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Young Talent Showcased on Final Day of Tuscaloosa Tri-Palooza

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

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (April 20 2008) The USA Triathlon Tuscaloosa Tri-Palooza in Tuscaloosa, Ala., concluded Sunday with the Twenty-12 Talent ID race, where Julie Rechel and Matthew Wisthoff emerged as the top athletes with wins in the draft-legal sprint distance races.

Rechel, 19, held off Leah Larson, one of the strongest runners in amateur triathlon, to win with a time of 1 hour, 6 minutes, 57 seconds. Larson, who finished second in Saturday’s collegiate race, was 26 seconds back.

“I want to take this as far as I can go,” Rechel said of her triathlon career. “I love the sport, I love the atmosphere, I love the athletes. I’ll keep going as hard as I can.”

Wisthoff, 23, was third after the swim but was able to join the lead pack on the bike and save energy for the run.

“This is my first draft legal race and hopefully the first of many more to come,” Wisthoff said. “I thought I’d really like this format, and it went really well today.”

The Twenty-12 Talent ID race was created to introduce up and coming triathletes to the world of draft-legal racing.

"It's about teaching them some tactics and maybe even finding an Olympian down the road," said USAT Sport Performance Director Scott Schnitzspahn. "We're looking for someone who can swim, bike and run with the skills they need to compete at the next level. We're looking for someone who has the drive and determination to make themselves better, and hopefully they got the experience here today that will get them there."

2008 Twenty-12 Talent ID Results
April 20, 2008
Tuscaloosa, Ala.

1. Matthew Wisthoff  59:52
2. Eric Bell   1:00:11
3. Nicholas Vandam  1:00:22

1. Julie Rechel   1:06:52
2. Leah Larson  1:07:23
3. Mary Miller   1:08:58

Complete Twenty-12 Results

The day opened with the Tuscaloosa Triathlon, featuring collegiate and local age group triathletes.

Tuscaloosa Triathlon Results