April 25, 2015 (CLEMSON, S.C.) — University of Colorado’s Rudy von Berg successfully defended his 2014 title, while fellow Buffalo Rachael Lenz captured her first collegiate championship win in the Olympic-distance event at USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championships on Saturday at Campus Beach in South Carolina.
Despite a rainy start to the day, von Berg held a solid position near the front of the field throughout the 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike, 10-kilometer run course to finish in 1 hour, 48 minutes, 49 seconds. Penn State’s Jason West followed up his draft-legal sprint win from yesterday as the runner-up in the Olympic-distance race, posting a race-fastest run split of 31:18 and an overall time of 1:48:57, and Tim Hendricks from William & Mary finished third in 1:50:28.
California’s Greg Harper led the field out of the water for the second day in a row, entering the first transition with a gap of 11 seconds over William Jones from UCSD. Von Berg was fourth, while West was more than 1:30 back. Once out on the bike, Jones, von Berg and Joel-Tyler Rodgers from Saddleback College led the effort on the bike, and had the advantage over the field heading onto the run. On the first lap of the run, West caught up to von Berg and the pair battled for the top spot over the course of the second lap. Before entering the final stretch, von Berg broke away to capture the win for the second year in a row — a feat that hasn’t been accomplished by a male athlete at Collegiate Club Nationals in at least the last decade.
“I’m super stoked to win,” von Berg said. “Jason West, who’s a fast runner, caught me and I thought I was going to have to settle for second. I ran with him for a couple miles and in the last mile I just went all out. I’m very happy.”
In the women’s race, Lenz logged the fastest bike split by nearly two minutes to move from a position in the middle of the pack, and posted a finishing time of 2:06:26, which was nearly a minute clear of the field. Bria Edwards of Penn State, who led the women for most of the race, finished second in 2:07:18, and Lauryn MacFawn of Virginia Tech finished third to round out the podium at 2:09:55.
Much like in the men’s race, yesterday’s swim leader Clare LeGuyager of UCSD had the fastest swim split, exiting the water 16 seconds faster than the next closest competitor. Edwards made up time in transition and headed out in the lead on the bike. By the end of the first lap, Edwards had a gap of more than a minute on the field, but Lenz was gaining after exiting the water in 45th — nearly 3:30 behind the LeGuyager. By the second transition to the run, Edwards was still holding on to her lead, but Lenz had closed the gap to 38 seconds. Lenz made the pass by the end of the first lap and kept running hard to finish with the fastest run split of the day.
“I knew she [Edwards] was fast, so I was a little worried, but I like the bike and the run the most. After the swim is over, it’s more fun,” Lenz said. “I got sixth last year and my bike improved a lot. I didn’t have any expectations.”
Also part of Saturday’s action was the first-ever paratriathlon wave to be contested at Collegiate Club Nationals. Mary Kate Callahan from Arizona and Newton Nguyen from California competed in this inaugural wave, which is expected to grow in participant numbers in the future. The paratriathletes competed on a super sprint course, with Callahan finishing in 1:19:01, and Nguyen finished in 1:10:57.
On Friday morning, more than 110 athletes toed the line to take part in the third year of the Draft-Legal Collegiate Championships. The course consisted of a 750-meter swim, 20.8-kilometer bike, and 5-kilometer run. Colorado’s Brittany Warly took second in the women’s race with a time of 1:06:43.
Men’s Top 5
- Rudy von Berg (Colorado), 1:48:49
- Jason West (Penn State), 1:48:57
- Tim Hendricks (William & Mary), 1:50:28
- Mike Meehan (Penn State), 1:50:54
- William Jones (UCSD), 1:51:14
Women’s Top 5
- Rachael Lenz (Colorado), 2:06:26
- Bria Edwards (Penn State), 2:07:18
- Lauryn MacFawn (Virginia Tech), 2:09:55
- Stephanie Murphy (Navy), 2:10:11
- Molly Supple (Arizona), 2:10:46