Two-day event will be held in Chula Vista Harbor
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Many of the rising stars on the United States' triathlon scene will be in action at the USA Triathlon Junior and Youth National Championship set for Aug. 6-7 in Chula Vista, Calif.
Lukas Verzbicas (ITU/Richard Lam)
Among the more than 250 Youth Elite and Junior Elite athletes slated to compete are all four defending champions from the 2010 event - Junior Elite champions Tanelle Berard (Clive, Iowa) and Ben Kanute (Geneva, Ill.) and Youth Elite champions Tamara Gorman (Rapid City, S.D.) and Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.), who ages up to the Junior Elite ranks this year.
Additionally, four athletes who will represent the United States at the 2011 ITU Junior World Championships in September in Beijing, China, will compete in Chula Vista - Lukas Verzbicas (Orland Hills, Ill.), Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D.), Kelly Whitley (Geneva, Ill.) and Brianna Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.). Verzbicas was victorious at the 2011 PATCO Pan American Junior Championships on July 10.
The top finisher in the men's and women's Junior Elite events not already qualified for the World Championships will claim the final spots for the U.S. team.
A full slate of races is set for Saturday, Aug. 6 beginning at 7:30 a.m. at Chula Vista Harbor. The draft-legal Junior Elite (ages 16-19) and Youth Elite (ages 13-15) national championships will kick things off followed by age group championships for ages 7-8, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-15. The competitive distances range from a 100-meter swim, a 5-kilometer bike and a 1-kilometer run for ages 7-10 to a 750m swim, 20k bike and 5k run sprint-distance event for the Junior Elites.
For the second straight year, a draft-legal team relay will be held on Sunday, Aug. 7 at 8 a.m. for athletes ages 13-19. All athletes - in teams of three with at least one female competitor - will complete a 250m swim, a 5k bike and a 1.2k run.
In all, more than 600 athletes, including over 200 Californians, and more than 50 relay teams are expected to compete in the 13 events. Visit usatriathlon.org for more information on the event.
The youth demographic (ages 7-17) is the fastest growing segment of USA Triathlon's annual membership. At yearend 2010, USA Triathlon featured 32,562 youth members, which comprised 24 percent of the organization's total membership.