Race action continues Saturday at Tempe Beach Park
Ben Kanute from the University of Arizona and Erin Jones from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs were victorious in the debut of the Draft-Legal Collegiate Championship on the first day of action at the 2013 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championships at Tempe Beach Park.
The top returning male from last year’s Olympic-distance event, Kanute logged the fastest swim and the fastest run to win the 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run sprint-distance event in 58 minutes, 26 seconds. Luke Farkas of UCCS was second in 58:40 and California’s Yoni Doron-Peters was third with a time of 59:06.
Kunute and Purdue’s Ryan Frederickson came out of the water within two seconds of each other and quickly formed the lead group out of T1. Farkas and Doron-Peters joined the pair by lap three of the four-lap bike course. Exiting T2, Kanute took control, gaining a solid lead after 2.5k and holding it to the finish.
“It went perfectly,” said Kanute, who is also planning to race for the TriCats on Saturday. “We had a really good group that worked together and gave us enough time on everybody else. The run just felt great – I was cruising a little bit, and got to think about tomorrow a little, too.”
Jones was able to showcase her run skills in the women’s race to take the tape in 1:04:00. Cal’s Erica Erickson was second with a time of 1:04:23 and Johanna Gartman from UCCS was third in 1:04:38.
Representing the Elite Triathlon Academy based at UCCS, Jones exited the water second behind teammate Avery Evenson. Jones, Erickson and Gartman formed the chase pack and caught up with Evenson on the final lap of the bike, and the quartet entered T2 together. A former runner at Oregon State, Jones gained enough distance on Erickson to post the top 5k time for the women and earn the win.
“I started out with her (Erickson) and she helped me a lot,” Jones said of the run. “I’m so grateful and humbled to be the first winner of the triathlon here. It’s such an honor, and I’m so proud of my team.”
A total of 72 athletes (44 men, 28 women) crossed the finish line of the draft-legal event, the first of three races as part of the Collegiate Nationals weekend.
The action continues Saturday as more than 1,000 collegiate triathletes take part in the Olympic-distance championship event, which features a 1,500m swim, 40k bike and 10k run. The men’s race will start at 7:30 a.m. PDT, followed by the women at 10:50 a.m. A live video stream of this event will be available on usatriathlon.org, as well as a live blog. Coverage begins at 7 a.m. PDT (10 a.m. EDT).
The second edition of the Mixed-Team Relay is slated to begin at 4 p.m. Each four-person team must consist of two females and two males who will complete a super-sprint triathlon before tagging their teammate. All athletes will complete a 250-meter swim, 5k bike and 1.2k run.