Parker Albright, Drew Shellenberger Earn Youth Olympic Games Spots

By USA Triathlon | July 03, 2018, 4:38 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Standout junior triathletes Maryhelen “Parker” Albright and Drew Shellenberger have been nominated to the 2018 U.S. Youth Olympic Team, pending approval from the United States Olympic Committee. The two up-and-coming athletes qualified on Sunday to represent Team USA in triathlon at the Summer Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, which will take place from Oct. 6-18. 

Albright (Roanoke, Va.) and Shellenberger (Indianapolis, Ind.), both 16, earned their nominations by virtue of their performances at the CAMTRI Triathlon American YOG Qualifier in Salinas, Ecuador, on Sunday. 

Albright was the overall champion in the women’s race, covering the 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run in 1 hour, 1 minute, 40 seconds. She ran her way to the victory with a race-leading 18:17 5k, edging runner-up Sofia Rodriguez Moreno of Mexico by six seconds. Liberty Ricca (Colorado Springs, Colo.) took third overall with a time of 1:02:26.

The men’s race came down to the wire, as the top-three finishers were within eight seconds of each other. Shellenberger made a solo breakaway on the bike and had a 45-second gap on the rest of the field by the second transition. He was caught on the run by Javier Antonio De La Peña Schott of Mexico and Brock Hoel of Canada, but held on for the bronze medal. De La Peña Schott ultimately broke the tape in 57:05, followed by Hoel in 57:08 and Shellenberger in 57:13.

The U.S. contingent had a strong showing in Salinas overall, as all eight U.S. women finished in the top-15 and three U.S. men finished in the top-10.  

As the highest-placing U.S. finishers, Albright and Shellenberger earned the right to represent the U.S. in the third Youth Olympic Games triathlon competition. Athletes in the triathlon events in Buenos Aires will be ages 16-17, and represent National Federations in good standing with the International Triathlon Union.

“I couldn’t be happier for Parker and Drew. Both brought their A-games to Salinas. The competition across the Americas is the best we’ve ever seen, and there was no margin for error,” said Steve Kelley, Junior/U23 Program Manager at USA Triathlon. “Having had the opportunity to get to know Parker and Drew over the past four years through races and camps, I know they will be terrific members of Team USA. The Youth Olympic Games are about the future of sport, and I can’t think of two better young Americans to represent our sport.” 

U.S. triathletes have a history of success at the Youth Olympic Games. Kevin McDowell (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Kelly Whitley (Geneva, Ill.) earned silver and bronze, respectively, in the inaugural Youth Olympic Games triathlon in 2010 in Singapore. In 2014 in Nanjing, China, Stephanie Jenks (Aurora, Iowa) raced to a silver medal. 

Albright and Shellenberger are both decorated triathletes at the youth elite levels. Albright won two consecutive titles at the 2016 and 2017 USA Triathlon Youth Elite National Championships, and finished the 2016 and 2017 seasons atop USA Triathlon’s Youth Elite national rankings.

Shellenberger won the Youth Elite National Championships title in 2017, was the runner-up at that race in 2016, and earned back-to-back wins at the 2017 and 2018 USA Triathlon High School National Championships. He was No. 1 in the 2017 USA Triathlon Youth Elite national rankings. 

Both athletes step up to the junior elite level this year, and they will compete with the nation’s best triathletes ages 16-19 at the USA Triathlon Junior Elite National Championships in West Chester, Ohio, on Aug. 4. 

To learn more about the Summer Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, visit buenosaires2018.com/en.   

2018 Salinas CAMTRI Triathlon American YOG Qualifier 
750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run

Women — Complete Results

1. Maryhelen “Parker” Albright (Roanoke, Va.), 1:01:40
2. Sofia Rodriguez Moreno (MEX), 1:01:46
3. Liberty Ricca (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 1:02:26
4. Paula Vega (ECU), 1:02:32
5. Mercedes Romero Orozco (MEX), 1:02:43

U.S. Finishers
1. Maryhelen “Parker” Albright (Roanoke, Va.), 1:01:40
3. Liberty Ricca (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 1:02:26
8. Paige Horner (Johnston, Iowa), 1:03:21
9. Makena Gates (Canton, Ga.), 1:03:33
10. Molly Elliott (Boise, Idaho), 1:03:39
11. Gillian Cridge (Indianapolis, Ind.), 1:04:13
12. Trinity Schimbeck (St. George, Utah), 1:04:27
15. Abigail Church (Chantilly, Va.), 1:05:04

Men — Complete Results

1. Javier Antonio De La Peña Schott (MEX), 57:05
2. Brock Hoel (CAN), 57:08
3. Drew Shellenberger (Indianapolis, Ind.), 57:13
4. Gabriel Terán Carvajal (ECU), 57:28
5. Cristobal Baeza Muñoz (CHI), 57:44

U.S. Finishers

3. Drew Shellenberger (Indianapolis, Ind.), 57:13
7. Nicholas Holmes (Milwaukee, Wis.), 58:08
10. Jack DeWeerdt (Hoffman Estates, Ill.), 58:45
16. Will Locascio (Denver, Colo.), 59:52
27. Ben DeWeerdt (Hoffman Estates, Ill.), 1:00:48
28. Zach Wilson (Carmel, Ind.), 1:00:50
30. Zach Leachman (Mars, Pa.), 1:00:58
44. Lane Hollis (Dalton, Ga.), 1:04:26

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 events and connects with more than 400,000 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).