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Paratriathletes Compete For National Titles In Tempe

Mark Barr of Houston, Texas, won his sport class for the third straight year at the USA Paratriathlon National Championships on Sunday in Tempe, Ariz.

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U.S. paratriathletes posted outstanding performances on Sunday en route to national titles at the 2014 USA Paratriathlon National Championships, held in conjunction with the Life Time Tri Tempe.

Read the recap from USA Triathlon below:

Athletes competing in five sport classes earned national championship titles. The 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run course, centered at Tempe Beach Park, showcased the growing depth of talent in the paratriathlon community.

“I feel like the U.S. is a really competitive nation in paratriathlon, and it’s just awesome to be out here with a bunch of really good competitors,” said Chris Hammer of Salt Lake City, Utah, who won the men’s PT4 sport class. “To come out on top is pretty humbling, and it’s just awesome to be a part of this event.”

Hammer, Mark Barr (PT2, Houston, Texas), Patricia Walsh (PT5, Austin, Texas) and Aaron Scheidies (PT5, Seattle, Wash.) successfully defended their titles with Barr and Walsh winning for the third straight year.

“I’m so excited to be a national champion again,” Walsh said. “It was a little tricky to come back from the World Championships [in Edmonton] a few weeks ago, but my guide and I recovered. We were a little on the fence about coming, but I’m so glad we did.”

Also claiming nationals titles were Kendall Gretsch (PT1, Madison, Wis.), Zach Young (PT1, Jackson, Mo.), Sandra Dukat (PT2, Denver, Colo.), Allysa Seely (PT3, Glendale, Ariz.), Mike Wong (PT3, Chicago, Ill.) and Grace Norman (PT4, Jamestown, Ohio).

Interest in paratriathlon is at an all-time high and the sport continues to grow following its inclusion in the Paralympic Games program. Paratriathlon will make its debut at the Paralympic Summer Games in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, a driving force for newcomers and experienced paratriathletes alike.

“It’s amazing how the sport has been growing the past few years,” Scheidies said. “People are starting to understand what’s going on and that it’s a big deal. A lot of the paratriathletes are racing at the top level.”

An open Physically Challenged Division was contested in addition to the national championship wave to help meet the needs of the growing number of paratriathletes across the country. Athletes in the open division were not eligible for national championship awards.

2014 USA Paratriathlon National Championships, Tempe, Ariz.
750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run
National champions by category — Click here for complete results.
Female PT1: Kendall Gretsch (Madison, Wis.), 1:15:57
Male PT1: Zach Young (Jackson, Mo.), 1:19:53
Female PT2: Sandra Dukat (Denver, Colo.), 1:34:44
Male PT2: Mark Barr (Houston, Texas), 1:13:52
Female PT3: Allysa Seely (Glendale, Ariz.), 1:50:31
Male PT3: Mike Wong (Chicago, Ill.), 1:20:10
Female PT4: Grace Norman (Jamestown, Ohio), 1:17:15
Male PT4: Chris Hammer (Salt Lake City, Utah.), 1:05:47
Female PT5: Patricia Walsh (Austin, Texas), 1:21:14
Male PT5: Aaron Scheidies (Seattle, Wash.), 1:02:00