Nearly 800 youth and junior triathletes expected to compete in West Chester, Ohio
The future of triathlon will be on display when young triathletes from across the United States compete at the USA Triathlon Youth and Junior National Championships, set for Aug. 3-4 at Voice of America Park in West Chester, Ohio.
More than 250 Junior Elite and Youth Elite athletes are slated to compete Saturday, including a number of podium finishers from the 2012 event. In the Junior Elite races, 2012 silver medalists Tamara Gorman (Rapid City, S.D.) and Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D) are both top returners. The pair recently won titles at the PATCO Junior Championships in Brazil, and Gorman also earned a historic bronze medal at the 2012 ITU Junior World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand – a first for a U.S. Junior on the women’s side.
2012 Youth Elite podium finishers Stephanie Jenks (Aurora, Iowa), Victoria Clinton (Elburn, Ill.) and Patrick Bieszke (Orland Park, Ill.) age up to the Junior Elite ranks this year, while Jennifer Jenks (Aurora, Iowa,), Darr Smith (Atlanta, Ga.) and Austin Hindman (Wildwood, Mo.) will once again compete in the Youth Elite division.
Members of the 2013 ITU Junior World Championships team, set to take place Sept. 12, 2013 in London, England, will be in the mix for medals on Saturday. Gorman, S. Jenks, Smoragiewicz and Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.) have already earned their spots on Team USA for meeting specific qualification standards at performances at last year’s world championships and the 2013 PATCO Junior Championships.
The first eligible Junior Elite male and female finishers will earn automatic nominations to the Junior Worlds team. To be eligible, an athlete must finish top-three overall and within 5 percent of the winner’s time.
The national championship weekend kicks off Saturday, Aug. 3 at 8 a.m. with the Junior Elite (ages 16-19) and Youth Elite (ages 13-15) National Championships. Racing will resume at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 4 with a draft-legal team relay for athletes ages 13-19, in which four competitors (two male, two female) will each complete a 250-meter swim, a 5-kilometer bike and a 1.2-kilometer run.
The age-group Youth National Championship is set to begin at 10:20 a.m. on Sunday, and will feature athletes ages 7-15, with national titles awarded to each age division. The competitive distances range from a 100m swim, 5k bike and a 1k run for ages 7-10 to a 750m swim, 20k bike and 5k run sprint-distance event for the Junior Elites.
Nearly 800 athletes and 50 relay teams are expected to compete in the weekend’s events, which are centered at Voice of America Park. Event admission is free to all spectators. Visit usatriathlon.org/youthnationals for more information on the event.
The youth demographic (ages 7-17) is the fastest growing segment of USA Triathlon’s annual membership. At yearend 2012, USA Triathlon featured 62,345 youth annual members, which comprised more than 35 percent of the organization’s annual membership.