Toronto – Team USA track cyclists opened the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games today in impressive fashion, earning four out of six possible medals and smashing four Parapan American Games records over the course of the day’s events. Utilizing a factor system, women in classes C1-5 went head-to-head in the 500-meter time trial, and men in classes C1-5 competed against each other in the 1-kilometer time trial.
Jennifer Schuble (Birmingham, Alabama) and Allison Jones (Colorado Springs, Colorado) got the U.S. team off to a strong start, taking home silver and bronze, respectively, in the women’s time trial. With less than three-tenths of a second separating Schuble from gold-medalist Mariela Delgado of Argentina, and five out of the top-six racers in Team USA kits, the American women were a force to be reckoned with in the Cisco Milton Velodrome.
“It makes it a lot harder and competition is a lot deeper [with the factor] so we were hoping for a Team USA podium sweep,” Schuble said. “Our whole team did really well, we were all cheering for each other and we took a lot of the top spots,” added Jones.
Schuble and Jones were followed in the finishes by Samantha Heinrich (Spring Hill, Florida), Jamie Whitmore (Mt. Aukum, California) and Shawn Morelli (Leavenworth, Kansas). Jamie Whitmore’s 43.809 established a new C3 time trial Parapan American record.
Not to be outdone by their teammates, Joe Berenyi (Oswego, Illinois) and Justin Widhalm (Fountain, Colorado) also made their way to the Parapan American podium, picking up gold and bronze for Team USA in the men’s 1km time trial.
Fresh off a win at Saturday’s Parapan American C1-3 road race and a trip to Switzerland for the 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships, Berenyi needed to make an efficient transition to the track for today’s competition.
“I was hoping just to make the podium, not necessarily win it, because we haven’t had a lot of time to practice,” said Berenyi. “But it was such an honor to be up there with [teammate] Justin for how much work he has put in to this. He is a wounded vet, so seeing two of our flags up there was awesome,” he added.
The admiration and respect from teammate Widhalm was mutual. “It meant the world to be up on the podium today. It was such a great feeling to be able to come and perform. Anytime that I can share a podium with Joe Berenyi, that is something special,” he added.
Berenyi (C3) and Widhalm (C5) also set Parapan American records in their classes, coming in at 1:11.325 and 1:09.975, respectively. Chris Murphy (Rancho Cucamonga, California) of Team USA narrowly missed the podium after turning in a new C5 Parapan American record of 1:08.081, which was topped by Edwin Matiz of Colombia in a later heat.
Team USA’s track cycling competition resumes tomorrow, Aug. 11, with the individual pursuit. For complete results and more information, visit TeamUSA.org/ParapanAm.