Toyota USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships to Draw Thousands of Amateur Athletes to Cleveland

By USA Triathlon | Aug. 07, 2019, 6:20 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Approximately 4,500 of the nation’s top amateur triathletes will return to Cleveland’s Edgewater Park this Saturday, Aug. 10, and Sunday, Aug. 11, for the Toyota USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships. In addition, an open water swim competition will be held as part of Age Group Nationals weekend for the first time on Friday, Aug. 9. 

First held in 1983, Age Group Nationals is USA Triathlon’s largest and longest-running National Championships event. Athletes from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., are set to compete. The youngest athlete on the start list is 15, and the oldest is 90.

Cleveland hosts the event for the second consecutive year, and also hosted in 1992. The main venue is at Edgewater Park. Athletes will swim in Lake Erie, bike and run along the lakeshore overlooking downtown Cleveland, and finish with a sprint down USA Triathlon’s iconic National Championships red carpet within the park. 

Athletes must qualify to compete in Saturday’s Olympic-distance race by earning a competitive age-group finish at a previous USA Triathlon-sanctioned event. No qualification is required for Sunday’s sprint-distance race. Both races will be qualification-based starting in 2020, when Age Group Nationals returns to its 2013-2015 host city of Milwaukee. Athletes racing this weekend in Cleveland have access to special qualification opportunities for 2020; more details can be found here.

Racing action begins Friday at 11 a.m. ET with an open water swim competition, hosted by USA Triathlon in partnership with USA Swimming and U.S. Masters Swimming. Athletes will cover a 750-meter course in Lake Erie. Also on Friday, at 6:30 p.m., Greater Cleveland Sports Commission hosts the Sunset Sprint 5K starting and ending at the USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals finisher’s arch.

On tap for Saturday are the Olympic-Distance National Championships, featuring a 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run. The first wave of athletes will go off at 6:50 a.m., the last wave starts at 9:06 a.m., and the course will close at 11:45 a.m.

On Sunday, racing continues with the Sprint National Championships, in which athletes will cover a 750m swim, 10k bike and 5k run. The first athletes will start at 6:50 a.m., the last wave goes off at 8:20 a.m., and the course closes at 11:45 a.m.

In both races, athletes will be chasing national titles in their respective age groups. Top finishers in each age group will also earn the opportunity to represent Team USA at the 2020 International Triathlon Union (ITU) Age Group Triathlon World Championships in Edmonton, Alberta, in their respective race distances.

At Olympic-Distance Nationals, the top 18 finishers in each age group (rolling down to 30th place) will earn a spot on Team USA. Sprint-distance competitors must finish in the top eight in their age groups to secure a spot for the Sprint World Championships, which will feature a draft-legal format. Athletes may also qualify for the Sprint World Championships with a top finish at the USA Triathlon Draft-Legal Sprint National Championships in Tempe, Arizona, on Nov. 16. For more information on Team USA, comprised of the nation’s top amateur multisport athletes who represent the U.S. at each ITU World Championship event, visit usatriathlon.org/teamusa.

Eighteen national champions from 2018 will be back to defend their Olympic-distance titles, including defending Olympic- and sprint-distance men’s overall champion Justin Lippert (Middletown, N.J.) and defending Olympic-distance women’s overall champion Gabrielle Bunten (Forest Lake, Minn.). The 2018 men’s Olympic-distance Masters champion, Scott Erba (Winona Lake, Ind.), will also be back, as will both the women’s and men’s defending Grand Masters champions, Kelly Dippold (Irvine, Calif.) and Tony Schiller (Eden Prairie, Minn.). 

Returning Olympic-Distance National Champions
Name (Hometown), 2019 Age Group

Abbie Sullivan (Canandaigua, N.Y.), F20-24
Justin Lippert (Middletown, N.J.), M20-24
Gabrielle Bunten (Forest Lake, Minn.), F25-29
Todd Buckingham (Big Rapids, Mich.), M30-34
Laura McDonald (Castle Rock, Colo.), F35-39
Michael Phinney (Yardley, Pa.), M35-39
Tracy Kellner (Mequon, Wis.), F45-49
Tim Hola (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), M45-49
Scott Erba (Winona Lake, Ind.), M50-54
Stephen Bosic (Walthum, Mass.), M50-54
Linda Robb (Juno Beach, Fla.), F55-59
Kelly Dippold (Irvine, Calif.), F55-59
Lee Walther (Oklahoma City, Okla.), M55-59
Carol Gephart (Hamilton, Mich.), F60-64
Tony Schiller (Eden Prairie, Minn.), M60-64
Sibyl Jacobson (New York, N.Y.), F75-79
Robert Plant (Woodside, Calif.), M75-79
Don Nelson (Tulsa, Okla.), M80-84

In addition,19 of last year’s sprint-distance national champions will return to the start line, including Lippert. Both the women’s and men’s defending Masters champions, Ginger Reiner (Lincoln, Mass.) and Vachee Loughran (Glenview, Ill.), are back to defend their titles, as are both of last year’s Grand Masters champions, Dippold and Ron Gierut (Cedar Rapids, Iowa). 

Returning Sprint-Distance National Champions
Name (Hometown), 2019 Age Group

Cassidy Hickey (Parker, Colo.), F15-19
Justin Lippert (Middletown, N.J.), M20-24
Desiree Terella (Fairview, Pa.), F30-34
Todd Buckingham (Big Rapids, Mich.), M30-34
Kirsten Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.), F40-44
Ginger Reiner (Lincoln, Mass.), F40-44
Jonathan Mason (Fort Collins, Colo.), M40-44
Celia Dubey (Tarpon Springs, Fla.), F45-49
Vachee Loughran (Glenview, Ill.), M45-49
Robert Skaggs (Solana Beach, Calif.), M50-54
Kelly Dippold (Irvine, Calif.), F55-59
Clint Dowd (Goffstown, N.H.), M55-59
Ron Gierut (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), M60-64
Kathy Calabretta (Ludington, Mich.), F70-74
Terry Habecker (Ithaca, N.Y.), M70-74
Lois Leon (Miami, Fla.), F75-79
Sharon Roggenbuck (Hillsborough, N.C.), F80-84
Madonna Buder (Spokane, Wash.), F85-89
Wayne Fong (Chatsworth, Calif.), M85-89

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

LIVESTREAM AND EVENTS APP: Spectators and media can access a free livestream of both races at usatriathlon.org. Live coverage will also be available on Twitter @USATLive. Race leaderboards and individual athlete tracking can be found by using the USA Triathlon Events App, free to download on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Media, family and friends can also track athletes using a web-browser-based version of the app, available here.

ROAD CLOSURES: Select roads will be closed on race days for athlete safety. Click here (west side) and here (east side) for a complete list of all road closures, times and suggested detours.

PARKING: Media parking is available onsite at Edgewater Park, but parking passes must be reserved in advance via the USA Triathlon National Events Media Credential Request Form. All members of the media must arrive to the parking lot by 6:15 a.m. on race days. Media arriving after 5 a.m. must enter the venue via Detroit Ave. and West 73rd St. due to road closures on Cleveland Memorial Shoreway. Exit from the parking lot is not guaranteed until 11:45 a.m. Sunday and 10:45 a.m. Saturday, as the venue is surrounded by a live race course. Additional parking options, which include free shuttles from multiple downtown locations, can be found here.

Visit usatriathlon.org/agnc2019 for complete event information, schedule and course maps for the Toyota USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships.

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 at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors — as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation — 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 & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).