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Posted: May 17, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

Triathlon: Nine Medals for U.S. Triathletes at Pan American Championships

Athletes sweep all six elite podium spots

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (May 16, 2009) -- The United States swept the men's and women's elite races, grabbed U23 women's gold, and earned a gold and bronze in the junior men's race at the ITU Pan American Triathlon Confederation Championships in Oklahoma City, Okla., on Saturday.

American Matt Reed held off a late challenge by countryman Hunter Kemper to win the elite men's race.

Reed was among the leaders throughout the course, coming out of the water among the top three and joining a powerful lead pack of five athletes that worked together well throughout the four-loop 40k bike. Joining Reed in that group was Kemper and Americans Tim O'Donnell, defending PATCO champion Matt Chrabot and Ben Collins and Canadian Andrew McCartney.

Reed quickly asserted himself on the run to pull ahead of his challengers, with O'Donnell, Kemper and Chrabot battling for the final spots on the podium. Chrabot fell off the pace after two laps of the 10k course and Kemper made his move on O'Donnell heading into the final loop to close on Reed, only to come up just meters short at the finish.

Reed earned the gold with Kemper and O'Donnell rounding out the podium in second and third, respectively.

ITU PATCO Championship
May 16, 2009
Oklahoma City, Okla.
1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run

Elite Men's Results 
1.    Matt Reed (USA)
2.    Hunter Kemper (USA)
3.    Tim O'Donnell (USA)
4.    Matt Chrabot (USA)
5.    Ben Collins (USA)

Full Elite Men's results.

Mary Beth Ellis led a 1-2-3 finish for the U.S. women, winning gold in 2:05:35. Jenna Shoemaker earned silver and Jennifer Spieldenner grabbed bronze.

Early on it was a two-person race, as swimming sensation Sara McLarty found a compatriot in fellow American Hayley Peirsol (sister of U.S. Olympic swimming goal medalist Aaron Peirsol), who was competing in her first ITU-style event after turning pro earlier in the year. Peirsol actually exited the water first -- McLarty on her heels -- with the rest of the competitors close to 40 seconds back.

McLarty and Peirsol took the first two bike loops together before being bridged by a chase group that included the eventual podium finishers. Peirsol took a spill on the next lap and was forced to leave the race, while the 2008 ITU PATCO champion Jillian Petersen of the U.S. crashed on the final bike loop and suffered a broken collarbone.

Heading out on the run, McLarty and Ellis charged ahead, trailed by Shoemaker, Spieldenner, Canadian Tenille Hoogland, and 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Susan Williams, who was competing in her first ITU event since 2006.

McLarty was forced to withdraw from the race as the fourth lap started, leaving Ellis alone at front to grab the victory. Shoemaker finished more than a minute back, while Spieldenner was another 1:35 behind. American Becky Lavelle turned in the day's second fastest run split (behind Ellis) to take fourth.

Spieldenner also earned the ITU PATCO U23 gold for her performance.

ITU PATCO Championship
May 16, 2009
Oklahoma City, Okla.
1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run

Elite Women’s Results 
1.    Mary Beth Ellis (USA) 2:05:35
2.    Jenna Shoemaker (USA) 2:06:48
3.    Jennifer Spieldenner (USA) 2:08:23
4.    Becky Lavelle (USA) 2:08:41
5.    Kerry Spearing (CAN) 2:09:06
6.    Susan Williams (USA) 2:09:33
7.    Tenille Hoogland (CAN) 2:09:41
8.    Elizabeth Bravo (ECU) 2:14:18
9.    Amanda Stevens (USA) 2:14:40
10.    Carolina Grinaldo (COL) 2:14:56

Full Elite Women's results.

ITU PATCO Junior Championships
750k swim, 20k bike, 5k run

Earlier in the day, the U.S. and Canadian athletes captured five of the six available medals in the Junior Championships.

Canadian Kyla Coates finished four seconds ahead of Mexican Rocio Enriquez in 1:06:30, with Canadian Marianne Hogan grabbing bronze in 1:07:06. The top U.S. athlete was Jenn Howland, finishing fifth in 1:07:38.

In the junior men's race, spectators were introduced to a rising star on the triathlon scene, as 16-year-old Lukas Verzbicas of the United States used an outstanding 15:48 run split over the two-loop 5K course to pull away from the field for gold in 58:03. Just two months ago Verzbicas set a U.S. high school indoor track 5,000-meter record in 14:18.

Connor Hammond of Canada was second in 58:29, nipping American Ben Kanute at the tape.

Full Junior Men's results.

Full Junior Women's results.

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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