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Kahsar, Shiver Race to USA Triathlon Collegiate National Titles
Colorado repeats as overall team champion

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Colorado’s Karl "Rudy" Kahsar and the University of Florida’s Kaitlin Shiver captured the individual titles, and Colorado repeated as overall team champion at the 2011 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championship Saturday.

Led by three of the top six men’s finishers, CU also earned the men’s team title, while the U.S. Naval Academy brought home the women’s championship. All championship competitors completed a 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run.

Kahsar, who posted four top-20 finishes at Collegiate Nationals as an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, earned his first title in 1 hour, 57 minutes, 4 seconds as a graduate student in Boulder. He made a big move on the bike, posting a 40k time of 58:33, which was good for the day’s No. 2 split.

Eventual runner-up Dustin McLarty of UC Irvine crossed the finish line first after passing Kahsar in the final mile of the run, but had to settle for second place after he was assessed a 2-minute penalty for a position violation on the bike. McLarty finished in 1:58:17, while UCLA’s Brady O’Bryan, the top undergraduate finisher, rounded out the men’s podium in 1:59:02.

"I’ve been training for this race for four years … Every year I’m thinking about Collegiate Nationals, and I put so much into it this year," said Kahsar. "This is the most emotional race I’ve ever done. It’s the hardest I’ve ever gone. I’ve never gone this hard in a race."

A former All-America swimmer at Florida, McLarty broke free in the water with an 18:16 swim split and carried a 20-second lead onto the bike. That’s where Kahsar made his move to grab an advantage of nearly two minutes out of T2. "I know I had a good bike time," Kahsar said. "I know when I passed him on the hill, I put a lot into it when I went by and didn’t look back."

Kahsar carried that momentum onto the run early on, but McLarty closed with a 33:45 10k to break the tape before the penalty was added to his time, bumping him to second. "I raced as hard as I could, and I know (McLarty) did, too," said Kahsar. "That’s the beauty of triathlon; everyone is just pushing it to the max, and how it turns out is how it turns out … It’s certainly been an emotional roller coaster for me today."
On the women’s side, Shiver crossed the line in 2:10:04 to earn her first collegiate title in the same city in which she won the overall age group national title in 2009. Richmond’s Julie Rechel was the runner-up in 2:13:47 to grab her second podium finish in the last three years, while the U.S. Military Academy’s Marcie Nordt took third in 2:14:28. 

"I knew it was going to be a tough race. There were a lot of great competitors out there," said Shiver, who said living and training in Florida helped prepare her for Saturday’s heat. "My philosophy was that I’m just going to swim hard, bike harder and finish with a strong run. It just happened to be my day today … I’m just thrilled."

Shiver was among the leaders from the start, as she was third out of T1 and carried a 30-second lead out on the run. By the time she broke the tape, Shiver had built an advantage of nearly four minutes over the field. Despite the lead, Shiver said there was no point that she let up on the run. "I thought it was going to come down to a sprint finish, honestly," she said.

Cal's Erika Erickson was the top women's graduate student and placed fifth overall in 2:16:32.

Led by three men among the race’s top six finishers and a fourth-place showing in the women’s race from Jessica Broderick, Colorado combined for 83 points to take the overall crown. The U.S. Military Academy was second with 120, followed by Cal with 233 for third.

The CU men totaled just 23 points to top the U.S. Military Academy (71) and Cal (99) in the men’s team event. The U.S. Naval Academy brought home the women’s championship with 46 points to beat out the U.S. Military Academy (49) and Colorado (60).

The overall sprint titles went to top collegiate athlete Katherine Krazak (Mokena, Ill.), who covered the 750m swim, 20k bike and 10k run in 1:17:28, and alumni athlete Andrew Mueller (Champaign, Ill.), who posted a time of 1:06:02. Benjamin Drezek (Denton, Texas) was the men’s collegiate sprint winner in 1:07:50.

The event, presented by Saucony, will be televised on CBS Sports Network later this month. The men’s and women’s races will be shown April 29 in separate one-hour broadcasts, with the women’s race airing at 10 p.m. ET, followed by the men at 11 p.m. ET.

2011 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championship
(1,500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run)

Overall Team Standings
1. Colorado, 83
2. U.S. Military Academy, 120
3. Cal, 233
4. Michigan State, 383
5. Texas A&M, 395

Men’s Team Standings
1. Colorado, 23
2. U.S. Military Academy, 71
3. Cal, 99
4. UCLA, 108
5. Michigan State, 139

Women’s Team Standings
1. U.S. Naval Academy, 46
2. U.S. Military Academy, 49
3. Colorado, 60
4. Cal Poly, 130
5. Cal, 134

Men’s Overall
1. Karl "Rudy" Kahsar (Colorado), 1:57:04
2. Dustin McLarty (UC Irvine), 1:58:17
3. Brady O’Bryan (UCLA), 1:59:02

Men’s Undergraduate
1. Brady O’Bryan (UCLA), 1:59:02
2. Brad Perry (Wake Forest), 1:59:15
3. Chris Braden (Colorado), 1:59:20

Men’s Graduate
1. Karl "Rudy" Kahsar (Colorado), 1:57:04
2. Dustin McLarty (UC Irvine), 1:58:17
3. James McCurdy (Auburn), 1:59:25

Women’s Overall
1. Kaitlin Shiver (Florida), 2:10:04
2. Julie Rechel (Richmond), 2:13:47
3. Marcie Nordt (U.S. Military Academy), 2:14:28

Women’s Undergraduate
1. Kaitlin Shiver (Florida), 2:10:04
2. Julie Rechel (Richmond), 2:13:47
3. Marcie Nordt (U.S. Military Academy), 2:14:28

Women’s Graduate
1. Erika Erickson (Cal), 2:16:32
2. Hallie Blunck (UAB), 2:17:28
3. Samantha Fugate (Michigan State), 2:20:47

Men’s Overall Sprint Champion: Andrew Mueller (Champaign, Ill.), 1:06:02
Men’s Collegiate Sprint Champion: Benjamin Drezek (Denton, Texas), 1:07:50
Men’s Alumni Sprint Champion: Andrew Mueller (Champaign, Ill.), 1:06:02
Men’s Open Sprint Champion: Gary Petmecky (Stone Mountain, Ga.), 1:13:20
Women’s Overall Sprint Champion: Katherine Krzak (Mokena, Ill.), 1:17:28
Women’s Collegiate Sprint Champion: Katherine Krzak (Mokena, Ill.), 1:17:28
Women’s Alumni Sprint Champion: Ashley Yeager (Durham, N.C.), 1:19:01
Women’s Open Sprint Champion: Katie Gilbert (Tuscaloosa, Ala.), 1:31:20

Team Spirit Award: Arizona State
Armed Services Champion: U.S. Military Academy

About USA Triathlon
Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon – one of the fastest growing sports in the world – as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. USA Triathlon sanctions 3,500 races and connects with more than 135,000 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 ITU World Championships, Pan American Games and the Summer Olympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the International Triathlon Union and the United States Olympic Committee.