The men’s race started with Sexton jumping out to an early lead in the swim and maintaining his lead on the bike. He crossed the finish line with a time of 1 hour, 52 minutes and 34 seconds. Sexton closed with a 34:45 in the run, fast enough to hold off a closing 10K of 33:57 by Collington, who finished in 1:54:02.
“The race went exactly the way I’d hoped,” Sexton said. “I knew Kevin would be strong on the hills during the run, so I knew I would need to have a little bit of a lead going into it. The run certainly hurt, but the race couldn’t have gone better.”
Sexton and Collington are on the U.S. Elite Development Team. Both have high aspirations for their futures in triathlon.
“The competition is very strong. I’m glad I was able to pull out a win today,” Sexton said. “I hope to be in the afternoon race [Olympic Trials] in four years.”
Berkeley won the men’s team title with 32 points. Army finished second (58 points) and North Carolina placed third with 68 points.
On the women’s side, Felder, who struggled with cramps in races last season, won her second collegiate nationals title and first since 2005.
“Last year I didn’t have a good run in an Olympic distance triathlon, so this is an improvement for me,” said Felder, who finished third last year despite cramps. “It’s not quite where I want to be time-wise, but it’s a lot better.”
Felder, a graduate student who hopes to compete in more International Triathlon Union races, posted a time of 2:07:30. Second-place finisher Leah Larson of the University of Colorado completed the race in 2:08:30.
“There were three of us working together on the bike,” Felder said. “We were back and forth in the lead. Going into transition I had a little bit of a gap. I was able to hold it.”
Felder’s individual effort helped UC San Diego beat UC Berkeley 37-48. Colorado finished close behind in third with 49 points.