MINNEAPOLIS — Twenty athletes earned age-group national titles Sunday at the USA Triathlon Winter Triathlon National Championships, held as part of the Loppet Foundation’s Loppet Winter Triathlon at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis. Jan Guenther (Long Lake, Minn.) and Joel LaFrance (Plymouth, Minn.) led the way, claiming the overall women’s and men’s national titles respectively.
Athletes enjoyed temperatures in the upper 20s with light snow as they covered a 6-kilometer Nordic ski, 18-kilometer mountain bike and 5-kilometer trail run through the Theodore Wirth trail system. Winter triathlon is typically held as a run-bike-ski, but order of disciplines was reversed for 2019 to ensure best-possible snow conditions by holding the ski portion earlier in the day.
Guenther, 60, was the women’s overall champion in 2016 and 2017 and earned the runner-up spot in 2018. She covered the course Sunday in 1 hour, 45 minutes, 38 seconds, more than 10 minutes ahead of her closest competitor.
Minneapolis native Andrea Tremaine, 32, placed second for women in 1:57:28. Rounding out the overall podium was 40-year-old Tara Makinen (Grand Rapids, Minn.) in 2:00:05. Each of the overall medalists also earned national titles in their respective age groups.
Guenther said she enjoyed the reversed order of Sunday’s race.
“This is the best course of all,” Guenther said of the first-time Winter Nationals host venue. “The skiing was a real element of it this year, and it was very fun. This is a nice bike, because you don’t have to be really technical, you just have to put your head down. The conditions were fantastic — absolutely ideal, with a little bit of snow.”
LaFrance won the overall men’s title in 2016 and was the runner-up in 2017. After not competing at Nationals in 2018, the 39-year-old returned to the top of the podium Sunday as the men’s champion with a time of 1:21:22. Jacob Keehan (Maple Grove, Minn.), 31, was the overall runner-up for the second straight year with in a time of 1:24:40. Somer Schrock (Cohasset, Minn.), 23, crossed the line third overall in 1:27:55. LaFrance, Keehan and Schrock also claimed national titles in their respective age groups.
“It was great,” LaFrance, 39, said. “The snow didn’t start until we got on the bikes, so that was kind of nice. It kept the ski really super-fast, and it was kind of just sugar ice. It was a quick course, and a safe course too. More or less a course where you’re just going out there and pushing hard. You really can’t ask for any better conditions than this.”
Top finishers in each age group earned the opportunity to represent Team USA at the 2020 ITU Winter Triathlon World Championships, the dates and location of which are to be determined. To learn more about Team USA, comprised of the nation’s top amateur multisport athletes who represent the U.S. in ITU Age Group World Championship competition, visit usatriathlon.org/teamusa.
Sunday’s race marked the first stop on USA Triathlon’s 2019 National Championships calendar. Next up will be the Collegiate Club and High School, set for April 5-6 in Tempe, Arizona.
2019 USA Triathlon Winter Triathlon National Championships
National Champions — Complete Results
Female Overall: Jan Guenther (Long Lake, Minn.), 1:45:38
Male Overall: Joel LaFrance (Plymouth, Minn.), 1:21:22
F20-24: Kaitlyn Lindaman (Minneapolis, Minn.), 2:44:04
M20-24: Somer Schrock (Cohasset, Minn.), 1:27:55
M25-29: Nathan Foster (St. Paul, Minn.), 1:39:58
F30-34: Andrea Tremaine (Minneapolis, Minn.), 1:57:28
M30-34: Jacob Keehan (Maple Grove, Minn.), 1:24:40
F35-39: Amanda Meredith-Dunlop (Rapid City, S.D.), 2:15:37
M35-39: Joel LaFrance (Plymouth, Minn.), 1:21:22
F40-44: Tara Makinen (Grand Rapids, Minn.), 2:00:05
M40-44: Kyle Rooney (Minnetonka, Minn.), 1:54:23
F45-49: Vanda Pistol Edmondson (Cyril, Okla.), 3:58:08
M45-49: Chip Berniard (St. Paul, Minn.), 2:03:27
F50-54: Karen Bebchuk (St. Louis Park, Minn.), 2:00:17
M50-54: Christian Otto (Scarsdale, N.Y.), 1:37:18
F55-59: Sheryl Leonard-Schneck (Wauwatosa, Wis.), 2:28:21
M55-59: Brent Peacock (Jackson, Wy.), 1:33:19
F60-64: Jan Guenther (Long Lake, Minn.), 1:45:38
M60-64: Fred Scheer (Hayward, Wis.), 1:41:59
F65-69: Sheri Schrock (Cohasset, Minn.), 2:18:05
M65-69: John Garrett (Hayward, Wis.), 2:06:16
M70-74: John Pierce (Westwood Hills, Kan.), 2:36:19
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).