Junior, Under-23 Triathlon World Titles on the Line in Lausanne

By USA Triathlon | Aug. 26, 2019, 2:26 p.m. (ET)

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — The best rising triathlon talents from around the globe will compete for individual world titles on Friday, Aug. 30, and a mixed relay title on Sunday, Sept. 1, as part of the ITU Junior and Under-23 Triathlon World Championships, where eight young Americans are set to compete. 

Junior athletes kick off the action, with junior women racing across a sprint-distance 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run course at 8 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET), followed by the junior men racing on the same course at 10 a.m. local time (4 a.m. ET). 

Then the U23 athletes take to the course for an Olympic-distance 1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run competition, with the U23 women set to start at 12 p.m. local time (6 a.m. ET) and the U23 men rounding out the day’s races at 3 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET). 

Select U23 and junior competitors will comprise the four-member teams during Sunday’s mixed relay event, which is set for 6 p.m. local time (12 p.m. ET). Teams are comprised of two women and two men from the same country, with each athlete completing a 300m swim, 4.8k bike and 800m run before tagging the next teammate. The fast-paced, spectator-friendly discipline has become a staple in international competition and will debut as a medal event at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. 

Teams from 24 countries are set to compete, and the U.S. is seeded third behind France and Australia. Start lists with complete athlete rosters will be posted to triathlon.org the evening before the race.

All U23 and junior races, including the relay, will be broadcast live at triathlonlive.tv, with subscriptions available for purchase. Fans can also follow the action live on Twitter at @TriathlonLive.

The U.S. junior squad is led by Gillian Cridge (Indianapolis, Ind.), who has earned back-to-back USA Triathlon junior elite national titles over the past two seasons. She competed for the U.S. at last year’s Junior Worlds in Gold Coast, Australia, where she finished 29th. Cridge, also the 2018 USA Triathlon high school national champion, had her best result on the international circuit earlier this year when she finished third at a CAMTRI Triathlon Junior American Cup in Sarasota, Florida. She also won two junior elite cups this season to earn the No. 1 spot on the USA Triathlon Junior Elite National Rankings leaderboard.

Joining Cridge is Liberty Ricca (Colorado Springs, Colo.), who finished third at Junior Elite Nationals earlier this month and is making her debut on the world championship team. Ricca sits at No. 2 in the national rankings, having earned podium finishes at the Flatlands and Pleasant Prairie Junior Elite Cups this season. 

Luis Ortiz (Orlando, Fla.) and Drew Shellenberger (Indianapolis, Ind.) will be representing the U.S. for the junior men’s competition. Ortiz claimed victory against an international field earlier this year at the Sarasota CAMTRI Triathlon Junior American Cup, and also finished on the podium at the Flatlands Junior Elite Cup. The runner-up at the 2018 USA Triathlon Junior Elite National Championships, Ortiz competed at junior worlds last year, finishing 49th. He narrowly missed a podium spot at nationals this year, finishing fourth. 

Shellenberger is a three-time high school national champion and was the runner-up at this year’s Junior Elite National Championships. He holds the No. 1 ranking among American junior elite men, having won three consecutive junior elite cups this season. Like Ricca, he is also making his world championships debut in Lausanne. Shellenberger does have experience with major international competitions though, having competed and placed seventh at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

Erika Ackerlund (Missoula, Mont.) is the sole American woman competing in the U23 race, with 2018 champion Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.) and 2017 champion Tamara Gorman (Rapid City, S.D.) set to compete in the elite women’s event on Saturday instead. Ackerlund is no stranger to the world championship scene, having finished fifth last year in Gold Coast. She has earned two podium finishes this year, finishing second at the Sarasota-Bradenton CAMTRI Sprint Triathlon American Cup in March and second at the Monterrey CAMTRI Triathlon American Championships in May, where she was also the top U23 finisher. She also finished in the top 20 at ITU World Cup races in Cagliari, Italy, and Tiszaujvaros, Hungary, this season.

Seth Rider (Germantown, Tenn.) also returns to U23 Worlds competition after finishing 25th last year. Rider’s best individual result of the season was fifth at the Chengdu ITU Triathlon World Cup in May. He also recorded an 11th-place result at an ITU World Cup in Madrid that same month and finished 12th at the ITU World Triathlon Series stop in Montreal in July. Most recently, Rider helped the U.S. mixed relay team to back-to-back bronze medals in Edmonton and Tokyo. 

Joining Rider in the U23 event are Austin Hindman (Wildwood, Mo.) and Darr Smith (Atlanta, Ga.). Hindman, the 2016 junior world champion, most recently competed at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, where he finished 12th in the individual event and fourth in the mixed relay. He also raced to top-10 results at ITU Continental Cup events in Sarasota, Florida, where he was eighth, and Montreal, where he finished sixth.

Smith opened his 2019 season with a silver medal at the Richmond CAMTRI Sprint Triathlon American Cup in May, before finishing 18th at an ITU World Cup stop in Huatulco, Mexico, in June. He recently finished eighth at the Magog CAMTRI Sprint Triathlon American Cup in mid-July. Smith will be competing on a worlds team for the first time as a U23 competitor after finishing 19th as a junior in 2017. 

For complete start lists for all races, visit triathlon.org.

The ITU Junior and U23 Triathlon World Championships are part of the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final taking place in Lausanne from Aug. 29-Sept. 1. The Grand Final marks the culmination of the ITU World Triathlon Series by crowning the men’s and women’s elite world champions, while also featuring world championship events for U23s, juniors, elite paratriathletes and age-group athletes. Visit usatriathlon.org for coverage of U.S. competitors in all races.

Complete event schedules, course maps and other event details for the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final are available at lausanne.triathlon.org.

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).