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U.S. Sweep at Pan Am Champs

April 20, 2008, 12 a.m. (ET)

MAZATLAN, Mexico (April 20 2008) Two relative newcomers to the elite triathlon world pulled upset victories today at the 2008 PATCO Triathlon Pan American Championships in this resort city. Jillian Petersen and Matt Chrabot of the United States ran away with the continental titles after thrilling breakaways on the bike in both competitions surprised many top veterans who were unable to close the gap. This is the first major title for both young athletes and makes it the second year in a row for the U.S. sweep of the gold medals.

In the women’s race Petersen, whose highest finish in an ITU race was third at the 2008 Nevis Pan American Cup a month ago, crossed the line first in a time of 1 hour 56 minutes and 36 seconds. In three short years the ex-Collegiate runner has gone from competing in her first triathlon to Pan American Champion.

“It is my first time in Mazatlan and I love this kind of weather,” said Petersen of the hot and humid conditions. “It was an amazing race, the team work with Alicia [Kaye] on the bike was fundamental.”

Petersen used her strong swimming skills to exit the water in the front group and joined an efficient lead pack of two to put almost a minute on the top runners in the field. From there the former USA Age Group champion put more time into the chasers and finished almost two minutes ahead of second place and 2008 Olympian Lauren Groves of Canada. In third was hometown favourite Adriana Fabiola Corona of Mexico, a further 40 seconds back.

In the men’s race, the 24-year old Chrabot, who’s previous best result was a second at the 2007 Kelowna Pan American Cup, comfortably finished in a time of 1 hour 47 minutes and 9 seconds, over a minute ahead of 2008 Olympian and pre-race favourite Jarrod Shoemaker from the U.S. Shoemaker, who skipped this weekend’s U.S. Olympic Trials as he has already qualified for Beijing, managed to nudge out Francisco Serrano of Mexico in a final sprint for the silver.

“I live in Virginia so I am used to these kinds of aggressive waves,” said Chrabot of the 15-foot waves greeting the athletes as they started the ocean swim. “I expect the same race in my next competition at the [Richards Bay] World Cup.”

Just as in the women’s event, Chrabot broke away early in the bike leg with only one other athlete after exiting the water in first, building his lead to insurmountable two minutes 30 seconds after the bike. From there it was a battle for second as the young American’s proven run speed ushered him to his career’s first ITU title.

Earlier in the day the younger athletes took to the beach for the Junior Championships over the same course. At the finish it was Canadian Sarah-Anne Brault and Mexican Rodrigo Gonzalez who claimed the title of Continental Champion. American Willy Pickhardt earned the silver for the men.

In the Under23 competition it was rising star Barbara Riveros Diaz from Chile to claim the women’s title with Jeff Symonds of Canada winning the men’s race. American Justine Whipple earned the bronze for the women.

See the Race Photo Gallery.

2008 Mazatlan PATCO Triathlon Pan American Championship
Elite Women - Official Results
1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run
Gold – Jillian Peterson (USA) 1:56:36
Silver – Lauren Groves (CAN) 1:58:31 +1:55
Bronze – Adriana Corona (MEX) 1:59:12 +2:36
4 – Alicia Kaye (CAN) 1:59:52 +3:16
5 – Elizabeth Bravo (ECU) 2:01:54 +5:22

Elite Men - Official Results
1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run
Gold – Matt Chrabot (USA) 1:46:09
Silver – Jarrod Shoemaker (USA)1:47:27 +1:18
Bronze – Francisco Serrano(MEX)1:47:28 +1:19
4 – Juraci Moreira (BRA) 1:47:38 +1:29
5 – Eligio Cervantes (MEX) 1:47:44 +1:35

Junior Women - Official Results
.5km swim, 20km bike, 5km run
Gold – Sarah-Anne Brault (CAN) 1:07:13
Silver – Ruth Gris (MEX) 1:07:20 +:07
Bronze – Kyla Coates (CAN) 1:07:53 +:40

Junior Men - Official Results
.5km swim, 20km bike, 5km run
Gold – Rodrigo Gonzalez (MEX) 1:00:46
Silver – Willy Pickhardt (USA) 1:00:59 +:13
Bronze – Carlos Fischer (VEN) 1:01:13 +:27

Under23 Women - Official Results
1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run
Gold – Barbara Riveros Diaz (CHI)1:59:47
Silver – Kerry Spearing (CAN) 2:00:13 +:26
Bronze – Justine Whipple (USA) 2:00:14 +:27

Under23 Men - Official Results
1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run
Gold – Jeff Symonds (CAN) 1:48:24
Silver – Marcus Fernandes (BRA)1:49:01 +:37
Bronze – Jordan Bryden (CAN) 1:49:23 +:59

Official full field results