COZUMEL, Mexico -- Rising U.S. triathlon talent will be on display this Thursday and Friday as defending worlds silver medalist Taylor Knibb and 10 other Americans ages 17-23 compete against the world's best in the 2016 ITU Junior and Under-23 Triathlon World Championships.
Taylor Knibb is one of 11 U.S. junior and U23 triathletes competing this week in Cozumel. (Wagner Araujo/ITU)
The U23 athletes will compete on a standard 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike, 10-kilometer run Olympic-distance course, while the junior athletes will race half the distance, covering a 750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run course. Both races follow a draft-legal format. The U23 men race Thursday, Sept. 15 at 3 p.m. CT, while Friday will be an action-packed day, starting with the U23 women at 7:30 a.m. CT, and followed by the junior men at 3 p.m. CT and the junior women at 5 p.m. CT.
Knibb (Washington, D.C.) has had a banner year already, defending her USA Triathlon Junior Elite National Championships title and capturing the win at the West Des Moines CAMTRI Triathlon Junior American Championships in July, as well as the Kitzbühel ETU Triathlon Junior European Cup in June. Knibb also excelled on the elite international stage in 2016, finishing 11th in her ITU World Triathlon Series debut in Hamburg and winning bronze at the Montreal ITU World Cup last month.
Knibb will be joined by five other top-notch junior triathletes from the U.S. in the quest for world championship accolades. Audrey Ernst (South Elgin, Ill.) and Kyleigh Spearing (Frankfort, Ill.) will toe the line with Knibb on Friday afternoon in the junior women's race. Ernst won the 16-19 age group at last year's ITU Sprint Triathlon World Championships, picking up silver medals at races this season in Kitzbühel and Sarasota and bronze at Junior Elite Nationals. Spearing posted a series of top-10 finishes at the elite level this season and finished just one place behind Ernst at the Sarasota CAMTRI Triathlon Junior North American Championships and Junior Elite Nationals
Austin Hindman (Wildwood, Mo.) was the top U.S. finisher at last year's Junior Worlds in Chicago, and he is joined by Grant Jarvis (Texarkana, Texas) and Graham Pimentel (Naples, Fla.). Hindman earned the bronze medal at Junior Elite Nationals and finished fourth at the Richmond CAMTRI Sprint Triathlon American Cup. Jarvis won Junior Elite Nationals to earn his spot on the worlds team, while Pimentel finished fourth at Junior Elite Nationals and third in West Des Moines.
In the U23 races, Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.), William Huffman (Colleyville, Texas) and Rudy von Berg (Boulder, Colo.) will compete for the men on Thursday, while Bria Edwards (College Station, Pa.) and Katie Gorczyca (Las Vegas, Nev.) are set to race on Friday for the women.
Huffman has posted two top-10 finishes at ITU World Cup events this season and is competing in his first world championships since 2013. Hemming and von Berg look to improve upon their worlds performances from one year ago after having competed in the FISU World University Triathlon Championships last month. The pair also finished second and third, respectively, at the West Des Moines CAMTRI Triathlon U23 American Championships in July.
Edwards and Gorczyca are making their debut in the ITU U23 Triathlon World Championships. Edwards has three top-10 results from ITU events this season, including a silver medal at the Richmond CAMTRI Sprint Triathlon American Cup. Gorczyca recently began her collegiate triathlon season with Arizona State University and won the Bridgetown CAMTRI Sprint Triathlon American Cup earlier this season.
These four world championship races are part of the five-day ITU World Triathlon Grand Final and World Championships happening in Cozumel this week. More than 600 Americans will compete over the course of the week, with races also set to feature aquathlon, elite triathlon and amateur sprint and Olympic-distance triathlon world championships. Visit USATriathlon.org for full coverage of each race.
Complete start lists are available at Triathlon.org, and more details on the 2016 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Cozumel are available at Cozumel.Triathlon.org.
||About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with nearly 500,000 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, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).