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Posted: June 1, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

Triathlon: Pre-Race Favorite Amanda Erwin OK In OKC After Being Struck By Car

Christian Ballard becomes the Sooner State’s first repeat BOUS Champion; Bethany Handley wins for women

ST. PAUL, MN / May 31, 2009--he stage was set for high drama Sunday morning, with three prior Best of the U.S. Oklahoma Woman's Champions -- Dana Chance (’05), Shannon Peters (’07) and Amanda Erwin (’08) –– toeing the line “eyeball to eyeball” as described by Race Director Steve Bussjaeger. Erwin was “gunning for it”, he said, focused on returning to the Championship following her 6th place 2008 finish. None of them were aware of a last-minute entrant, "literally the last athlete registered Friday night" according to Bussjaeger, by the name of Bethany Handley.

With Handley recently relocated to Oklahoma City from her hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee, no one knew her. "I was stripping wetsuits," said Bussjaeger, "and when I saw the number 168 on the first woman out of the water I looked around and said 'I have no idea who that woman is'". Nor did anyone onsite know about her 16th Place finish at St. Anthony's just a few weeks ago, or that she races for the Riptide Elite Amateur Team. She was the second person overall out of the water. "She rode a basic road bike, not even a tri bike."

The motivated Erwin had passed Handley on the bike and was out front about halfway through the 20K ride when disaster struck. “It was a four-lane divided highway, manned by an officer; we're not sure but it appears he simply didn't see Amanda coming," reported Bussjaeger, "and waved a car right on through. It just t-boned her."

Hospitalized and released later in the day, Amanda was flown the 100 miles back home to Tulsa by a friend with a small plane, accompanied by her boyfriend. "So far it seems she's mostly bruised and fiercely disappointed," said Bussjaeger.

With Erwin out, Bethany Handley took over and cruised to the win with over 4 minutes to spare. Tulsa's Dana Chance was second and Shannon Peters of Moore, OK was third.

Meanwhile, Christian Ballard, from Norman OK used a strong swim to take an insurmountable lead and do something no other Oklahoman of either gender had yet done: repeat as BOUS Champion. Following Ballard were Travis Newton from Moore and Eric McCrary of Catoosa.

Next up:
Best of the U.S. Week 9, June 6 & 7
Race #12 Quartermax Missouri Qualifier
Race #13 Milkman New Mexico Qualifier
Race #14 Pigman Iowa Qualifier


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