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Whipple Gets World University Gold

By Jason Mucher | June 30, 2008, 12 p.m. (ET)

Justine Whipple loves the big stage. The 22-year-old Naval Academy graduate continued her rise in the triathlon ranks by winning the gold medal at the 2008 FISU Triathlon World University Championship in Erdek, Turkey on Sunday.

2007 USAT Collegiate National Champion Kevin Collington (Orlando, Fla.) was the top U.S. male finisher in sixth with a time of 2:03:33.

A total of 129 athletes (77 men, 52 women) participated in the 1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run races.

Whipple (Duxbury, Mass.), who finished sixth at the ITU U23 World Championship just two weeks ago, turned in the day's second fastest bike and run to finish in 2:15:07. Spain's Maria Perez Pujol finished 49 seconds back in 2:15:56 to grab second, with Germany's Tina Herklotz finishing third in 2:16:16.

Whipple is a two-time USAT Collegiate National Champion, a two-time U.S. Armed Forces National Champion, and is the defending USAT U23 National Champion.

Three other American women competed in the event. Current USAT Collegiate National Champion Amanda Felder (Houston, Texas) finished 20th in 2:24:59, Jennifer Spieldenner (Findlay, Ohio) was 22nd in 2:25:59, and Lauren Goldstein-Kral (Shaker Heights, Ohio) was 27th in 2:28:11.

The finishes by its top-three athletes were enough to earn the U.S. team a bronze, behind first place Spain and second place Great Britain.

In the men's race, Collington produced a solid performance for his sixth place finish. He was followed closely by reigning USAT Collegiate Champion Steven Sexton in seventh with a time of 2:03:33. Barrett Brandon (Fort Worth, Texas) was 15th in 2:04:32, 2007 USAT U23 National Champion Ethan Brown (Lowell, Mass.) was 28th in 2:07:15, and 2007 USAT Junior National Champion Greg Billington (Spokane, Wash.) was 34th in 2:09:14.

The finishes by Collington, Sexton and Brandon gave the U.S. men's team a silver medal behind Switzerland and just ahead of Poland.

Brice Daubord of France won the event in 2:01:32. Charles Rusterholz of Switzerland was second in 2:02:19, while Alberto Casadei of Italy was third in 2:02:23.

More information and results can be found here.

The World University Championships are held every two years in locations around the world. In 2008, 32 sports are being offered in various countries. The 2010 event for triathlon is slated to take place in Valencia, Spain.

In order to participate, athletes must a be citizen of the country they represent, must be a current college student or recently enrolled, and must be at least 17 and less than 28 years of age on January 1 in the year of event.

The FISU was formed within university institutions in order to promote sporting values and encourage sporting practice in harmony with, and complementary to, the university spirit.