OMAHA, Neb. — Amateur triathletes Todd Buckingham and Alissa Doehla captured overall national titles at Saturday's USA Triathlon Olympic-Distance National Championships, held for the first time at Levi Carter Park.More than 2,000 athletes crossed the finish line of the 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike, 10-kilometer run event, a staple in the USA Triathlon National Championships schedule. Olympic-Distance Nationals is the first event held as part of the two-day Age Group National Championships, and approximately 4,100 athletes registered to compete over the weekend.
Buckingham (East Lansing, Mich.) posted a final time of 1 hour, 58 minutes, 12 seconds for the fastest time of the day, winning the men's 25-29 age group in addition to overall honors.
A former collegiate baseball player who is working toward his Ph.D. at Michigan State, Buckingham was surprised to be the top finisher after he injured his foot in a bike crash Friday.
"I was just trying to hold a good pace," Buckingham said. "Last year was my first year at Age Group Nationals and I didn't have any expectations for myself but still finished eighth. Today I wanted to come in and improve upon that, and it worked out pretty well. It feels great to be a national champion."
Christopher Douglas of Atlanta, Ga., finished second to Buckingham in a tight race for the overall and 25-29 titles with a time of 1:58:15. John Felix, 23, of Hilton Head Island, S.C., finished third in 1:58:26.
Alissa Doehla (Asheville, N.C.), clinched the women's overall title and the 30-34 age group with a time of 2:09:24 in only her first full season as a triathlete. Doehla transitioned from professional runner to amateur triathlete in 2015.
"Last fall I got married and wanted to take a break from running, but I had already been fitted for my wedding dress and knew I had to do something," Doehla said. "One of my friends is a tri coach and started writing some workouts for me, and I thought it would be fun."
Kirsten Sass of McKenzie, Tennessee, finished second with a time of 2:11:49 and Adrienne Leblanc of Scottsdale, Ariz., was third in 2:14:59.
Masters winners were Tim Hola (40-44, Highlands Ranch, Colo.), who finished in 2:05:17, and Leblanc. Gregory Taylor (60-64, Yankton, S.D.) won his third straight Grand Masters title in 2:18:41 while former elite triathlete and world champion Karen Smyers (55-59, Lincoln, Mass.), took the women's Grand Masters crown with a time of 2:29:41.
The top 18 finishers in each age group (rolling down to 25th place) earned their spot for next year's Team USA, an amateur team that represents the U.S. at various multisport world championship events around the globe. These athletes will travel to the 2017 ITU World Championships, set for Sept. 14-17 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
The 2016 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships resume Sunday with the Sprint National Championships. More than 450 athletes from Olympic-Distance Nationals are slated to return to the course, which features a 750m swim, 20k bike and 5k run. A live stream of the event will begin at 7:30 a.m. at usatriathlon.org.
Also part of the Age Group Nationals weekend for the first time is a beginner wave, which will be the last wave of Sprint Nationals to allow new or novice triathletes an opportunity to participate. More about the beginner wave is available at usatriathlon.org/beginnerwave.
The Omaha-area community is encouraged to come out and support the competitors and experience the excitement of multisport. Admission is free to all spectators.
2016 USA Triathlon Olympic-Distance National Championships
1,500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run
Olympic-Distance National Champions — Complete Results
Overall Female: Alissa Doehla (Asheville, N.C.), 2:09:24
Overall Male: Todd Buckingham (East Lansing, Mich.), 1:58:12
Masters Female: Adrienne LeBlanc (Scottsdale, Ariz.), 2:14:59
Masters Male: Tim Hola (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), 2:05:16
Grand Masters Female: Karen Smyers (Lincoln, Mass.), 2:29:41
Grand Masters Male: Gregory Taylor (Yankton, S.D.), 2:18:41
F17-19: Alma Campiani (Key Biscayne, Fla.), 2:32:44
M17-19: Ian Hoover-Grinde (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), 2:04:20
F20-24: Erika Ackerlund (Helena, Mont.), 2:19:06
M20-24: John Felix (Hilton Head Island, S.C.), 1:58:26
F25-29: Jacqueline Godbe (Chicago, Ill.), 2:15:47
M25-29: Todd Buckingham (East Lansing, Mich.), 1:58:12
F30-34: Alissa Doehla (Asheville, N.C.), 2:09:24
M30-34: Derek Jakoboski (Providence, R.I.), 2:00:01
F35-39: Kirsten Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.), 2:11:48
M35-39: James Hallberg (Longmont, Colo.), 2:05:19
F40-44: Heather Curnutt (Madison, Wis.), 2:21:19
M40-44: Tim Hola (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), 2:05:16
F45-49: Adrienne LeBlanc (Scottsdale, Ariz.), 2:14:59
M45-49: Dave Slavinski (Point Pleasant, N.J.), 2:06:55
F50-54: Linda Robb (Juno Beach, Fla.), 2:17:30
M50-54: Brian Bich (Duluth, Minn.), 2:08:44
F55-59: Karen Smyers (Lincoln, Mass.), 2:29:40
M55-59: Lee Walther (Oklahoma City, Okla.), 2:09:17
F60-64: Martha Whitacre (Paris, Ill.), 2:36:33
M60-64: Gregory Taylor (Yankton, S.D.), 2:18:40
F65-69: Kathryn Wiberg (West Boylston, Mass.), 2:57:23
M65-69: Michael Orendorff (Pueblo, Colo.), 2:28:10
F70-74: Patricia Kimper (Solana Beach, Calif.), 3:16:16
M70-74: Roger Freeman (San Diego, Calif.), 2:43:18
F75-79: Elizabeth Brackett (Chicago, Ill.), 3:31:40
M75-79: William Marshall (Santa Rosa, Calif.), 3:00:56
M80-84: Dan Connolly (Sun City Center, Fla.), 5:51:13
F85+: Madonna Buder (Spokane, Wash.), 4:23:43
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).