COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Four U.S. junior elite triathletes will represent Team USA in Cali, Colombia, at this week’s inaugural Junior Pan American Games, marking the unofficial start of the 2024 Olympic quadrennial. Nicholas Holmes (Glendale, Wis.), Maddie Lavin (Vermillion, S.D.), Drew Shellenberger (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Liberty Ricca (Colorado Springs, Colo.) make up the U.S. squad that will compete on Friday, Nov. 26 in the individual races and Sunday, Nov. 28 in the Mixed Relay.
The first-ever Junior Pan American Games kick off on Thursday in Cali, and go through Dec. 5. Organized by Panam Sports, the Junior Pan American Games includes more than 300 events in 28 sports for athletes ages 17-22 from the Americas. Cali 2021 is a key event in the lead-up to the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games and Paris 2024 Olympics, allowing up-and-coming athletes a platform to perform against elite talent.
The Junior women race first on Friday at 8 a.m. ET, followed by the Junior men at 10 a.m. ET. Athletes will compete in a draft-legal, sprint-distance race consisting of a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run. The U.S. quartet will then team up for the Mixed Relay at 9 a.m. ET on Sunday, competing in a field of eight countries.
In the Mixed Relay — which made its Olympic debut this summer at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 — four athletes, in the order of female-male-female-male, each compete a super-sprint-distance triathlon before tagging off to the next teammate. The fast, tactical and spectator-friendly race showcases thrilling draft-legal racing that often comes down to a final sprint to the finish line. The U.S. team earned the silver medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Shellenberger and Holmes lead the U.S. men this week in Cali, and the two are familiar names on the U.S. Junior Elite circuit. Shellenberger won the men’s Junior Elite national championship at this summer’s 2021 Zone3 USA Triathlon Youth & Junior Nationals and Holmes finished runner-up. Both are coming off impressive performances against international competition in the past month.
On Nov. 14, Shellenberger earned his first career elite podium, finishing second at the 2021 Americas Triathlon Cup Santiago in Santiago, Chile. Holmes won the Junior men’s title at the 2021 Americas Triathlon Championships St. George in St. George, Utah, on Oct. 31. He followed that with a 19th-place performance Nov. 7 at the 2021 World Triathlon Junior Championships Quarteira, leading the U.S. Shellenberger finished 28th in the same race after crashing on the bike.
For the women, Lavin and Ricca both come to Cali after completing their NCAA Division I women’s collegiate triathlon seasons at the 2021 Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships Nov. 13 in Tempe, Arizona.
A running and swimming standout at the University of South Dakota, Lavin is a newcomer to the sport of triathlon and finished fifth for the Coyotes at the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships, earning her 2021 All-American honors. This July in Long Beach, California, she placed second at the U23 National Championships in her elite debut at the 2021 Americas Triathlon Cup Long Beach.
The DI Women’s Collegiate Triathlon Freshman of the Year in 2019, Ricca helped the Arizona State University women’s collegiate triathlon team earn its fifth straight title at last week’s Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships. On Oct. 31, she took third in the U23 Women’s race at the 2021 Americas Triathlon Championships St. George.
Toyota is a Proud Partner of USA Triathlon, as well as the International Olympic Committee (IOC), International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).
For more information about the 2021 Junior Pan American Games, click here. To see full start lists for the 2021 Junior Pan American Games, click here.
2021 Junior Pan American Games
Triathlon Competition ScheduleFriday, Nov. 26
8 a.m. ET: Individual Junior Women
10 a.m. ET: Individual Elite Men
Sunday, Nov. 28
9 a.m. ET: Mixed Relay