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Douglas, Sass Headline USA Triathlon Age-Group Triathletes of the Year, Presented by Garmin

April 11, 2017, 8:33 p.m. (ET)


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Triathlon today announced its talented roster of 2016 Age-Group Triathletes of the Year, an award presented annually by Garmin and selected by USA Triathlon’s Age Group Committee. 

Christopher Douglas (Atlanta, Ga.) earned top honors for Men's Age-Group Triathlete of the Year, while Kirsten Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.) was named the overall Women's Age-Group Triathlete of the Year for the second straight year. 

Douglas had a fantastic 2016, placing first overall in the sprint-distance race and second in the Olympic-distance race at the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships in Omaha, Nebraska. He also earned the overall win at IRONMAN 70.3 Augusta. 

“I’m thankful for my coaches, teammates and friends who truly make triathlon a joy for me,” Douglas said. This honor signifies a year of wonderful experiences.” 

Sass’ 2016 season was highlighted by overall wins at the ITU Long Distance Age Group World Championships in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and the ITU Standard-Distance Age Group World Championships in Cozumel, Mexico. She was also the women's overall champion at IRONMAN Louisville. 

“Thank you to USA Triathlon for being my fire, and to my family, friends, training partners, fellow racers and believers for keeping it lit,” Sass said. 

The Masters Triathlete of the Year titles were awarded to Tim Hola (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and Linda Robb (Juno Beach, Fla.) Hola and Robb each earned age-group wins at the USA Triathlon Olympic-Distance Age Group National Championships. Hola won the men's 40-44 division at the ITU Long Distance World Championships and was second overall at IRONMAN Florida, while Robb was the women's 50-54 champion at the ITU Standard-Distance World Championships and at IRONMAN 70.3 Raleigh. 

Michael Orendorff (Ponca, Okla.) and Martha Whitacre (Paris, Ill.) earned Grand Masters Triathlete of the Year titles. Orendorff was the men's 65-69 champion at the sprint-distance, Olympic-distance and off-road USA Triathlon National Championships. Orendorff also won his division at the ITU Age Group Long Distance World Championships. Whitacre’s 2016 season included wins in the women's 60-64 division at the ITU Age Group Standard-Distance Worlds, USA Triathlon Olympic-Distance Nationals, St. Louis Triathlon and Iron Abe Triathlon. 

Off-Road Triathlete of the Year honors were given to Nelson Hegg (Boulder, Colo.) and Courtney Kaup (Richmond, Vt.). Hegg was the second overall amateur and first American at the XTERRA Pan American Championship in Ogden, Utah, as well as the third amateur at the XTERRA Beaver Creek Mountain Championship. Kaup was the 35-39 age group champion at the XTERAA World Championship in Kapalua, Hawaii. She also earned an age-group win at XTERRA Oak Mountain/Southeast and an overall win at XTERRA Quebec.  

Rounding out the age-group winners are Ian Hoover-Grinde (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) and Maeghan Easler (Des Moines, Iowa), who were named Junior Triathletes of the Year for their accomplishments in non-drafting evets. Hoover-Grinde was the USA Triathlon Olympic-distance national champion and ITU Olympic-distance world champion in the men's 16-19 age group. Easler was third in the women's 16-19 age group at USA Triathlon Olympic-Distance Nationals, second overall at the Bluff Creek Sprint Triathlon in Boone County, Iowa, and second in the collegiate division at Life Time Tri Minneapolis. 

The 2016 USA Triathlon Age-Group Triathletes of the Year and honorable mention selections are as follows: 

Men’s Triathlete of the Year: Christopher Douglas (Atlanta, Ga.) 
Honorable Mention: Todd Buckingham, Ryan Giuliano, Tim Hola, Derek Jakobowski, Daniel Stubleski 

Women’s Triathlete of the Year: Kirsten Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.) 
Honorable Mention: Cecilia Davis-Hayes, Alissa Doehla, Emily Lanter, Laura Mathews, Kelly O’Mara 

Men’s Masters Triathlete of the Year: Tim Hola (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) 
Honorable Mention: Bruce Gennari, Dave Slavinski, Daniel Stubleski, Ritch Viola, Lee Walther 

Women’s Masters Triathlete of the Year:
Linda Robb (Juno Beach, Fla.) 
Honorable Mention: Kelly Dippold, Tina Eakin, Lisbeth Kenyon, Adrienne Leblanc, Colleen De Reuck 

Men’s Grand Masters Triathlete of the Year: Michael Orendorff (Ponca, Okla.) 
Honorable Mention: Patrick Bourdillon, Simon Butterworth, Roger Freeman, Philip Friedman, Greg Taylor 

Women’s Grand Masters Triathlete of the Year:
Martha Whitacre (Paris, Ill.) 
Honorable Mention: Cherie Gruenfeld, Lori Beck, Ellen Hart, Sherry Rennard, Janie White 

Men’s Off-Road Triathlete of the Year: Nelson Hegg (Boulder, Colo.) 
Honorable Mention: Brent Mattison 

Women’s Off-Road Triathlete of the Year:
Courtney Kaup (Richmond, Vt.) 
Honorable Mention: Deanna McCurdy 

Men’s Junior Triathlete of the Year:
Ian Hoover-Grinde (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) 
Honorable Mention: Jonathan McAlister 

Women’s Junior Triathlete of the Year:
Maeghan Easler (Des Moines, Iowa) 
Honorable Mention: Alma Campiani 

Women’s Junior Triathlete of the Year:
Maeghan Easler (Des Moines, Iowa) 
Honorable Mention: Alma Campiani 

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).