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Recap The Weekend At USAT Age Group National Championships

Approximately 4,300 athletes crossed the finish line in two days of competition in Milwaukee, Wisc.

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Approximately 4,300 athletes crossed the finish line in two days of competition in Milwaukee, Wisc. USA Triathlon announced yesterday that the 2016 national championship events will take place in Omaha, Neb.

Read the recaps from USA Triathlon below:

Saturday: Olympic-Distance National Championships

Amateur triathletes Barrett LeHardy and Abby Levene captured victory and overall national titles at Saturday’s USA Triathlon Olympic-Distance National Championships, held for the third and final time at the Milwaukee Art Museum and Discovery World along Lake Michigan.

More than 2,600 athletes crossed the finish line of the 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike, 10-kilometer run event, a staple in the USA Triathlon National Championships schedule year after year. Olympic-Distance Nationals is the first event held as part of the two-day Age Group National Championships, and approximately 5,000 athletes registered to compete over the weekend.

LeHardy (Roanoke, Va.) posted a final time of 1 hour, 51 minutes, 18 seconds for the fastest time of the day, winning the men’s 25-29 age group in addition to overall honors. A member of the U.S. Army, LeHardy will be representing the U.S. at the World Military Games in Korea this October.

“It’s a huge honor,” LeHardy said. “This was the goal for my coach and me coming into the season. We wanted to win a national title. We set out with this goal and we accomplished it. For me to do what I did today, it’s truly a remarkable accomplishment and a season of tremendous success.”

Another member of the military and LeHardy’s World Military Games teammate Kyle Hooker (Burlington, Wash.) posted the second-fastest time of the day in 1:52:24, leading to a second-place finish in the men’s 25-29 age group. A pilot in the U.S. Navy, Hooker was making his return to the national stage after a hiatus of more than five years.

“It was very nerve-wracking, because it’s the biggest event I’ve done in six or seven years, so I was very nervous,” Hooker said. “I wanted to see what I could do. This is the best race venue I’ve raced in, Milwaukee is very awesome, and I’m impressed with the city. I don’t even know – it means all the hard work I’ve put in for the last five years has paid off and I’m just ecstatic.”

Lucas Pozzetta (Merrimack, N.H.) finished third overall and in the men’s 25-29 age group with a time of 1:53:28.

Levene (Boulder, Colo.) clinched the women’s overall title and the 20-24 age group with a time of 2:06:09. Olympic-Distance Nationals is only her second triathlon of the year, and Levene has goals of becoming a professional triathlete after a collegiate running career at Princeton and Colorado.

“I wanted to do well overall but I’ve never been here before. I knew I was fit,” said Levene, who specialized in the 5,000- and 10,000-meter events. “I’m back at it and very excited to be back. I missed it a lot. It’s so much fun. This is possibly the best race I’ve ever been to.”

Kirsten Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.) finished second overall among the women, clocking in at 2:06:37, which also confirmed her as the winner of the women’s 35-39 division. Cecilia Davis-Hayes (New York, N.Y.) finished third overall in 2:08:49, winning the women’s 25-29 age group.

“It’s just so exciting to be here. I always come to these races and think, wow, look at all these fast people here; I hope I can just make it through,” Sass said. “To do well is just amazing. You can’t ask for better competition; it’s stellar. These are all the top athletes in the United States, right here.”

Masters winners were Adrienne LeBlanc (45-49, Scottsdale, Ariz.), who finished in 2:09:20, and Mark Harms (40-44, Madison, Wis.), who posted a finishing time of 1:54:52. Bridget Dawson (55-59, San Luis Obispo, Calif.) won the women’s Grand Masters title in 2:19:14, while Gregory Taylor (60-64, Yankton, S.D.) repeated as the men’s Grand Masters winner in 2:10:45.

The top 18 finishers in each age group (rolling down to 25th place) earned their spot for next year’s Team USA, an amateur team that represents the U.S. at various multisport world championship events around the globe. These athletes will travel to the 2016 ITU World Championships, set for Sept. 11-18 in Cozumel, Mexico, and as the annual qualifying event, many former members of Team USA crossed the finish line on Saturday in Milwaukee.

“This is a fabulous venue, and to have won last year and then to win this year, it’s just an absolute thrill,” said men’s 70-74 winner David Roadhouse (Wilmette, Ill.), a longtime Team USA member. “This is one of the absolute finest [events], and the reason is the venue, the city of Milwaukee, the police and volunteers, USAT – it’s just fabulous.”

The Age Group Nationals weekend offers a unique opportunity for athletes to compete in one of the largest races in the country against a highly competitive field.

“You’ve got almost 3,000 people racing and they all come with friends and family, so you’ve got 6,000 people cheering, and you’ve got the best in the country here,” said Ericka Hachmeister (Corning, N.Y.), winner of the women’s 30-34 age group. “That’s an incredible race. All of these athletes know what it takes to go hard. We cheer each other on out on the course and it’s just awesome.”

The 2015 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships resume Sunday with the Sprint National Championships. More than 400 athletes from Olympic-Distance Nationals are slated to return to the course, which features a 750m swim, 20k bike and 5k run. A live stream of the event and live blog coverage will begin at 7:20 a.m. at usatriathlon.org.

2015 USA Triathlon Olympic-Distance National Championships
1,500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run
Olympic-Distance National Champions

Overall Female: Abby Levene (Boulder, Colo.), 2:06:09
Overall Male: Barrett LeHardy (Roanoke, Va.), 1:51:18
Masters Female: Adrienne LeBlanc (Scottsdale, Ariz.), 2:09:20
Masters Male: Mark Harms (Madison, Wis.), 1:54:52
Grand Masters Female: Bridget Dawson (San Luis Obispo, Calif.), 2:19:14
Grand Masters Male: Gregory Taylor (Yankton, S.D.), 2:10:45
F17-19: Abbie Sullivan (Canandaigua, N.Y.), 2:14:37
M17-19: Elisha Smith (Greenwood, S.C.), 1:56:27
F20-24: Abby Levene (Boulder, Colo.), 2:06:08
M20-24: Louis Cayedito (Ann Arbor, Mich.), 1:54:35
F25-29: Cecilia Davis-Hayes (New York, N.Y.), 2:08:48
M25-29: Barrett LeHardy (Roanoke, Va.), 1:51:17
F30-34: Ericka Hachmeister (Corning, N.Y.), 2:11:11
M30-34: Adam Webber (Denver, Pa.), 1:54:21
F35-39: Kirsten Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.), 2:06:36
M35-39: James Burke (Whitefish Bay, Wis.), 1:53:43
F40-44: Megan James (Portage, Mich.), 2:14:36
M40-44: Mark Harms (Madison, Wis.), 1:54:51
F45-49: Adrienne LeBlanc (Scottsdale, Ariz.), 2:09:19
M45-49: Shane Arters (San Mateo, Calif.), 1:56:57
F50-54: Kelly Dippold (Overland Park, Kan.), 2:15:27
M50-54: Michael Smith (Brownsburg, Ind.), 2:03:43
F55-59: Bridget Dawson (San Luis Obispo, Calif.), 2:19:13
M55-59: Tony Schiller (Eden Prairie, Minn.), 2:04:18
F60-64: Karen McKeachie (Ann Arbor, Mich.), 2:30:16
M60-64: Gregory Taylor (Yankton, S.D.), 2:10:44
F65-69: Nancy Avitabile (Bethesda, Md.), 2:43:47
M65-69: Freddie Ferraro (The Colony, Texas), 2:21:02
F70-74: Cherie Gruenfeld (Cathedral City, Calif.), 2:52:11
M70-74: David Roadhouse (Wilmette, Ill.), 2:32:31
F75-79: Graciela Val (Evanston, Ill.), 3:24:52
M75-79: Roger Little (Newtonville, Mass.), 2:39:00
M80-84: Roger Brockenbrough (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 3:28:13
M85+: Bob Scott (Naperville, Ill.), 3:30:41

Sunday: Sprint-Distance National Championships

Thomas Barton won his first overall national title on Sunday, while Taylor Knibb was the repeat overall champion at the USA Triathlon Sprint National Championships, the final event of the 2015 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships weekend.

On day two of competition at the Milwaukee Art Museum and Discovery World, nearly 1,700 athletes crossed the finish line, bringing the two-day field to around 4,300 finishers. The Sprint National Championships, which has been a USA Triathlon-owned National Championships since 2010, consists of a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run.

Barton (Miami, Fla.) posted the fastest time of the day, finishing in 58 minutes, 48 seconds. This is his first overall Sprint Nationals title, and he also won the men’s 25-29 age group.

“I’m ecstatic; this is awesome,” Barton said. “I guess I’m a little surprised. I raced yesterday and had a great race, and I wanted to carry that over. The atmosphere everyone brings here – the stages, the setup, the finish line, the competitive field that comes out here – it’s all great.”

Chase McQueen (Columbus, Ind.) won the men’s 15-19 age group, finishing second overall with a time of 59:21, while Tyler Evans (Colorado Springs, Colo.) finished third overall and at the top of the men’s 20-24 age group in 59:48.

Knibb (Washington, D.C.) was the overall women’s Sprint Nationals winner for the second-straight year, clocking in at 1:01:17. Her time was more than 90 seconds faster than the winning time she posted one year ago, and was the fastest time of the day for the women by more than 4 minutes.

“It was a good day,” said Knibb, who won Junior Elite Nationals last weekend and will be competing in Chicago for the ITU Junior World Championships next month. “The competition helps you to become a better athlete. I want to stay healthy and keep on enjoying it, and wherever it takes me, that’s where I’ll go.”

Skye Murphy (Salt Lake City, Utah), who competed in yesterday’s Olympic-Distance Nationals, finished second overall in 1:05:38. Murphy also won the women’s 25-29 age group. Audrey Ernst (South Elgin, Ill.) finished third overall in 1:06:07 and was second in the women’s 15-19 age group behind Knibb.

Masters titles went to Heather Westerman (Ligonier, Pa.), who finished in 1:10:04, and Jon Noland (Tampa, Fla.), who posted a time of 1:01:53. Barbara Sullivan (Carlsbad, Calif.) was the women’s Grand Masters winner in 1:13:31, while Gregory Taylor (Yankton, S.D.) earned his second Grand Masters title of the weekend in 1:08:41.

“Here’s what you have: the most competitive group of athletes in every age group from around the country,” Taylor said. “If you’re looking to compete against the top, this is the place. Here, Kona, that’s really where you’re going to find the best of anywhere. This represents the best in the United States.”

The best athletes of the day – top-eight finishers in each age group – qualified to represent the U.S. as members of Team USA next September in Cozumel, Mexico, where the ITU World Championships will be contested. The age-group Sprint World Championships will be draft-legal for the first time, offering athletes a new challenge at the same distance they raced in Sunday. The rest of the spots on Team USA will be filled at a new draft-legal qualifier, set for Nov. 7 in Clermont, Florida.

“I honestly love draft-legal racing, and maybe because it’s just so different. We’re used to the non-draft, and it’s a different style of racing,” said Barton, who is planning to compete in the draft-legal qualifier. “It’s always fun, and it’s slowly growing, so you see it more and more, which is great.”

This was the third and final time USA Triathlon’s Age Group National Championships came to Milwaukee. Next year, the event moves to Omaha, Nebraska, on Aug. 13-14, 2016, with the venue set at Carter Lake. Still, many athletes were thrilled to be in Milwaukee for an unprecedented third year.

“It’s wonderful, and I’m so happy it was back here [in Milwaukee] for a third time. The view when you’re doing the run is spectacular. It’s an excellent swim, and a good bike ride,” said Shelia Isaacs (Shoreham, N.Y.), who won the women’s 75-79 age group and has competed in Age Group Nationals more than 20 times. “Age Group Nationals is always exciting. I’ve done it many times; qualified for Worlds. It’s awesome.”

2015 USA Triathlon Sprint National Championships
750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run
Sprint National Champions
Overall Female: Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.), 1:01:18
Overall Male: Thomas Barton (Miami, Fla.), 58:49
Masters Female: Heather Westerman (Ligonier, Pa.), 1:10:05
Masters Male: Jon Noland (Tampa, Fla.), 1:01:54
Grand Masters Female: Barbara Sullivan (Carlsbad, Calif.), 1:13:31
Grand Masters Male: Gregory Taylor (Yankton, S.D.), 1:08:42
F15-19: Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.), 1:01:17
M15-19: Chase McQueen (Columbus, Ind.), 59:21
F20-24: Laura Mathews (Memphis, Tenn.), 1:07:21
M20-24: Tyler Evans (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 59:48
F25-29: Skye Murphy (Salt Lake City, Utah), 1:05:38
M25-29: Thomas Barton (Miami, Fla.), 58:48
F30-34: Ericka Hachmeister (Corning, N.Y.), 1:08:29
M30-34: Dwayne Dixon (Raleigh, N.C.), 1:00:45
F35-39: Shannon Kaplan (Philadelphia, Pa.), 1:07:59
M35-39: Matthew Payne (Columbia Heights, Minn.), 1:00:20
F40-44: Heather Westerman (Ligonier, Pa.), 1:10:04
M40-44: Jon Noland (Tampa, Fla.), 1:01:53
F45-49: Chris Wickard (Crown Point, Ind.), 1:11:02
M45-49: Shannon Kurek (Granville, Ohio), 1:03:19
F50-54: Leslie Knibb (Washington, D.C.), 1:10:48
M50-54: Adrian Mackay (New York, N.Y.), 1:04:37
F55-59: Barbara Sullivan (Carlsbad, Calif.), 1:13:30
M55-59: Tony Schiller (Eden Prairie, Minn.), 1:05:37
F60-64: Karen McKeachie (Ann Arbor, Mich.), 1:16:03
M60-64: Gregory Taylor (Yankton, S.D.), 1:08:41
F65-69: Lynda Lubelczyk (Manchester, N.H.), 1:24:53
M65-69: Craig Cecil (Vestavia, Ala.), 1:16:25
F70-74: Paula Larsen (Delafield, Wis.), 1:28:32
M70-74: Joseph Gulaskey (Lebanon, Ore.), 1:24:16
F75-79: Sheila Isaacs (Shoreham, N.Y.), 2:13:16
M75-79: Roger Little (Newtonville, Mass.), 1:23:38
M80-84: James Rosborough (Houston, Texas), 1:41:44
M85-89: Winston Allen (St. Augustine, Fla.), 2:04:25
M90-94: Bob Powers (White Bear Lake, Minn.), 2:56:39

Complete results.