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Age Group Athletes Claim Team USA Spots at Draft-Legal World Qualifier in Sarasota

By USA Triathlon | Oct. 07, 2017, 5:35 a.m. (ET)

SARASOTA, Florida — U.S. amateur athletes competed on a run-bike-run course at the USA Triathlon Age Group Draft-Legal World Qualifier at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota on Saturday morning, kicking off a busy weekend of racing at the Sarasota-Bradenton Triathlon Festival.

Saturday’s race covered a 2.5-kilometer run, draft-legal 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run. The course was shifted from a triathlon to a duathlon (run-bike-run) after algae levels in the lake due to recent weather conditions forced a cancellation of the swim leg. 

More than 200 athletes crossed the finish line, and 27 earned victories in their respective age groups. The top finishers in each age group at the World Qualifier earned the opportunity to represent Team USA at the 2018 ITU Age Group Sprint Triathlon World Championships, a draft-legal race which will be held in Gold Coast, Australia, from Sept. 12-16. 

For more information about Team USA, made up of the nation’s top multisport athletes who represent the U.S. at ITU World Championship events, visit

The draft-legal format, which encourages athletes to ride in tight packs and work together on the bike course, is similar to the elite style of racing and still relatively uncommon in age-group competitions. 

In the men’s race, Luis Ortiz (Orlando, Fla.) was the first across the line, earning the men’s 15-19 age-group victory in the process with a finishing time of 53 minutes, 56 seconds. Ortiz has had a standout 2017 season, finishing second overall at the USA Triathlon High School National Championships in March and seventh overall at Junior Elite Nationals in August.

“I knew I had to be strategic on the first run so that I could make it into the pack and have a draft on the bike,” Ortiz said. “Then I took off on the second run, since the run is my strongest leg. It’s fun to race with people in different age groups who I don’t normally compete with at the Junior Elite races, because I don’t know what their strengths are.”

Amy Cymerman (Colorado Springs, Colo.) was the first female athlete across the line in 1:00:53, but is ineligible for age-group awards as an elite. Brooke Kessler (Harpers Ferry, Va.), took home the overall title and the women’s 30-34 age group crown with a time of 1:03:04.

“It’s definitely different to race draft-legal, but it’s fun different,” Kessler said. “The communication when you’re out on the bike is the most different part — when you have that communication and camaraderie with everyone, it makes it more of a team atmosphere. It’s a different mindset than just kind of being out there by yourself and trudging forward.”

Saturday’s racing at the Sarasota-Bradenton Triathlon Festival also included the women’s elite ITU World Cup the Women’s Collegiate East Regional Qualifier.

On Sunday, athletes of all ages and ability levels will compete in the Age Group Open Sprint, which features a 2.5k run, non-drafting 20k bike and 5k run. The race, which was offered free of charge to support the Florida triathlon community after Hurricane Irma, is set for 7:10 a.m. ET. 

The ITU Paratriathlon World Cup is set for 10 a.m. ET on Sunday, and capping off the day will be the men’s elite ITU World Cup at 2:30 p.m. ET.

For compete event information for the Sarasota-Bradenton Triathlon Festival, visit

USA Triathlon Age Group Draft-Legal World Qualifier
2.5k run, 20k bike, 5k run
Age Group Champions — Complete Results

Lauren Garriques (Lake Forest, Ill.), 1:04:59
M15-19: Luis Ortiz (Orlando, Fla.), 53:56
F20-24: Fiona Beltram (Chepachet, R.I.), 1:08:28
M20-24: Alfred Chan (Saint Charles, Mo.), 54:40
F25-29: Morgan Davis (Commerce, Texas), 1:05:41
M25-29: Armando Abaunza (Tallahassee, Fla.), 56:04
F30-34: Brooke Kessler (Harpers Ferry, Va.), 1:03:04
M30-34: Tyler Wallace (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), 1:00:05
F35-39: Yelena Maloney (Tampa, Fla.), 1:06:55
M35-39: Nat Glackin (St. Petersburg, Fla.), 57:15
F40-44: Heather Knapp (Gladstone, Ore.), 1:11:31
M40-44: Jon Noland (Tampa, Fla.), 56:53
F45-49: Rachel Chambers (Sarasota, Fla.), 1:07:09
M45-49: John Sillery (Chattanooga, Tenn.), 57:19
F50-54: Michelle Tuttle (Columbia, Md.), 1:10:51
M50-54: Charles Trujillo (Golden, Colo.), 59:12
F55-59: Rebecca Smith (West Chester, Pa.), 1:10:01
M55-59: Rodolfo Galvao (Celebration, Fla.), 1:00:37
F60-64: Catherine Beal (St. Louis, Mo.), 1:26:57
M60-64: Robert Webster (Pryor, Okla.), 1:06:35
F65-69: Laurita Samuels (Fort Pierce, Fla.), 1:28:32
M65-69: Jonathan Reik (Farmington, Conn.), 1:08:46
F70-74: Jo Schmidt (Albuquerque, N.M.), 1:51:44
M70-74: Jack Missett (Carlsbad, Calif.), 1:24:23
M75-79: Donald Ardell (Gulfport, Fla.), 1:30:17

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).