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USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships to Draw 4,000 Triathletes to Omaha This Weekend

By USA Triathlon | Aug. 07, 2017, 5:27 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — More than 4,000 amateur triathletes are registered to compete at the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships, happening this Saturday, Aug. 12, and Sunday, Aug. 13, at Levi Carter Park in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Age Group Nationals weekend is USA Triathlon’s largest and longest-running National Championship event. Also held in Omaha in 2016, the event will feature two days of competition with national titles up for grabs on each day.

Races begin at 7 a.m. CT each day, with the Olympic-Distance National Championships on Saturday and the Sprint National Championships on Sunday. The Olympic-distance event, which has been held annually since 1983, features a 1,500-meter swim, non-drafting 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run course. Athletes in this race qualified to compete based on a top age-group finish at a previous USA Triathlon Sanctioned Event. The Sprint National Championships, which have no qualifying criteria, will feature a 750m swim, non-drafting 20k bike and 5k run.

On both Saturday and Sunday, athletes will be competing for national titles in their respective age groups. Top finishers in each age group will also earn the opportunity to represent Team USA at the 2018 ITU Age Group Triathlon World Championships in Gold Coast, Australia, in their respective race distances. 

The top 18 finishers (rolling down to 25th place) in each age group of Olympic-Distance Nationals will automatically earn a spot on Team USA. 

Sprint-distance competitors must finish in the top six in their age groups to secure a spot for the Sprint World Championships, which will feature a draft-legal bike leg. Athletes can also qualify for the Sprint World Championships by finishing in the top-12 in their age groups at the Draft-Legal World Qualifier in Sarasota, Florida, on Oct. 7, 2017. More information about Team USA qualification for the sprint race is available at

All 50 states and the District of Columbia are represented by the competitors in this weekend’s field. The youngest athlete on the start list is 14 years old, and the oldest is 88. 

In total, 16 national champions from 2016 will be back to defend their Olympic-distance age-group titles, including overall men’s champion Todd Buckingham (East Lansing, Mich., M25-29):

Returning Olympic-Distance National Champions
Name (Hometown), 2017 Age Group

Ian Hoover-Grinde (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), M17-19
Todd Buckingham (East Lansing, Mich.), M25-29
Kirsten Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.), F35-39
James Hallberg (Longmont, Colo.), M40-44
Tim Hola (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), M40-44
Adrienne LeBlanc (Scottsdale, Ariz.), F45-49
Dave Slavinski (Point Pleasant, N.J.), M45-49
Lee Walther (Oklahoma City, Okla.), M55-59
Martha Whitacre (Paris, Ill.), F60-64
Gregory Taylor (Yankton, S.D.), M60-64
Michael Orendorff (Pueblo, Colo.), M65-69
Kathryn Wiberg (West Boylston, Mass.), F70-74
Roger Freeman (San Diego, Calif.), M70-74
Elizabeth Brackett (Chicago, Ill.), F75-79
William Marshall (Santa Rosa, Calif.), M75-79
Madonna Buder (Spokane, Wash.), F85-89

Sass and LeBlanc are aiming for three-peats, as they also took home national titles in their age groups in 2015. Taylor, meanwhile, is aiming for his fourth consecutive national age-group title at the Olympic distance.

In addition, 16 of last year’s sprint-distance national champions will be returning to the sprint race — including Sass, the 2016 overall women’s champion.

Returning Sprint National Champions 
Name (Hometown), 2017 Age Group

Addison Smith (Knoxville, Tenn.), F15-19
Kirsten Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.), F35-39
Jeff Fejfar (Olive Branch, Miss.), M40-44
James Hallberg (Longmont, Colo.), M40-44
Lauren Jensen (Muskego, Wis.), F50-54
Adrian Mackay (New York, N.Y.), M50-54
Kelly Dippold (Olathe, Kan.), F55-59
Alicia Caldwell (Denver, Colo.), F55-59
Lee Walther (Oklahoma City, Okla.), M55-59
Gregory Taylor (Yankton, S.D.), M60-64
Kathy Calabretta (Ludington, Mich.), F65-69
Michael Orendorff (Pueblo, Colo.), M65-69
Lois Leon (Miami, Fla.), F75-79
Carol Deman (Omaha, Neb.), F75-79
William Marshall (Santa Rosa, Calif.), M75-79
Molly Hayes (Bozeman, Mont.), F85-89

Mackay and Taylor, having also earned age-group sprint-distance titles in 2015, are chasing after the three-peat this weekend. 

Several 2016 ITU age group world champions are also on the start list for this weekend’s races. Seven world champions are registered for Olympic-Distance Nationals, including Hoover-Grinde, M17-19; Sass, F35-39; Kyle Welch (Sunnyvale, Calif.), M55-59; Whitacre, F60-64; Michael McCombs (Marlborough, Mass.), M60-64; Michael Wein (Marietta, Ga.), M65-69; and Peggy McDowell-Cramer (Santa Monica, Calif.), F75-79.

Racing in the Sprint National Championships are world champions Philip Friedman (Erie, Pa.), M60-64; Jim Sumara (Jacksonville, Fla.), M65-69; Paula Larsen (Delafield, Wis.), F70-75; and Arby Kitzman (Morro Bay, Calif.), M75-79.

For the first time at Age Group Nationals, athletes, their friends and family can follow the action with the USA Triathlon National Events App. The app features athlete tracking, event schedules, selfie filters and more, and is available for free download on iPhone and Android devices. For more information, visit  

Race coverage, including a live video stream, will be available both days at Live coverage is also available on Twitter at @USATLive.

The Omaha community is encouraged to come out to Levi Carter Park, support the competitors and experience the excitement of multisport. Admission is free to all spectators.

Visit for complete event information for the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships. To apply for a media credential, please fill out the USAT National Events Media Credential Request Form or contact Caryn Maconi, USA Triathlon Communications Manager, at or 719-955-2828.

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).