USA Triathlon News Articles LaFrance, Guenther D...

LaFrance, Guenther Defend Overall Titles at Winter Triathlon National Championships

By USA Triathlon | March 01, 2020, 3:12 p.m. (ET)

MINNEAPOLIS — Joel LaFrance (Plymouth, Minn.) and Jan Guenther (Long Lake, Minn.) successfully defended their overall national titles Sunday at the USA Triathlon Winter Triathlon National Championships, as 23 athletes earned victories in their age groups. The run-bike-ski competition served as the official kickoff to USA Triathlon’s 2020 National Championships calendar.

The race was held as part of the Loppet Foundation’s Loppet Winter Triathlon at Theodore Wirth Park for the second consecutive year. Athletes covered a 6-kilometer cross-country ski, followed by an 18-kilometer mountain bike and 5-kilometer trail run through the Theodore Wirth trail system. 

LaFrance became the back-to-back men’s overall national champion with a time of 1 hour, 7 minutes, 16 seconds. The 40-year-old Minnesotan is a regular on the Winter Triathlon Nationals podium, having also won the overall title in 2016 and earning the runner-up spot in 2017. Jacob Keehan (Maple Grove, Minn.), 32, was the men’s runner-up for the third straight year in 1:09:36, while Dmitry Chernov (Seattle, Wash.), 30, rounded out the overall podium in 1:11:18. In addition to their overall podium finishes, LaFrance and Keehan also earned national titles in their respective age groups. 

Guenther, 61, earned her second straight overall victory in the women’s field with a time of 1:28:21. One of the nation’s leading winter triathletes, Guenther also claimed the overall title in 2016 and 2017, and was the runner-up in 2018. The second- and third-place finishers were also returners to the overall podium, as Andrea Tremaine (Minneapolis, Minn.), 33, defended her runner-up spot in 1:31:24, and 41-year-old Tara Makinen (Grand Rapids, Minn.) defended her third-place finish in 1:33:47. Guether, Tremaine and Makinen also collected national titles in their respective age groups. 

Winter Triathlon Nationals was a family affair for several age group champions. Rachael and Justin Cummins of Duluth, Minnesota, earned national titles in the women’s and men’s 45-49 age groups, respectively, while their daughter Sydney was the women’s 17-19 champion. Kathie and Gregory Pautsch of Hayward, Wisconsin, earned victories in the women’s 55-59 and men’s 65-69 categories, respectively. Tove and Jerry Shere of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, were victorious in the women’s 65-69 and men’s 75-79 categories, respectively.

Top finishers in each age group earned the opportunity to represent Team USA at the 2021 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

2020 USA Triathlon Winter Triathlon National Championships
National Champions — Complete Results

Male Overall: Joel LaFrance (Plymouth, Minn.), 1:07:16
Female Overall: Jan Guenther (Long Lake, Minn.), 1:28:21
F17-19: Sydney Cummins (Duluth, Minn.), 2:46:11
M20-24: Thomas Walkinshaw (Chicago, Ill.), 1:50:34
F20-24: Elizabeth Axberg (St. Paul, Minn.), 2:01:40
M25-29: Justin Jones (Minneapolis, Minn.), 1:25:25
M30-34: Jacob Keehan (Maple Grove, Minn.), 1:09:36
F30-34: Andrea Tremaine (Minneapolis, Minn.), 1:31:24
M35-39: Sean Cooley (St. Paul, Minn.), 1:13:54
F35-39: Maria Lozovskaya (Medford, Wis.), 1:53:44
M40-44: Joel LaFrance (Plymouth, Minn.), 1:07:16
F40-44: Tara Makinen (Grand Rapids, Minn.), 1:33:47
M45-49: Justin Cummins (Duluth, Minn.), 1:24:05
F45-49: Rachael Cummins (Duluth, Minn.), 2:03:30
M50-54: Christian Otto (Scarsdale, N.Y.), 1:21:35
F50-54: Nancy Whillock (Aberdeen, S.D.), 1:39:11
M55-59: Brent Peacock (Jackson, Wyo.), 1:17:47
F55-59: Kathie Pautsch (Hayward, Wis.), 1:38:53
M60-64: Stephen Clark (Cushing, Wis.), 1:21:28
F60-64: Jan Guenther (Long Lake, Minn.), 1:28:21
M65-69: Gregory Pautsch (Hayward, Wis.), 1:23:58
F65-69: Tove Shere (Cleveland Heights, Ohio), 1:50:02
M70-74: John Pierce (Westwood, Kan.), 2:08:50
F70-74: Nancy Bauer (Champlin, Minn.), 2:20:27
M75-79: Jerry Shere (Cleveland Heights, Ohio), 2:29:49

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).