Fillnow, Giuliano Highlight Talented List of 2019 Duathletes of the Year, Presented by Wahoo Fitness

By USA Triathlon | Feb. 25, 2020, 12:26 p.m. (ET)


Men's Overall Age Group Duathlete of the Year, Ryan Giuliano (Oakwood Hills, Ill.). 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced its 2019 Age Group Duathletes of the Year, presented by Wahoo Fitness, featuring some of the most talented run-bike-run athletes in the country as selected by the USA Triathlon Duathlon Committee.

Leading the 2019 honorees are Meghan Fillnow (Charlotte, N.C.) and Ryan Giuliano (Oakwood Hills, Ill.), who were named Overall Women’s and Men’s Age Group Duathletes of the Year, respectively.

Fillnow was the overall women’s champion in the non-drafting sprint race and the overall runner-up in the standard distance at the USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championships in Greenville, South Carolina. She put the cherry on top of a remarkable year when, in December, she broke the tape at the Challenge Daytona Middle Distance Duathlon — besting the entire field of men and women. 

“I am honored to receive this award, and so grateful for my team who continues to support me,” Fillnow said. “I love the day-to-day grind of multisport. I like how it challenges me physically, emotionally and mentally. It keeps me teachable, adaptable and present. I also love how multisport has enabled me to make a great community and see the world.”

Giuliano swept the men’s 35-39 age group at Duathlon Nationals in the non-drafting sprint, draft-legal sprint and standard-distance races, placing third overall in all three events. He was the overall men’s champion at the Apple Duathlon in Sartell, Minnesota, setting a new course record in the process. He went on to earn a 10th place finish at the ITU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Championships in Zofingen, Switzerland.

“I am humbled. There are so many great athletes, and some that are just as or more deserving,” Giuliano said. “It is a great honor and one that I am very excited about.”

For the first time, Duathlete of the Year awards also featured an Open category. This award recognizes the top performers in general age group competition ages 20-39 (vs. a junior, masters or grand masters category). Fillnow and Giuliano also doubled as the Open Age Group Duathletes of the Year.

Cassidy Hickey (Parker, Colo.) and Patton Sims (Sterlington, La.) were each named Junior Duathletes of the Year for the second time in a row. Hickey successfully defended her 2018 women’s overall title in the non-drafting sprint at Duathlon Nationals, and she reached the overall podium for the second straight year in the draft-legal sprint with a runner-up finish. She went on to compete at the ITU Duathlon World Championships in Pontevedra, Spain, placing ninth for junior women.

Sims was the fourth man across the line in the non-drafting sprint at Duathlon Nationals, winning the men’s 15-19 age group in the process. He also claimed an overall title at the Dustbuster Duathlon in his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana.

Masters Duathlete of the Year honors went to Kirsten Sass (Mckenzie, Tenn.), and Nicholas Watson (Grand Rapids, Mich.), with Watson claiming the men’s title for the second year in a row.

Sass toed the line in all three events at Duathlon Nationals, sweeping the women’s 40-44 age group in the process. She performed well in the overall field, finishing third for women in two of the races and fourth in the other. Sass has now reached the overall podium in at least one race at Duathlon Nationals for the last six years.

Watson placed 10th overall and third in the men’s 45-49 age group in the standard-distance race at Duathlon Nationals. At the USA Triathlon Long Course Duathlon National Championships in Miami, he took second overall for men and won his age group. Watson went on to represent Team USA at the ITU Long Distance Duathlon World Championships, earning a silver medal for men 45-49 and finishing 11th in the amateur men’s field.

“This is an amazing honor. I am humbled to be included with the fine athletes who are being recognized by USA Triathlon,” Watson said. “I am extraordinarily fortunate to have a supporting family, excellent health and a career that allows me to train and race.”

Jennifer Rapaport (North Palm Beach, Fla.) was named the Anne Viviani Women’s Grand Masters Duathlete of the Year. Rapaport spent the first half of the year recovering from a December 2018 cycling crash. After undergoing elbow surgery and months of physical therapy, she returned to duathlon competition in the fall. She capped her season on a high note, earning her fourth consecutive overall victory at the 2019 Miami Man Half Iron Duathlon, which served as the USA Triathlon Long Course Duathlon National Championships for the second year in a row.

Greg Pelican (Estero, Fla.) was crowned the men’s Grand Masters Duathlete of the Year. Pelican won the men’s 60-64 age group in the non-drafting sprint at Duathlon Nationals. At Long Course Duathlon Nationals in Miami, he came in third in his age group, placing an impressive 35th in the overall field. Pelican also won his age group in six other USA Triathlon-sanctioned duathlon races across the country in 2019.

Men’s Great Grand Masters Duathlete of the Year honors went to Tony Marshall (Carlsbad, Calif.), while Sharon Gerl (Springfield, Ore.) was named the women's Great Grand Masters Duathlete of the Year. 

Marshall competed in the standard- and draft-legal sprint-distance races at Duathlon Nationals, sweeping the men’s 75-79 age group. He went on to represent Team USA at the ITU Duathlon World Championships in Pontevedra, capturing his third career duathlon world title.

Gerl was honored in the Great Grand Masters category for the second consecutive year. She raced in the non-drafting and draft-legal sprint races at Duathlon Nationals, winning the women’s 70-74 age group in both outings. In addition, she placed ninth in the overall women’s field at the Best in the West Triathlon Festival Olympic-distance duathlon in Sweet Home, Oregon.

“I am totally surprised, extremely honored and humbled,” Gerl said. “I hope I can serve as an inspiration to other senior women — that they see it is possible, fun and rewarding to compete. It’s wonderful how our organization recognizes participants of all ages and talents.”

The 2019 USA Triathlon Age Group Duathletes of the Year and honorable mention selections are as follows:

Men’s Overall Age-Group Duathlete of the Year: Ryan Giuliano (Oakwood Hills, Ill.)
Honorable Mentions: Jeff Wilson (Akron, Ohio), Nicholas Watson (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Tony Marshall (Carlsbad, Calif.)

Women’s Overall Age-Group Duathlete of the Year: Meghan Fillnow (Charlotte, N.C.)
Honorable Mentions: Jennifer Rapaport (North Palm Beach, Fla.), Cassidy Hickey (Parker, Colo.), Kirsten Sass (Mckenzie, Tenn.)

Men’s Open Age-Group Duathlete of the Year: Ryan Giuliano (Oakwood Hills, Ill.)
Honorable Mentions: Jeff Wilson (Akron, Ohio), Alex Arman (Boulder, Colo.), Derek Stone (Nashville, Tenn.)

Women’s Open Age-Group Duathlete of the Year: Meghan Fillnow (Charlotte, N.C.)
Honorable Mentions: Rendy Williams (Irvine, Calif.), Kati Petry (Golden, Colo.), Renee Harrington (Raleigh, N.C.)

Men’s Junior Duathlete of the Year: Patton Sims (Sterlington, La.)
Honorable Mention: John Bazaar (Cheshire, Conn.), Jonathan St. Clair (Boone, N.C.), Axel Mateo (Marietta, Ga.)

Women’s Junior Duathlete of the Year: Cassidy Hickey (Parker, Colo.)
Honorable Mention: Lauren Garriques (Lake Forest, Ill.), Hope Frost (Suffolk, Va.)

Men’s Masters Duathlete of the Year: Nicholas Watson (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
Honorable Mentions: Stephen Eles (Houghton, Mich.), David Engstrom (Beaverton, Ore.), Glen Thompson (Davidson, N.C.), Travis Tindle (Woodstock, Ga.)

Women’s Masters Duathlete of the Year: Kirsten Sass (Mckenzie, Tenn.)
Honorable Mentions: Kristen Hetzel (Santa Monica, Calif.), Vanessa Cook (Lansing, Mich.), Ute Nestler (Plano, Texas), Cynthia Abrami (Santa Barbara, Calif.)

Men’s Grand Masters Duathlete of the Year: Greg Pelican (Estero, Fla.)
Honorable Mentions: Christian Evans (Glen Ellyn, Ill.), Tom Resh (Redlands, Calif.), Steve Wade (Burlington, Wash.), Jim Griffis (The Woodlands, Texas)

Anne Viviani Women’s Grand Masters Duathlete of the Year: Jennifer Rapaport (North Palm Beach, Fla.)
Honorable Mentions: Suzanne Cordes (Alamo, Calif.), Jocelyn Shilling (Saylorsburg, Pa.), Geraldine Lupini (Milford, Mich.), Susan Brooker (Boulder, Colo.)

Men’s Great Grand Masters Duathlete of the Year: Tony Marshall (Carlsbad, Calif.)
Honorable Mentions: Steve Polley (Simi Valley, Calif.), Larry Mayse (Milton, Ga.), Daniel Kirk (Blaine, Minn.)

Anne Viviani Women’s Great Grand Masters Duathlete of the Year: Sharon Gerl (Springfield, Ore.)
Honorable Mentions: Diane Travis (Clermont, Fla.), Anne Mitchell (Bala Cynwyd, Pa.), Cynthia Lucking (Greer, S.C.)

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).