I had a fantastic time at High School Nationals. I got to compete with some of the best high school triathletes in the country and see my future tri club teammate Mike Meehan from Penn State win two national titles back-to-back.
The weather forecast for the day of the race wasn’t looking to good: thunderstorms and rain. However, after a few delays, the clouds cleared, and we were good to go.
After the swim coming out of the water I was discouraged, I lost almost 3 minutes from the head of the pack. As I passed transition and mounted my bike, my morale boosted. I took all of the hours of training on my bike and just rode as hard as I could. With each person I passed, the faster I went, gaining confidence. By the run I had gained a comfortable position. And after 5-kilometers, I placed 28th with a time of 1:07 — not exactly the position I wanted but a position that I could still be proud of.
After competing, I acknowledged some training, nutrition and transition mistakes I had made throughout the competition. Not enough speed work, too much endurance training and not enough practice putting on and off my shoes — seriously. However, for the next race I can look at these mistakes and strengthen my weaknesses.
I was very impressed with the overall winner, Taylor Knibb. Her speed was incredible, and I hope that I will be racing against her again in the future. Looking back on it, I am so thankful for the support my town has given me.
The support my own local community really showed that triathlons are finally getting the publicity they deserve. The Bicycle Shop, State College’s local bike shop, gave all the support they possibly could, supplying me with technical support, carbon wheels and other accessories. It felt as if the whole community was with me.
Now that there are high school championships, I see the potential for a huge amount of growth in the sport for younger triathletes. After my experience, I hope State College will create its own high school triathlon team. And in the end, I must say the 10 hours in the car from State College, Pennsylvania, to Clemson, South Carolina, was well worth it.
Lewis Yeaple, 18, is a senior at State High in State College, Pennsylvania. He is a type-one diabetic and hopes to pursue a degree in nutritional science at Penn State University in the fall where he will join the triathlon team.
For more on of the High School National Championships, such as a live blog, social story and other features and news, visit the 2016 coverage page.