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USA Triathlon Certified Coaches Benjamin Drezek, Jennifer Hutchison and Beth Sanden have been recognized as the 2014 USA Triathlon Coaches of the Year for their accomplishments with age-group athletes, junior elite triathletes and paratriathletes.
See the announcement from USA Triathlon below:
National Coach of the Year went to Drezek (Denton, Texas), who serves as the head coach of the University of North Texas Triathlon Club and founded the age-group focused Keep Moving Forward (KMF) Performance Triathlon Club. He coached athletes who fit in a wide range of ages, ability levels and race distances, from sprint to ultra-distance events. Club members coached by Drezek qualified for 2014 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships, finishing near the top of their respective age groups to earn spots at the 2015 ITU Age Group World Championships in Chicago.
“Being selected as the USA Triathlon National Coach of the Year came as a huge surprise,” Drezek said. “Training in a small town right outside of a much larger triathlon community, we tend to just do our own thing, so it was a great honor to receive national recognition for our efforts and achievements. I take it as validation that my coaching philosophy resonates positively with my athletes and it fuels me to continue pursuing endurance coaching as a career. It also empowers me to keep grinding away, doing what I am doing, and truly learn the process of developing athletes.”
Hutchison (St. Petersburg, Fla.) was honored as Developmental Coach of the Year. She led Triton Elite Multisport, a USA Triathlon High Performance Team based in Florida, to a bronze medal finish out of 42 teams in the 2014 USA Triathlon Junior Elite Series Development Team National Championships. She also coached 16-year-old Taylor Knibb to a number of podium finishes, including an overall championship title at USA Triathlon Sprint Nationals, second at the Youth Olympic Games Continental Qualifier in Monterrey, Mexico, and third at PATCO Junior Championships in Dallas, Texas, as well as USA Triathlon Junior Elite National Championships. Hutchison is also the Regional Athlete Development Coordinator in the Florida Region and coordinated a seven-race USA Triathlon Junior Talent ID Series in Florida in 2014.
“I am humbled and honored to receive this recognition considering the developmental coaching talent in the U.S.,” Hutchison said. “I’m grateful to USA Triathlon for the opportunities over the years that I’ve help me grow as a coach. I’m very fortunate to have worked some awesome young athletes and have the support of great coaches and I share this honor with them. I am very excited about the opportunities on the horizon for juniors and proud to be a part of the USA Triathlon youth and junior elite athlete development program.”
Sanden (San Clemente, Calif.) earned the Volunteer Coach of the Year award for her work with paratriathletes in Southern California. She encourages physically challenged athletes to try swimming, biking and running, and serves as a mentor through the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Sanden also hosts several free monthly camps to introduce people with disabilities to paratriathlon and an active lifestyle. She coached athletes who eventually competed in the PossAbilities Triathlon and San Diego Triathlon Challenge, and she volunteers annually at IRONMAN California.
“It is a joy and an honor to be involved with so many paratriathletes and able-bodied triathletes who come to my tri camps every year. I was helped by so many triathletes when I was injured and I made a commitment then to paying it forward to those who would like to get back into the game of life through triathlon,” Sanden said. “This award is icing on the cake; every time I see someone come across the finish line of a race, I get such a sweet feeling. It is an incredible feeling for a coach.”
Coaches of the year are selected based on the performance of the athletes they coach, as well as service to the sport, athlete testimony and coaching character. More information on USA Triathlon’s coaching programs is available at usatriathlon.org/coaching.