SARASOTA, Fla. — U.S. paratriathletes earned nine medals, including four golds, at the Sarasota-Bradenton ITU Paratriathlon World Cup held at Nathan Benderson Park on Sunday.
The race, which was shifted from a triathlon to a duathlon (run-bike-run) format due to high algae content in the lake at Nathan Benderson Park, featured a 2.5-kilometer run, 18.3-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run.
The U.S. effort was led by gold medalists Ahalya Lettenberger (Glen Ellyn, Ill., PTWC), Amy Dixon (Encinitas, Calif., PTVI), Andrea Walton (Washington, D.C., PTS4) and Ruth-Ann Reeves (Hattiesburg, Miss., PTS5).
Lettenberger’s gold medal marked her first podium in international competition after placing fourth at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, last month. She completed Sunday’s course in 1 hour, 19 minutes, 15 seconds.
Walton and Reeves, who have each medaled at ITU World Paratriathlon events in the past, added World Cup medals to their resumes for the first time. Reeves crossed the line in 1:22:44 for the women’s PTS5 win, and Walton came through in 1:26:28 to take the women’s PTS4 victory.
Dixon earned her second World Cup win of the year in 1:22:44, adding to her medal haul in a season that also included a bronze at ITU World Paratriathlon Edmonton in March. Ashley Eisenmenger (Tolono, Ill.) also podiumed in the women’s PTVI division, taking second with a time of 1:26:01.
Melissa Stockwell (Chicago, Ill., PTS2), a bronze medalist last year at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, took silver in her first triathlon since giving birth to her daughter, Millie, in August.
“I’ve only been able to train for about three weeks since having my baby, so I was out here on the course just happy to be back,” Stockwell, who completed the course in 1:46:20, said. “Trying come back after Millie, I have to start somewhere. I smiled more than usual out there. Hopefully this is the start of progressively getting faster over the next year.”
Allan Armstrong (Colorado Springs, Colo.) took silver in the men’s PTS2 division in 1:13:01, relishing the opportunity to represent the red, white and blue on home soil. Armstrong is a member of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program, who mission is to support nationally and internationally ranked soldiers in the Olympic and Paralympic pipelines.
“It’s a great opportunity to represent the Army as a soldier, but also represent the United States here in another way,” Armstrong said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I can’t thank the Army enough, and I can’t thank USA Triathlon enough for supporting me and helping me to get where I am now. I’m going to keep pressing forward.”
Adam Popp (Arlington, Va.) also reached the podium in the men’s PTS2 division, taking bronze in 1:16:08. Brandon Adame (Houston, Texas) collected bronze for the PTVI men in 1:20:13.
The ITU Paratriathlon World Cup will return to Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota alongside an ITU Triathlon World Cup next October. Both World Cup circuits will also make a stop in New Orleans in April.
“Every ITU race is both a challenge and a feat. You feel like you really did something great,” Walton said. “It’s always exciting to have these big races in the U.S. because we get all this support. There were people cheering for me, and I don’t know who they are, but they were just excited to see the USA race kit.”
The ITU Paratriathlon World Cup was part of the larger Sarasota-Bradenton Triathlon Festival, which also featured an ITU Triathlon World Cup for elite men and women, a Women’s Collegiate East Regional Qualifier, an Age Group Draft-Legal World Qualifier and an Age Group Open Sprint Triathlon. For complete event information, results and recaps from the Sarasota-Bradenton Triathlon Festival, visit usatriathlon.org/2017sbtrifest.
ITU Paratriathlon World Cup (course changed to duathlon)
2.5k run, 18.3k bike, 5k run
5. Zach Young (Jackson, Mo.), 1:08:36
7. Nathan DeWalt (Tampa, Fla.), 1:13:50
1. Ahalya Lettenberger (Glen Ellyn, Ill.), 1:19:15
2. Allan Armstrong (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 1:13:01
3. Adam Popp (Arlington, Va.), 1:16:08
4. Maikol Monsalve (Miami, Fla.), 2:03:32
2. Melissa Stockwell (Chicago, Ill.), 1:46:20
6. Craig Vogtsberger (Aurora, Colo.), 1:16:36
1. Andrea Walton (Washington, D.C.), 1:26:28
1. Ruth-Ann Reeves (Hattiesburg, Miss.), 1:22:44
3. Brandon Adame (Houston, Texas), 1:20:13
1. Amy Dixon (Encinitas, Calif.), 1:20:44
2. Ashley Eisenmenger (Tolono, Ill.), 1:26:01
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).