in the competition throughout the race. Ricca also competes at the U.S. collegiate level for Arizona State University, who won its fifth straight DI national championship at the Women's Collegiate Triathlon National Championships.  

The individual women’s podium went to Mexico and Ecuador. Mexicans Anahi Alvarez Corral (1:03:59) and Mercedes Romero Olrozco (1:04:55) claimed the gold and silver, and Ecuadorian Paula Vega (1:05:56) earn the bronze.  

In the men’s race, the U.S. finished sixth and ninth respectively.  

Holmes had the top Team USA result, crossing the line sixth with a time of 58:10. Holmes competed in the Junior World Championships earlier in the month in Quarteira, Portugal and earned the highest finish for the U.S. men coming in 19th place. He also was the winner in the junior competition at the Americas Continental Championship event in St. George, Utah in October.  

Shellenberger then rounded out the U.S. with a ninth-place finish with a time of 58:43. He also entered the weekend coming off a busy month of international competition. An unfortunate crash at the Junior World Championship in Quarteira left him with a 28th place finish, but he redeemed himself the next weekend when he won the junior event and took second in the elite field at the Americas Triathlon Cup in Santiago, Chile. 

The men’s podium was made up of Brazil’s Miguel Hidalgo (56:40) claiming the gold, Mexico’s Eduardo Nunez Gomez (57:01) claiming silver and Ecuador’s Cesar Xavier Criollo Matute (57:08) completing the podium with the bronze.  

For complete results of the 2021 Cali Junior Pan American Games visit here

2021 Cali Junior Pan American Games  
750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run  

Junior Women — Complete results 
1. Anahi Alvarez Corral (MEX) 1:03:59 
2. Mercedes Romero Orozco (MEX) 1:04:55 
3. Paula Vega (ECU) 1:05:56
U.S. Finishers  
5. Madisen Lavin (Vermillion, S.D.) 1:03:23 
6. Liberty Ricca (Colorado Springs, Colo.) 1:06:58 

Junior Men — Complete results 
1. Miguel Hidalgo (BRA) 56:40 
2. Eduardo Nunez Gomez (MEX) 57:01 
3. Cesar Xavier Criollo Matute (ECU) 57:08 

U.S. Finishers  
6. Nicholas Holmes (Glendale, Wis.) 57:13 
9. Drew Shellenberger (Indianapolis, Ind.) 57:48 
Team Mixed Relay – Complete results 
1. Ecuador (1:23:48) 
2. Mexico (1:23:48) 
3. United States (1:24:18)

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