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Buckingham, Philippi-Taylor Highlight 2018 Age-Group Duathletes of the Year

By USA Triathlon | March 05, 2019, 11:35 a.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced its 2018 Age-Group Duathletes of the Year, featuring some of the most talented run-bike-run athletes in the country as selected by the USA Triathlon Duathlon Committee.

Leading the 2018 roster are Todd Buckingham (Big Rapids, Mich.) and Aimee Philippi-Taylor (Glenville, Pa.), who were named overall Men’s and Women’s Age-Group Duathletes of the Year, respectively. 

Buckingham had three strong performances at the 2018 USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championships in Greenville, South Carolina, which featured draft-legal sprint, non-drafting sprint, and non-drafting standard-distance races. He took the men’s overall victory in the draft-legal sprint, finished third overall and second in his age group (M25-29) in the standard-distance, and placed third in his age group and eighth overall in the non-drafting sprint.  

“It’s humbling to be mentioned alongside these other great multisport athletes,” Buckingham said. “But honestly, the award isn’t just mine. I have so many people helping and pushing me to be better. My coach, my family, my teammates and my friends have all played a role in helping me reach this point in my multisport career. So, the award should really be dedicated to them.” 

Philippi-Taylor had a standout 2018 that included a women’s overall victory in the standard-distance race at Duathlon Nationals, an overall win at the Delaware Valley Duathlon in Quakertown, Pennsylvania, and an overall runner-up finish at the Hagerstown Duathlon in Hagerstown, Maryland. Philippi-Taylor was also named women’s Masters Duathlete of the Year.

“I am surprised and honored to be included in this great bunch of talented, hardworking athletes,” Philippi-Taylor said. “Multisport gave me a venue to continue competing when I could no longer run full-time, which was a lifesaver. I love the camaraderie and welcoming nature of duathlon and triathlon. It might look intimidating on the outside, but once you start talking to people, you realize everyone has been a new duathlete or triathlete at some point. I love that there is always a challenge and something you can work or improve on, which keeps me coming back.”

Claiming Junior Duathlete of the Year titles were Patton Sims (Sterlington, La.) and Cassidy Hickey (Parker, Colo.). Sims claimed the overall runner-up spot at Duathlon Nationals in the non-drafting sprint, grabbing an age-group (M18-19) national title in the process. He went on to compete at the ITU Age Group Sprint Duathlon World Championships in Fyn, Denmark, winning his age group and placing 15th overall as the top American. He also set the course record at the Dustbuster Duathlon in Shreveport, Louisiana, en route to an overall victory there.

Hickey grabbed two overall podiums at Duathlon Nationals, breaking the tape as the women’s champion in the non-drafting sprint and taking third in the draft-legal sprint. She also reached the overall podium at the USA Triathlon High School National Championships in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the USA Triathlon Age Group Sprint National Championships in Cleveland, and USA Triathlon Age Group Draft-Legal Sprint National Championships in Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida. 

“My first duathlon ever was at Nationals, and it was a surreal experience,” Hickey said. “The crowd and community were very welcoming, and I enjoyed the different format of multisport racing. It was a new challenge to conquer.”

Masters Duathlete of the Year honors went to Philippi-Taylor and Nicholas Watson (Grand Rapids, Mich.). Watson earned age-group (M40-44) national titles in two duathlon distances in 2018: standard and long course. At Long Course Nationals, held in Miami as part of the USA Triathlon Multisport National Championships, Watson cracked the overall podium as the third-place finisher. He also competed at the ITU Age Group Long Distance Duathlon World Championships in Zofingen, Switzerland, placing 29th overall as the top U.S. athlete. 

David Burkhart (Brighton, Mich.) was dubbed the men’s Grand Masters Athlete of the Year. Burkhart won his age group (M60-64) at Duathlon Nationals in Greenville in two distances, standard and draft-legal sprint. He also placed top-50 overall in both events. 

Kirsten Chapman (Edmond, Okla.) was named the Anne Viviani Grand Masters Female Duathlete of the Year in honor of Team USA duathlete Anne Viviani, who passed away last year. Chapman claimed age-group (F55-59) national titles in both standard- and long-distance duathlon this year, highlighted by a sixth-place overall finish at Long Course Nationals in Miami.

New in 2018, the Duathlete of the Year awards featured a Great Grand Masters category for men over 70 years old and women over 65 years old. David Lowe (West Chester, Pa.) earned the men’s Great Grand Masters Duathlete of the Year title. Lowe’s 2018 resume included a men’s 70-74 standard-distance duathlon national title, a bronze at the ITU Age Group Standard-Distance Duathlon World Championships in Fyn, and a fourth-place finish at the ITU Age Group Long Distance Duathlon World Championships in Zofingen.

Sharon Gerl (Springfield, Ore.) was named women’s Great Grand Masters Duathlete of the Year. Gerl had a strong start to her season, winning the 70-74 age group at Duathlon Nationals in both the standard- and draft-legal sprint distances. She went on to claim a gold medal in her age group at the ITU Age Group Standard-Distance Duathlon World Championships.

“It was an honor to represent the U.S. (in Fyn, Denmark), to share the camaraderie of Team USA, and compete against the best in the world,” Gerl said. “Multisport has been a way of life for me for over 35 years. The cross-training has made it possible for me to keep doing what I love — running, biking, swimming and more. I believe it’s kept me certainly mentally, but even physically, younger.”

The 2018 USA Triathlon Age-Group Duathletes of the Year and honorable mention selections are as follows: 

Men’s Overall Age-Group Duathlete of the Year: Todd Buckingham (Big Rapids, Mich.)
Honorable Mentions: Keith Jackson (Loveland, Colo.), Nicholas Marcantonio (Glens Falls, N.Y.)

Women’s Overall Age-Group Duathlete of the Year: Aimee Philippi-Taylor (Glenville, Pa.)
Honorable Mentions: Makena Gates (Canton, Ga.), Cassidy Hickey (Parker, Colo.), Kirsten Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.)

Men’s Junior Duathlete of the Year: Patton Sims (Sterlington, La.)
Honorable Mention: Jared Eytcheson (Cary, N.C.), Axel Mateo (Marietta, Ga.), Oliver Porter (Asheville, N.C.)

Women’s Junior Duathlete of the Year:
Cassidy Hickey (Parker, Colo.)
Honorable Mention: Makena Gates (Canton, Ga.), Rebecca Kefer (Kernersville, N.C.), Lauren Garriques (Lake Forest, Ill.)

Men’s Masters Duathlete of the Year: Nicholas Watson (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
Honorable Mentions: Stefano Profumo (Santa Cruz, Calif.), James Duff (Carrboro, N.C.), Kevin Konczak (Boulder, Colo.)

Women’s Masters Duathlete of the Year: Aimee Philippi-Taylor (Glenville, Pa.)
Honorable Mentions: Melisa Christian (Dallas, Texas), Jennifer Rapaport (North Palm Beach, Fla.), Cynthia Abrami (Santa Barbara, Calif.)

Men’s Grand Masters Duathlete of the Year:
David Burkhart (Brighton, Mich.)
Honorable Mentions: Steven Obenhaus (Overland Park, Kan.), Christian Evans (Glen Ellyn, Ill.), David Furey (Ann Arbor, Mich.)

Women’s Grand Masters Duathlete of the Year: Kirsten Chapman (Edmond, Okla.)
Honorable Mentions: Jocelyn Shilling (Saylorsburg, Pa.), Valerie Eipper (Longmont, Colo.), Jodie Bolt (Lakewood, Wash.)

Men’s Great Grand Masters Duathlete of the Year: David Lowe (West Chester, Pa.)
Honorable Mention: Larry Mayse (Milton, Ga.), Wolf Hillesheim (El Sobrante, Calif.), Fred Strong (Dayton, Ohio)

Women’s Great Grand Masters Duathlete of the Year: Sharon Gerl (Springfield, Ore.)
Honorable Mention: Phyllis Yester (Golden, Colo.), Vicki McCloskey (Henniker, N.H.), Sandy Meneley (Holmes Beach, Fla.)

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 Committee (USOC).