Kendall Gretsch earned a decisive win in the women's PTWC category.
PLEASANT PRAIRIE, Wis. — The United States’ top elite paratriathletes showed their readiness for the upcoming Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Sunday at the Americas Triathlon Para Championships in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, bringing home eight golds and 17 medals overall on the day. The race was held as part of the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon hosted by Race Day Events.
While the race did not serve as an auto-qualifier or Paralympic Trials, it was a key selection event for the 2020 U.S. Paralympic Triathlon Team. Strong performances in Pleasant Prairie will be taken into account by USA Triathlon’s Games Athlete Selection Committee. Other factors such as performances at 2019, 2020, and 2021 World Triathlon and USA Triathlon-sanctioned events, ranking on the World Triathlon Paralympic Qualification list, head-to-head performances, and relevant and verified training data, will also be considered for Games selection.
The complete U.S. Paralympic Triathlon Team for Tokyo will be named Tuesday, July 6. For a detailed explanation of U.S. Paralympic Triathlon Team qualifying, click here.
The race also served as a World Triathlon Paralympic Games country qualifier, as athletes from North, South and Central America worked to earn qualification points and athlete quota spots for their country for the Tokyo Games.
Sunday’s race covered a sprint-distance 750-meter swim in Lake Andrea, followed by a 20-kilometer bike through Pleasant Prairie and neighboring Kenosha and finishing with a 5-kilometer run on a paved path around the lake.
In the women’s PTS2 category, the three athletes who swept the podium at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016 — Allysa Seely (Glendale, Ariz.), Hailey Danz (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Melissa Stockwell (Colorado Springs, Colo.) — raced head-to-head for the first time since September of 2018. Danz came out on top, taking the win in 1 hour, 14 minutes, 35 seconds. Seely was second in 1:17:03, and Stockwell rounded out the podium in 1:18:26.
Adam Popp (Arlington, Va.) was the lone competitor in the men’s PTS2 category, and he finished with a time of 1:15:51.
The men’s PTS4 race was a battle between rising star Eric McElvenny (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and 2019 national champion Jamie Brown (Oceanside, Calif.). After a race-leading swim, McElvenny lost ground to Brown on the bike — but then outran his U.S. competitor by more than a minute to reclaim the lead, finishing in 1:05:37. Brown was eight seconds behind in second, in 1:05:45.
In the women’s PTS4 race, Kelly Elmlinger (San Antonio, Texas), took gold in 1:16:18, continuing a five-race undefeated streak dating back to October 2019. Kelly Worrell (Cherry Hill, N.J.) was second in 1:32:12.
Canada’s Stefan Daniel, the 2016 Paralympic silver medalist, won the men’s PTS5 race in 57:56. Chris Hammer (Elkins, W.V.) used a race-leading 29:33 bike split and second-fastest 16:32 run to claim the silver medal in 59:46, besting bronze medalist Carlos Rafael Viana of Brazil by more than a minute (1:00:53).
In the women’s PST5 race, Grace Norman (Jamestown, Ohio) led out of the water and never looked back, finishing with a 19:36 5k to cross the line in 1:04:48 — more than four minutes clear of Canada’s Kamylle Frenette (1:09:13).
“I had a strong race today, and I loved the course,” Norman said. “I’m proud of my efforts — and it’s always great to take home the win. I’m feeling strong going into Tokyo.”
The men’s PTVI division saw a breakout performance, as multi-time Paralympic swimming gold medalist Brad Snyder (Baltimore, Md.) earned his first-ever elite paratriathlon win in 1:01:43, guided by 2016 U.S. Olympian Greg Billington (San Francisco, Calif.). Kyle Coon (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and his guide, 2004 U.S. Olympian Andy Potts (Colorado Springs, Colo.) took silver in 1:02:35, while seven-time world champion Aaron Scheidies (Seattle, Wash.) and guide Ben Collins (Seattle, Wash.) completed the podium in 1:02:52.
Canada’s Jessica Tuomela took the women’s PTVI division by storm, grabbing gold with a time of 1:13:53. Elizabeth Baker (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) and guide Jillian Elliott (Gig Harbor, Wash.) earned the silver medal in 1:16:23, as Amy Dixon (Encinitas, Calif.) and guide Kirsten Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.), making their 2021 season debut, took bronze in 1:25:06.
Howie Sanborn (Denver, Colo.) won the men’s PTWC division by nearly two minutes, finishing in 1:08:55 for his first podium of the 2021 season. Brazil’s Fernando Aranha was the runner-up in 1:10:32. Zachary Stinson (Chambersburg, Pa.), racing in his first-ever elite international race, took bronze in 1:13:06.
For Sanborn, the victory in Pleasant Prairie marked a rewarding return to his paratriathlon roots.
“Eight years ago, I did my first paratriathlon camp with Dare2tri here at the Pleasant Prairie Rec Plex,” Sanborn said. “In 2017, I won a National Championship here — so it’s awesome to win my first Americas Triathlon Para Championship back here as well.”
In the women’s PTWC category, Kendall Gretsch (Downers Grove, Ill.) took the gold medal in 1:09:14, finishing nearly three minutes ahead of Brazil’s Jessica Ferreira (1:12:02) and more than seven minutes clear of bronze medalist Brenda Osnaya Alvarez of Mexico (1:16:34).
The triathlon competitions at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 will take place Friday, Aug. 27, and Saturday, Aug. 28, at 5:30 p.m. ET in the U.S. (Saturday, Aug. 28, and Sunday, Aug. 29 at 6:30 a.m. in Tokyo). Paratriathlon medal events in Tokyo include PTWC men and women, PTVI men and women, PTS4 men, PTS2 women and PTS5 men and women. Athletes whose classifications are not included in the Tokyo Games are permitted to “class up” and race in a higher category against athletes with less severe impairments, provided they meet qualification and selection criteria.
For more information about USA Triathlon’s preparation for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, visit usatriathlon.org/tokyo2020.
2021 Americas Triathlon Para Championships Pleasant Prairie
750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run — Complete Results
1. Howie Sanborn (Denver, Colo.), 1:08:55
2. Fernando Aranha (BRA), 1:10:32
3. Zachary Stinson (Chambersburg, Pa.), 1:13:06
1. Kendall Gretsch (Downers Grove, Ill.), 1:09:14
2. Jessica Ferreira (BRA), 1:12:02
3. Brenda Osnaya Alvarez (MEX), 1:16:34
1. Brad Snyder (Baltimore, Md.) with guide Greg Billington (San Francisco, Calif.), 1:01:43
2. Kyle Coon (Colorado Springs, Colo.) with guide Andy Potts (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 1:02:35
3. Aaron Scheidies (Seattle, Wash.) with guide Ben Collins (Seattle, Wash.), 1:02:52
1. Jessica Tuomela (CAN) ,1:13:53
2. Elizabeth Baker (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) with guide Jillian Elliott (Gig Harbor, Wash.), 1:16:23
3. Amy Dixon (Encinitas, Calif.), with guide Kirsten Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.), 1:25:06
1. Adam Popp (Arlington, Va.), 1:15:51
1. Hailey Danz (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 1:14:35
2. Allysa Seely (Glendale, Ariz.), 1:17:03
3. Melissa Stockwell (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 1:18:26
1. Eric McElvenny (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 1:05:37
2. Jamie Brown (Oceanside, Calif.), 1:05:45
3. Jorge Luis Fonseca (BRA), 1:07:55
1. Kelly Elmlinger (San Antonio, Texas), 1:16:18
2. Kelly Worrell (Cherry Hill, N.J.), 1:32:12
1. Stefan Daniel (CAN), 57:56
2. Chris Hammer (Elkins, W.V.), 59:46
3. Carlos Rafael Viana (BRA), 1:00:53
1. Grace Norman (Jamestown, Ohio), 1:04:48
2. Kamylle Frenette (CAN), 1:09:13
About Tokyo United
USA Triathlon is promoting its elite athletes in the lead-up to, during and beyond the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games with its Tokyo United campaign. Tokyo United showcases the resilience, determination and teamwork shown by U.S. Olympians and Paralympians, and the communities surrounding them, on their path to the Games. Tokyo United also refers to the common experience shared by the USA Triathlon family over the last year — from amateur athletes, race directors, coaches and clubs whose racing plans were upended, to U.S. Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls whose dreams were deferred — and the many ways we lifted each other up in hopes of a more promising 2021. The three-phased campaign begins with United to Tokyo, showcasing each U.S. Olympic and Paralympic triathlon hopeful’s journey from childhood to the biggest stage in sport — along with the family and support systems that helped them along the way. The second phase, United in Tokyo, brings together the entire multisport community and the global Olympic and Paralympic family to support Team USA at the pinnacle of competition, and to revel in the long-awaited Olympic and Paralympic moment. The final phase, United Beyond Tokyo, will celebrate the achievements of the 2020 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams before passing the torch to aspiring triathletes with Olympic and Paralympic dreams for the Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 Games.
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 4,000 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 World Triathlon Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of World Triathlon and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).