Sonja Kent outdistanced the women's field by more than a minute, and Patrick Parish earned his second overall national title in the last three years to highlight Sunday's USA Triathlon Sprint National Championship at Waterfront Park.
More than 1,000 competitors completed the 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run course to conclude the two-day USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships, contested in Burlington for the second straight year. In all, over 3,000 athletes competed in the Olympic- and sprint-distance events on the weekend to create the largest-ever USA Triathlon National Championship event.
Kent (West Boylston, Mass.) put together an extremely consistent effort en route to the women's overall and 20-24 age group titles in 1 hour, 5 minutes, 25 seconds. The Worcester Polytechnic Institute collegiate swimmer had the day's fifth-fastest swim, sixth-fastest bike and fifth-fastest run.
"You come here, and I feel like it's a serious event. This is my 'A' race, and I can really go out. I rested for it ..." said Kent, who entered the race with the goal of winning her age group. "It's so well run, too. This was the best race I've ever been to. It was so well organized, and I really loved it here."
Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.) was second to Kent in the overall and 20-24 standings in 1:06:29, while women's 17-19 winner Taylor Fogg (Colorado Springs, Colo.) took third overall in 1:07:05.
After winning Sprint Nationals in Tuscaloosa, Ala., in 2010, Parish (Bloomington, Minn.) ran to his second overall short-distance title in three years Sunday in 57:46. "I raced yesterday, so I felt pretty sore. I had a good swim ... and felt good on the bike. It's a really cool bike course. Once you get out on the freeway you can just fly. It's a lot of fun," said Parish, who also finished as the day's top men's 25-29 competitor.
Parish, a former Duke University runner, finished with the day's second-fastest bike and run, including a 16:03 5k off the bike. Parish outdistanced men's 20-24 winner Thomas Pilliod (Marietta, Ga.), who was second overall in 58:44, and men's 17-19 champion Brent Demarest (Charleston, S.C.), who placed third overall in 59:06, to take the win.
Tony Morales (Lexington, S.C.) originally crossed the line in 57:45 - less than a second in front of Parish - but was assessed a two-minute penalty for a position violation on the bike dropping him to eight place overall in 59:45.
The Sprint Nationals Masters titles went to Kerry Simmons (Point Lookout, N.Y.) in 1:08:44 and Dave Slavinski (Point Pleasant, N.J.) in 59:26. Lorrie Beck (Williamston, N.J.) and Michael Orendorff (Pueblo, Colo.) earned the Grand Masters wins in 1:15:36 and 1:07:42, respectively.
Both winners - Kent and Parish - were among an estimated 100 athletes to compete in both the Olympic- and sprint-distance races on the weekend. And regardless of what event each athlete competed in, they were able to measure themselves against the nation's top amateur triathletes this weekend in Burlington.
"This is the test. This is where you get to see how you stack up against the best of the best. It's not the best of your area - it's the best in the country," Slavinski said. "This is where you put all that training to the test to see if you're doing the right things or if someone else is doing it better than you."
In addition to the bragging rights of claiming an age group national title, Sunday's top finishers also earned coveted spots to represent the U.S. at the 2013 ITU World Championships in London. The top 18 finishers (rolling down to 25th place) in each sprint-distance age group in Burlington qualified for a Team USA slot. Team USA is comprised of amateur athletes who represent the U.S. at each ITU World Championship event.
---USA Triathlon Press Release--
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