McLane, VanOrt take overall titles in Tuscaloosa
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September 25, 2010 (Tuscaloosa, AL) – Mandy McLane and Kaleb VanOrt raced their way to overall victories Saturday at the 2010 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championship as more than 1,300 athletes chased national titles at Manderson Landing.
Also this year’s USAT duathlon national champion, VanOrt (Mishawaka, Ind.) picked up his second overall title of 2010 in 1 hour, 52 minutes, 16 seconds—a full 3 minutes ahead of the day’s No. 2 finisher, masters champion Doug Clark (Morristown, N.J.), who logged a time of 1:55:54 on the Olympic-distance course (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run). VanOrt earned the 25-29 title, while Clark topped the 40-44 age group.
“Last couple of tris…I’ve been hitting the bike hard, and then I’ve been coming off the bike pretty wobbly legged. And then today was a little bit calm on the bike, so I felt pretty good coming out on the run,” said VanOrt, who clocked a 10k run split of 31:59 and displayed an improved swim. The Notre Dame product is a member of the USAT Collegiate Recruitment Program, which produced a number of top performances on the day.
Also the female 30-34 age group champion, McLane (Windermere, Fla.) posted a mark of 2:09:14 to claim the overall female title by 7 seconds over 30-34 runner-up Cindi Bannink (Madison, Wis.) “(Winning) was definitely the goal for this year, especially after last year where I was expecting to have a win or a top-three finish and ended up finishing 10th because I had a flat,” said McLane, who has aspirations of a professional career.
Alicia Parr (Durham, N.C.) captured the female masters title in 2:10:12, while Karen McKeachie (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and Steven Smith (Granger, Ind.) brought home the grand masters wins in 2:28:47 and 2:20:01, respectively.
A number of Saturday’s champions rank among the most-decorated age group athletes in the nation with countless national titles and Team USA appearances among them. Jennifer Walz (F18-19, Savannah, Ga.), Mark Harms (M35-39, Madison, Wis.), Parr, Clark, McKeachie and Smith all repeated their victories from the 2009 Age Group Nationals in Tuscaloosa.
Additionally, it was a banner day for the city of Madison, Wis., which brought home a trio of national titles—Harm’s 35-39 win and victories by Michael Meteyer (Madison, Wis.) in the male 50-54 age group and Jim Bruskewitz (Madison, Wis.) in the male 55-59 age group.
“I love it and you can’t beat a national championship,” said Bruskewitz. “It’s the biggest race in the U.S., and it’s real easy to get excited about it, so it’s wonderful.”
For many age-groupers, Saturday’s national championship is the culmination of season-long goals. “I like to have a goal and have the discipline to reach it—have the discipline to stay the course—and it’s a lifestyle,” said female 50-54 champion Elizabeth Bulman (San Diego, Calif.), who finished in 2:22:28.
Smith, a multiple-time national champion, captured the male 60-64 title in 2:20:01 in addition to his grand masters title. “I enjoy competing, and I compete as much against myself as the other people,” said the 27-year triathlon veteran. “I like to come back and repeat on the same course and see if I can go faster…I love the competition. I love the sport.”
In addition to the bragging rights of claiming an age group national title, Saturday’s top finishers also earned coveted spots to represent the U.S. at the 2011 ITU World Championships in Beijing, China, on September 10-11, 2011. The top 18 finishers (rolling down to 25th place) in each age group in both the Olympic-distance and sprint events in Tuscaloosa will qualify for a Team USA slot.