Sixteen Champions Crowned at USA Triathlon Ultra-Distance National Championships

By USA Triathlon | Sept. 23, 2018, 11:01 a.m. (ET)

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Seth Cooke and Gina Hendrickson were crowned overall champions as 16 athletes earned age-group titles at the USA Triathlon Ultra-Distance National Championships in Oklahoma City on Saturday. The race was held in conjunction with the Redman Triathlon at Lake Hefner.

Nearly 2.5 inches of rain fell the day before, making for unseasonably cool weather and great conditions for the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run. 

For the first time, Ultra-Distance Nationals served as a Team USA qualifier. Top finishers in each age group earned the opportunity to represent the U.S. at the 2019 ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships, part of the ITU Multisport World Championships from April 27-May 4 in Pontevedra, Spain.

Cooke (Tyler, Texas) broke the tape in 9 hours, 12 minutes, 4 seconds to take the men’s overall title for the second consecutive year.

“This was the coolest, nicest race we’ve been to,” Cooke, who also won the men’s 35-39 age group, said. “I know there was rain yesterday but it just made for an awesome race today. A little windy, but I’ll take wind and cool.”

Daniel Chapman (Edmond, Okla.) was the second overall male in 10:18:46, winning the men’s 50-54 age group. Scott Swaney (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) rounded out the podium in 10:19:35 to take second for 50-54-year-old men. 

In addition to Cooke, several men returned to Oklahoma City to capture an age group title for the second straight year. John Hunsaker (Burlington, Iowa) won the men’s 50-54 age group in 2017 and the 55-59 age group this year with a time of 12:15:53, while Steve Bussjaeger (Oklahoma City, Okla.) won the men’s 65-69 age group for the second year in a row in 15:09:31. Bussjaeger’s 2017 national title also marked his first ultra-distance triathlon.

In the women’s race, Hendrickson (Edmond, Okla.) won the overall championship and women’s 40-44 title in 10 hours, 50 minutes and 58 seconds.

“It was nice and flat, nice and smooth,” Hendrickson said. “Good roads. I’ve done a lot of hilly races so the flat was nice. The volunteers were awesome. They were amazing. It was all put together really well. It was a great day.”

Penny Whelchel (Arkadelphia, Ark.) crossed the line in second place in 11:34:57 to win the women’s 35-39 age group. Third place went and the went to Paige Vanderpool (Colorado Springs, Colo.) in 11:39:51.

In total, 63 triathletes crossed the finish line at Lake Hefner.

2018 USA Triathlon Ultra-Distance National Championships
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run

National Champions — Complete Results


Male Overall:
Seth Cooke (Tyler, Texas), 9:12:04
Female Overall: Gina Hendrickson (Edmond, Okla.), 10:50:58
M20-24: Jeff Burnett (Enid, Okla.), 11:06:42
F20-24: Paige Vanderpool (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 11:39:51
M25-29: Casey Dillard (Fort Smith, Ark.), 11:50:42
F25-29: Madison Jackson (Oklahoma City, Okla.), 11:58:41
M30-34: Jeremy Baldwin (Edmond, Okla.), 10:58:41
F30-34: Jessica Leal (Edmond, Okla.), 11:49:21
M35-39: Seth Cooke (Tyler, Texas), 9:12:04
F35-39: Penny Whelchel (Arkadelphia, Ark.), 11:34:57
M40-44: Ken Logan (Lincoln, Neb.), 11:15:31
F40-44: Gina Hendrickson (Edmond, Okla.), 10:50:58
M45-49: Casey McDaniel (Windsor, Colo.), 13:24:14
M50-54: Daniel Chapman (Edmond, Okla.), 10:18:46
F50-54: Susan Watts (Benton, La.), 15:16:31
M55-59: John Hunsaker (Burlington, Iowa), 12:15:53
M60-64: Bruce Daniels (Hamburg, Iowa), 13:22:05
M65-69: Steve Bussjaeger (Oklahoma City, Okla.), 15:09:31

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).