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USA Triathlon Names 2014 Elite Triathletes of the Year

By USA Triathlon | March 02, 2015, 1:42 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — ITU World Champion Gwen Jorgensen headlines the 13 honorees selected as the 2014 Elite Triathletes of the Year, announced today by USA Triathlon and selected by the National Governing Body’s Athlete Advisory Council (AAC).

“2014 was a year full of great performances by U.S. elite athletes. It seems that each year our athletes turn in better and better performances. From rookies to the top-ranked athletes, there were so many strong performances that selecting winners from the list of nominees was a difficult task,” said Joel Rosinbum, chair of the USA Triathlon AAC. “In the end we selected a group of athletes whose incredible performances make them stand out as the very best our country has to offer. The AAC would like to congratulate all the 2014 Athletes of the Year and wish them and all athletes continued success in 2015.”

Jorgensen (St. Paul, Minn.) is a repeat winner of the Olympic/ITU Athlete of the Year award, making history in 2014 as the only woman in the world to win eight career ITU World Triathlon Series (WTS) events. Jorgensen logged five consecutive wins in WTS events in 2014, including the series Grand Final in Edmonton, Alberta, to clinch the world title — the first for the U.S. in 10 years.

Jarrod Shoemaker (Clermont, Fla.) also claimed back-to-back honors in the Olympic/ITU Athlete of the Year category. Shoemaker finished the 2014 season as the top-ranked American man in the ITU standings with eight top-10 finishes in ITU events. He was seventh in the Grand Final in Edmonton and posted second-place finishes at ITU World Cups in Jiayuguan, China, and Cozumel, Mexico.

Non-Drafting Athlete of the Year accolades went to Alicia Kaye (Clermont, Fla.), Meredith Kessler (San Francisco, Calif.) and Ben Hoffman (Boulder, Colo.). Kaye, who was also the 2013 winner in this category, won five events in 2014 including the Chicago Triathlon and New York City Triathlon. She was also second at the Hy-Vee 5150 Championships. Kessler, a long-distance specialist, won six events, including IRONMAN New Zealand and IRONMAN Arizona. She was fourth at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship. Hoffman earned podium finishes at six events throughout the year, highlighted by the IRONMAN World Championship, where his second-place finish was the best for an American since 2009.

Kendall Gretsch (PT1, Madison, Wis.) and Aaron Scheidies (PT5, Seattle, Wash.) earned recognition as the Paratriathletes of the Year. The two athletes excelled in events in the U.S. and abroad, with Gretsch winning her sport class in four events and Scheidies winning five events. Wins for both athletes include the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships, PATCO Championships and USA Paratriathlon Nationals

2014 was another stellar year for Erin Jones (Hood River, Ore.) and Ben Kanute (Geneva, Ill.), who are repeat winners of the Under-23 Athletes of the Year honors. Jones finished third at the ITU U23 World Championships and fourth at the U23 PATCO Championships. She was also third at the Bridgetown PATCO Sprint Triathlon Pan American Cup. Kanute raced to second-place finishes at the Tongyeong World Cup and Sarasota PATCO Pan American Cup, fourth among U23 finishers at PATCO Championships and sixth at ITU U23 Worlds.

Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.) and Justin Metzler (Iowa City, Iowa) were awarded Rookies of the Year. Kasper transitioned to the sport in 2014 through the USA Triathlon Collegiate Recruitment Program and made her elite debut with a fourth-place finish at ITU U23 Worlds. She was also eighth at the Tongyeong World Cup. Metzler started his season fourth overall at the USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championships and was in the top-five among elite triathletes at four events, including IRONMAN 70.3 Steelhead and IRONMAN 70.3 Augusta.

Rounding out the honorees for 2014 are Emma Garrard (Park City, Utah) and Josiah Middaugh (Vail, Colo.) as Off-Road Triathletes of the Year. Garrard was the top American and second overall at four XTERRA events, and top American and fourth overall at XTERRA USA Championship and XTERRA Worlds. Middaugh won the XTERRA Mountain, Southeast and West Championships, and finished second overall and as the first American at XTERRA USA Championship and XTERRA World Championship.

USA Triathlon will announce all its Athlete of the Year selections this week, including juniors, age-group triathletes and duathletes.  

2014 USA Triathlon Elite Triathletes of the Year

Olympic/ITU Athletes of the Year
Gwen Jorgensen (St. Paul, Minn.)
Jarrod Shoemaker (Clermont, Fla.) 

Non-Drafting Athletes of the Year
Alicia Kaye (Clermont, Fla.)
Meredith Kessler (San Francisco, Calif.)
Ben Hoffman (Boulder, Colo.) 

Paratriathletes of the Year
Kendall Gretsch (Madison, Wis.)
Aaron Scheidies (Seattle, Wash.)

Under-23 Athletes of the Year
Erin Jones (Hood River, Ore.)
Ben Kanute (Geneva, Ill.)

Rookies of the Year
Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.)
Justin Metzler (Iowa City, Iowa)

Off-Road Triathletes of the Year
Emma Garrard (Park City, Utah)
Josiah Middaugh (Vail, Colo.)

About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with nearly 500,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).