Mixed Team Relay, Age-Group Champions Shine on Day 2 of Youth & Junior Nationals

By USA Triathlon | Aug. 06, 2017, 1 p.m. (ET)

youth & junior nationals

WEST CHESTER, Ohio — Swim-bike-run action wrapped up Sunday at Voice of America Park with Z3 Junior Triathlon Team winning the Mixed Team Relay event and age-group national champions crowned for ages 7-15 as part of the 2017 USA Triathlon Youth & Junior National Championships weekend.

The Z3 team of Kyleigh Spearing (Frankfort, Ill.), Nick Johnson (West Des Moines, Iowa), Paige Horner (Johnston, Iowa) and Darr Smith (Brookhaven, Ga.) bested the 53-team field on the 250-meter swim, 5-kilometer bike, 1.2-kilometer run course, posting a final time of 1 hour, 9 minutes, 41 seconds. The second-place team was 51 Speedshop, finishing in 1:10:04. A second team from Z3 Junior Triathlon Team also finished on the podium, taking the third spot in 1:10:54.

“I think it’s something special to be able to share this with teammates,” said Spearing, who topped the junior elite women’s podium in yesterday’s individual event. “Triathlon’s a very individual sport, and it means a lot to me to be able to do this with a team I can call family.”

This was the eighth year the Mixed Team Relay had been contested as part of Youth & Junior Nationals. The format is gaining popularity worldwide and was recently added to the Olympic Games program for Tokyo 2020.

“We race individually on one day, and you know, we’re really all friends, and on the individual day we are competitors, but to come together as a team to do this, it’s really fun,” said Smith, another junior elite champion from Saturday. “You don’t want to let the team down. You’ve got to push hard and push all the way to the finish. You don’t want to give up time that your other teammates worked hard to get.”

After the relay, more than 600 youth age-group triathletes took to the course, with athletes ages 7-10 covering a 100m swim, 5k bike, 1k run course and athletes ages 11-15 completing a 200m swim, 10k bike, 2k run course. National champions were crowned for each age group, including three athletes who repeated as age-group winners for the second straight year.

“It’s extremely exciting,” said Xavier Garriques, 10 (Lake Forest, Ill.), who won an age-group title and has raced in West Chester a number of times before. Like many young athletes in attendance, Garriques races as part of a local club and enjoys being part of a team. “It feels comforting, like people are supporting me from all angles. It’s nice to have a buddy to cross the finish line with.”

“I like the competitiveness, and everybody going hard and trying to beat everyone, and enjoying it at the same time,” said Mackenzie Meyers, 14 (San Antonio, Fla.). “Everyone from across the country comes here to race, so you can race with the best.”

West Chester’s Voice of America Park has been the host of Youth & Junior Nationals since 2012, and the event will continue to be held in the park through 2021.

Visit usatriathlon.org/usatjr17 for more information on USA Triathlon Youth & Junior Nationals.

2017 USA Triathlon Youth & Junior National Championships Results
Mixed Team Relay: 250m swim, 5k draft-legal bike, 1.2k run
Age-Groupers 7-10: 100m swim, 5k bike and a 1k run
Age-Groupers 11-15: 200m swim, 10k bike and 2k run

Click here for complete results

Mixed Team Relay

1. Z3 Team 1 – Kyleigh Spearing (Frankfort, Ill.), Nick Johnson (West Des Moines, Iowa), Paige Horner (Johnston, Iowa), Darr Smith (Brookhaven, Ga.), 1:09:41
2. 51 Speedshop – Gillian Cridge (Indianapolis, Ind.), Zach Wilson (Carmel, Ind.), Trinity Schimbeck (St. George, Utah), Andrew Shellenberger (Indianapolis, Ind.), 1:10:04
3. Z3 Team 3 – Chloe Ramirez (Leesburg, Va.), Nick Holmes (Glendale, Wis.), Lauren Steinke (Saint Cloud, Minn.), Davis Bove (Franklin, Tenn.), 1:10:54

Age 7
Female winner: Ellie Harlow (Glen Allen, Va.), 23:06
Male winner: M. Whitfield Evans (Midlothian, Va.), 21:32

Age 8
Female winner: Josie Nunziata (Suffolk, Va.), 21:39
Male winner: Brayden Barrett (Haslet, Texas), 19:35

Age 9
Female winner: Eve Frost (Suffolk, Va.), 19:30
Male winner: Dylan Mirakian (Fairway, Kan.), 18:27

Age 10
Female winner: Hazel Wells (Richmond, Va.), 18:16
Male winner: Xavier Garriques (Lake Forest, Ill.), 17:31

Age 11
Female winner: Clare Anne Dasso (New Braunfels, Texas), 32:01
Male winner: Evan Mahrous (Sioux Falls, S.D.), 30:09

Age 12
Female winner: Ava Birchmier (Akeny, Iowa), 30:18
Male winner: Braxton Legg (Tampa, Fla.), 29:20

Age 13
Female winner: Ava Larkin (Woodbridge, Va.), 30:47
Male winner: Christian Deschamps (Cypress, Texas), 28:54

Age 14
Female winner: Katerina Talanova (Ellicott City, Md.), 32:17
Male winner: Landon Soroka (Raleigh, N.C.), 28:54

Age 15
Female winner: Hailey Poe (Bridgeville, Pa.), 31:41
Male winner: Kyle James-Heer (Grand Rapids, Mich.), 30:05
Note: Juan Manuel Cordoba Blanco (CRC) posted the fastest time in this age group (28:39) but was not eligible for a national title.

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