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Pennsylvania And Oklahoma Athletes Crowned Best Of The U.S. In Orange County

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Pennsylvania’s Brian Duffy and Oklahoma’s Bethany Handley took home the Best of the U.S. Championship title at the Orange County International Triathlon in Mission Viejo, Calif. Every year from April through September, amateur athletes from each of the 50 states qualify to represent their state in a head-to-head International-distance race. Each state has only one qualifier race, and the athlete’s on hand at the Orange County International Triathlon to compete in the BOUS championship were considered the best of the amateur field.

Duffy, 21, who most recently was the top male finisher at the Nation’s Triathlon in Washington, D.C., was second out of the water with a sub 18-minute 1,500-meter swim in Lake Mission Viejo. He quickly gained the lead on the bike and held it all the way to the finish line. Duffy’s finish time of 1:52:53 was nearly six minutes faster than the standing pro record on the Orange County Triathlon course, and he was one of 22 amateur men to come in under the standing men’s amateur record. This was Duffy’s first BOUS championship race, and he said it was exciting to see all the other athletes from the other states competing against one another in a single race. “This series just keeps on getting more popular and it is so much fun to be a part of it,” Duffy said.

Handley, 28, a teacher in Oklahoma City, recently received her pro card for next season, but she said she wanted her last race to be the BOUS championship. “I have heard so many great things about these championship races and this triathlon in particular so I really wanted to compete,” Handley said. Handley was one of the first women out of the water, and took the lead a few miles into the bike. “The hills out there today were brutal but I had a great time,” Handley said. Handley’s finishing time of 2:06:53 was almost exactly the same time as the men’s amateur course record (which was broken by several men in Sunday’s race), and 21 other women took down the standing women’s amateur course record. 

Amateur Men

1. Brian Duffy (West Chester, Penn.) 1:52:53

2. Ross Hartley (Pickerington, Ohio) 1:55:00

3. Mark Harms (Madison, Wis.) 1:55:08

4. Christopher Thomas (Easton, Conn.) 1:56:11

5. Jens Beck (Anchorage, Alaska) 1:56:45

Amateur Women

1. Bethany Handley (Oklahoma City, Okla.) 2:06:53

2. Kimberly Pancoast (Kirkland, Wash.)

3. Cindi Bannink (Madison, Wis.) 2:09:37

4. Beth Shutt (Natrona Heights, Penn.) 2:12:14

5. Alice Henriques (Glen Ridge, N.J.) 2:13:57