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Smith, Orchard Win Age Group ITU Cross World Crowns

Several age groupers got to add world titles to their resumes on Saturday in Alabama.

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While Conrad Stoltz and Lesley Paterson took the pro titles on Saturday in Alabama, several age groupers also got to add world titles to their resumes.

See the recap from Xterra below:

The age group races for the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships/Xterra Southeast Championship were truly an international spectacle, as South Africa, the United States and New Zealand took the top podium honors.

Bradley Weiss of South Africa won the U23 division, and posted the fastest time among all age-group racers at 2:11:23.

Fred Smith of Knoxville, Tennessee, was the first true age group finisher with a time of 2:12:31. The U23 division had a different start time, from the other age groups, although they all used the same course at Oak Mountain State Park.

Elizabeth Orchard of Epsom, New Zealand, was the top female finisher with a time of 2:32:07.

The age group racers used a course that followed a 1.5-kilometer swim, a 31-kilometer mountain bike (different from the pro races), and a 10-kilometer trail run. More than 250 competitors from around the world participated in the age group races.

Weiss, who is from Cape Town, was thrilled to post the fastest time in what was his first racing experience in America. “It’s the first time I’ve been to America, first time to Alabama, but I’ll definitely be back. Awesome trails here.”

Weiss and Slovakia’s Tomas Kubek stayed near each other for most of the course, and Weiss was finally able to forge a lead early in the run.

“At about 10K into the bike, there’s a nice long climb out and I really pushed it up the climb,” Weiss said. “Then I just brought it home on the run.”

Smith pulled off an exciting victory in the age group race, running into the lead late in the trail run.

“It went better than expected,” said Smith, 35. “I had Tim Van Daele, a two-time world champ, out there with me and a couple of other fast guys to act as rabbits.”

Bryce Phinney of Tucson, Arizona, was in the lead after the bike, but Smith passed him about seven kilometers into the 10K run. “I saw Bryce Phinney in front of me … I just had to put the cramps out of my head and go by him hard – a little shock and awe.”

Phinney came in second overall (also second to Smith in the 35-39 division) with a time of 2:12:47 – 16 seconds behind Smith, despite the fact he crashed hard at the notorious “Blood Rock” section and mangled his pointer finger.

Because the event was an ITU world championship race, Smith, Phinney and other Americans got to wear a special USA jersey.

“It’s a lot more special,” Smith said. “Any time you get the privilege of putting on a uniform that says USA and competing with your country, whatever country it is, it’s a special opportunity and something I definitely didn’t want to miss and won’t forget it for a long time.”

Belgium’s Tim Van Daele, a two-time former Xterra amateur world champion, placed third in 2:14:01.

Orchard put on an impressive show in the women’s field, finishing more than three minutes ahead of the other females.

“I think I was about fourth out of the water, and I passed a few on the bike ride,” said Orchard, 26. “There were a lot of spectators out there, cheering me on, giving me a lot of time indication of how far in front the leader was, and I think I took the lead a quarter of the way into the run.”

Sylvia Van Tromp of South Africa was the second overall female (first in the 30-34 division) in 2:35:34.

Here is a list of all the 2012 ITU Cross Triathlon World Champions/Xterra Southeast Champions:

Women
Junior Hannah Rae Finchamp 1:00:15 Altadena, CA
25 – 29 Elizabeth Orchard 2:32:07 New Zealand
30 – 34 Sylvia Van Tromp 2:35:34 South Africa
35 – 39 Melanie Etherton 2:42:06 Germany
40 – 44 Mimi Stockton 2:43:12 Stevensville, MI
45 – 49 Lori Goldweber 2:45:54 Homewood, AL
50 – 54 Tamara Tabeek 2:42:19 San Diego, CA
55 – 59 Lucia Colbert 2:57:04 Altadena, CA
60 – 64 Cindi Toepel 3:12:51 Littleton, CO
65 – 69 Charlotte Mahan 5:04:03 Lenoir City, TN

Men 
U23 Bradley Weiss 2:11:23 South Africa
Junior Bradley Schuit :56:12 South Africa
20 – 24 Taylor Seavey 2:26:13 Seward, AK
25 – 29 John Reiker 2:29:27 St. Charles, IL
30 – 34 Tim Van Daele 2:14:02 Belgium
35 – 39 Fred Smith 2:12:31 Knoxville, TN
40 – 44 Chris Scott 2:14:18 Morrison, IL
45 – 49 Mike Hebe 2:25:07 New Cumberland, PA
50 – 54 Casey Fannin 2:22:06 Birmingham, AL
55 – 59 Tom Monica 2:32:32 Thousand Oaks, CA
60 – 64 David Rakita 2:46:18 Durango, CO
65 – 69 Richard Wall 3:21:54 Colorado Springs, CO
70 – 74 John Stover 3:36:19 Jackson, MI
75+ Nathaniel Grew 4:30:42 Costa Rica
PC Larry Hicks 1:29:28 Pike Road, AL