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Posted: March 17, 2009  : Add to Mixx!

Triathlon: USA Triathlon Names 2008 Elite Athletes of the Year

10 athletes recognized for 2008 performances

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 17, 2009) -- USA Triathlon is pleased to announce the recipients of its annual Elite Athlete of the Year awards for 2008 as selected by the USAT Athlete Advisory Council and sponsored by Garmin International.

Highlighting the list are Olympic/ITU Triathletes of the Year Matt Reed and Laura Bennett. Andy Potts and Becky Lavelle were named Multisport Non-ITU Athletes of the Year. Rookies of the Year Awards (first pro race was in 2008) went to Laurel Wassner and Daniel Bretscher. Jasmine Oeinck and Ethan Brown were crowned U23 Athletes of the Year, while Kate Ross and Ben Steavenson earned the Junior Athlete of the Year Awards.

Elite ITU Athlete of the Year


2008 Accomplishments
5th place - ITU World Championships, Vancouver, BC, Canada 
32nd place - Olympic Games, Beijing, China 
USA Triathlon National Champion 
U.S. Olympic Team Trials Champion 
USA Triathlon Haul to the Great Wall Champion 
Escape to Bermuda Champion 
St Anthony's Triathlon Champion 
Boulder Peak Triathlon Champion 
Miami International Champion 
5th place - Lifetime Fitness Triathlon 
4th place - Accenture Chicago Triathlon 
2nd place - ITU World Cup- Richards Bay South Africa
10th place - ITU World Cup- Madrid, Spain

"This is a huge honor and I am thrilled to receive this award," said Reed. "Last year was a year of super highs and low lows, and this award helps me swallow my sub-par performance at my first Olympic games and know that my week in, week out performances were appreciated."


2008 Accomplishments
4th place - Olympic Games, Beijing, China 
4th place - ITU World Cup, Des Moines, Iowa
4th place - ITU World Cup, Mooloolaba, Australia
4th place - USA Triathlon Nationals, Portland, Oregon 

"We have several great women representing USA in triathlon," said Bennett. "I feel honored to be among them and have the opportunity to be awarded the recognition for USAT Athlete of the year for 2008."

Elite Non-ITU Athlete of the Year


2008 Accomplishments
7th place - Ironman World Championship (top American)
6th place - Ironman 70.3 World Championship (top American)
1st place - Ironman 70.3 California
1st place - Ironman 70.3 Timberman
1st place - Escape from Alcatraz
2nd place - Lifetime Fitness Triathlon
2nd place - U.S. Olympic Team Trials
2nd place - St. Anthony's Triathlon
2nd place - LA Triathlon
2nd place - Dallas US Open Triathlon
2008 U.S. Olympic Team alternate

"I am honored to be named 2008 Athlete of the Year (Non-ITU). It is always nice to be recognized for my hard work and dedication by my peers and USAT," said Potts. "I had some pretty lofty goals when the season began. Even though I had some disappointments during the year, I think that my ability to bounce back and achieve new goals was what made the year a success. I consider myself very fortunate that I can learn and relearn some of life's lessons through triathlon."


2008 Accomplishments
Toyota Cup Series Champion
U.S. Olympic Team Alternate
3rd place - 70.3 World Championship 
3rd place - Escape to Bermuda 
1st place - Marin County Triathlon
1st place - Malibu Triathlon
1st place - LA Triathlon
1st place - Chicago Triathlon
1st place - Zone Urban Epic
2nd place - NYC Tri
3rd place - Life Time Fitness
8th place - Hy-Vee World Cup
2nd place - Escape from Alcatraz
5th place - St. Anthony's Triathlon
3rd place - Iron Girl Las Vegas 

"I am truly honored to receive this recognition from USAT," said Lavelle. "They have been a big support in my success and I look forward to making 2009 an even better year."

Elite Rookie Athlete of the Year


2008 Accomplishments
1st place - Spirit of Morgantown 
2nd place - Memphis in May (1st American) 
3rd place - Muskoka 70.3 (1st American) 
4th place - Kansas 70.3 (1st American)
4th place - Spirit of Racine (2nd American) 
6th place - Longhorn 70.3 (2nd American)
19th place - 70.3 World Championships (4th American)

"Receiving this award is the highlight of what was a great summer of racing for me," said Bretscher. "This award is the result of hours, days, weeks, months, years of commitment and hard work. I look forward to representing USA Triathlon in future years as a professional triathlete."


2008 Accomplishments
1st place - Mighty Montauk Triathlon (4th overall including men)
3rd place - Philadelphia Triathlon 
3rd place - Westchester Triathlon 
2nd place - SheROX Philly Tri
3rd place - Iron Girl Columbia 
5th place - Iron Girl Las Vegas 
6th place - Columbia Triathlon 
7th place - New York City Tri 
7th place - Los Angeles Tri

"It's a huge honor to be named Rookie of the Year four years after my twin sister won the same award," said Wassner. "I have overcome many obstacles to get here, and it means a lot to me that all of my hard work has been recognized. At one point, I never thought I'd compete in triathlons, let along win this award. It just goes to show you -- never give up on your dreams!"

Elite U23 Athlete of the Year


2008 Accomplishments
USAT Under-23 National Champion
ITU World Championships team member
15th place - ITU Hamburg World Cup (Best American Debut Finish at World Cup)
11th place - ITU Huatulco World Cup 
4th place - Memphis in May Triathlon
3rd place - ITU Geneva Continental Cup
3rd place - 1st U23: ITU Portland Continental Cup: Elite Nationals
2nd place - ITU Kelowna Continental Cup Premium (Canadian Nationals)
1st place - San Diego Tri Club Race, Lowell YMCA Triathlon, Plymouth Mayflower International Triathlon, Duxbury Beach Triathlon

"I'm extremely excited and grateful to receive this accolade for the second year in a row," said Brown. "It took a lot of hard work and tremendous support from friends, family, and sponsors. I hope to continue the success I've had from the U23 ranks into 2009 and beyond."


2008 Accomplishments
1st place - USAT U23 National Championships
2nd place - ITU U23 World Championships
2nd place - Boulder Peak Triathlon
3rd place - Miami International Triathlon
3rd place - Nautica Malibu Triathlon
5th place - 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials
6th place - USAT Elite Nationals
9th place - Dallas US Open
16th place - ITU Toengyoung World Cup

"It's a great honor to receive U23 athlete of the year," said Oeinck. "It has been a great learning and growing experience to race in the U23 category, and I am looking forward to the challenges and opportunities of aging up; although it would be nice to be like Peter Pan and the lost boys and stay young forever and be a perpetual U23 athlete."

Elite Junior Athlete of the Year


2008 Accomplishments
1st place - Ann Arbor Triathlon
2nd place - Hy-Vee Junior Elite Cup 
2nd place - Strawberry Fields Junior Elite Cup
2nd place - USAT Junior Elite National Championship
1st place - Junior Elite Duathlon National Championship 

"I am very honored to have received the male junior elite Athlete of the Year award and would like to thank my family and Angel at Cadence Cycle for all of their support this past season," said Steavenson. "I am looking forward to another exciting summer of training and racing."


2008 Accomplishments
USAT Junior Elite National Champion
1st place - Hy-Vee Junior Elite Cup
2nd place - Stamford Triathlon

"I've had so much support from USAT, the Olympic Training Center, my parents and brother, and my coach, Shelly," said Ross. "I wouldn't have been able to accomplish what I have without them."

About Garmin International
Garmin International is a world leader in GPS navigation with products for the automotive, marine, recreation/fitness and aviation markets. Runners, cyclists and triathletes around the world rely on Garmin fitness products to take their training to the next level. The GPS-enabled Forerunner (R) 305 is ideally suited for multisport training. In addition to tracking speed, distance, pace, heart rate, elevation and cadence, it's available with a quick-release wrist and bike mount. And the training never ends after the workout. Athletes can upload their data to our online analysis program, Garmin Connect (TM), to view in-depth metrics, overlay their activity on a variety of maps and share routes and courses with a worldwide community of fitness enthusiasts.

In addition to sponsoring USAT's Athletes of the Year program, Garmin supports the USAT Trade Team and Coaching Education Program with their renowned GPS-based training and mapping tools.

Find out more at the Garmin website.

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.


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