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Posted: February 26, 2009  : Add to Mixx!

Triathlon: USA Triathlon Sets Rosters for National Team, Development Program

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (February 26, 2009) -- USA Triathlon has released the rosters making up the Elite National Team and two new programs targeting developmental athletes: Project 2012 and Project 2016.

The "best of the best" are included on these lists of athletes who will compete for the United States in international events in 2009.

The Elite National Team will have a new format in 2009 after USAT Sport Performance eliminated the gold, silver and bronze tiers to focus solely on a group of nine athletes. The 2009 National Team roster includes all six Olympians from last year, both Olympic alternates, and an athlete who finished in the top-four in the ITU women's rankings in 2008.

2009 Elite National Team Roster [Learn more about each athlete]
Laura Bennett (N. Palm Beach, Fla. / Boulder, Colo.)
Sarah Groff (Cooperstown, N.Y. / Colorado Springs. Colo.)
Julie Ertel (Placentia, Calif. / Irvine, Calif.)
Sarah Haskins (St. Louis, Mo. / Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Becky Lavelle (Minnetonka, Minn. / Los Gatos, Calif.)
Hunter Kemper (Longwood, Fla. / Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Matt Reed (Palmerstown, NZ / Boulder, Colo.)
Jarrod Shoemaker (Sudbury, Mass. / Maynard, Mass.)
Andy Potts (Princeton, N.J. / Colorado Springs, Colo.)

The National Team athletes are supported financially and with performance services and staff support that will help them compete at the highest level. "The goal of our National Team is to develop Olympic and world championship medalists," said USAT Sport Performance Director Scott Schnitzspahn. "The funding we receive from the USOC is used to support these athletes, who are representing the United States on the international stage. They are the ones out there achieving our goals. The National Team program brings exposure to the sport and provides heroes to younger athletes.

"I'm excited about the team we've put together for this year. Not only are they exceptional athletes, they are really quality people who are active in their communities and with a variety of charities. They compete clean and represent themselves, USAT, the sport and the country in a positive way. They are also involved in helping the sport through their activities with USAT clubs and at the sanctioned events they attend across the country."

USAT's development program also has a new look with the formation of Project 2012 and Project 2016, two programs that are targeting the next generation of Olympians and world champions. "These teams are based on the athletes' experience in the sport," said Schnitzspahn. "They receive a level of support customized to each athlete and what their individual coach feels they need depending on their development."

The Project 2012 Program includes athletes who should be vying for a spot at the 2012 London Olympic Games, but aren't currently competing at the National Team standard. The roster includes some athletes who were members of the former USAT Silver and Bronze National Team Program. They have World Cup and World Championship experience and have competed extensively in the USAT Elite Series and in last year's Olympic Trials.

Project 2012 Roster
Brian Fleischmann (Jacksonville, Fla. / Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Tim O'Donnell (Shavertown, Pa. / Boulder, Colo.)
Steve Sexton (Pilot Hill, Calif.)
Ethan Brown (Lowell, Mass.)
Matt Chrabot (Virginia Beach, Va.)
Kevin Collington (Orlando, Fla.)
Sara McLarty (Deland, Fla. / Clermont, Fla.)
Jasmine Oeinck (Littleton, Colo. / Boulder, Colo.)
Jillian Petersen (St. Louis, Mo.)
Mary Beth Ellis (Thornton, Colo.)

The Project 2016 Program has its sights set on the Olympic Games in 2016. These athletes have had great results at recent U23 and Junior National and World Championship events and have some experience in elite World Cup and Continental Cup races. Some of these athletes have the potential to challenge for the 2012 Olympic Team, depending on their development.

Project 2016 Roster
Manny Huerta (Miami, Fla.)
Matt Seymour (Littleton, Colo. / Honolulu, Hawaii)
Greg Billington (Spokane, Wash.)
Lauren Goldstein-Kral (Shaker Heights, Ohio)
Justine Whipple (Pembroke, Mass.)
Jennifer Spieldenner (Findlay, Ohio)

Another change to the National Teams Program is the elimination of the Junior National Team. Funding for juniors will be tightly linked to performance on a race-by-race basis. "With this philosophy, we will be able to cast a wider net and support more juniors at international events," said Schnitzspahn.

About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the national governing body for triathlon - the fastest growing sport in the U.S. - as well as duathlon, aquathlon and winter triathlon in the United States. USAT sanctions 2,500 races and connects with more than 115,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USAT provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including World Championships, Pan American Games, and the Olympic Games.

Website: USATriathlon.org.


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