Triathletes from across the country will convene on Voice of America Park in West Chester, Ohio, this weekend for the 2012 USA Triathlon Youth Junior National Championships. Some have been training in hopes to earn automatic nominations to the Junior Worlds team, while some beginners just hope to finish.
Among the event’s group of beginners are Maggie and Jonny Mize of Liberty Township. Both saw the event as interesting and challenging, as well as an opportunity to raise awareness for Kids Against Hunger, a charity they are both passionate about.
In the past, both Maggie, 14, and Jonny, 13, have participated in several local food-packaging efforts and recently they authored an e-book called “Mariella, the Cheerful, Helpful Hamster” from which they donate a portion of the proceeds to Kids Against Hunger.
Throughout their several months of training, Maggie and Jonny have become more fit and increased their stamina. The experience has also gotten their parents out to the park for runs and bike exercise.
You can cheer them on this weekend – they’ll be wearing “Kids Against Hunger” t-shirts – and the more than 700 triathletes, ages 7 to 19, competing in the Youth, Youth Elite and Junior Elite categories at the USA Triathlon Youth Junior National Championships.
Information on top athletes
Some of the top finishers from last year’s races, who will also be competing at the event this weekend, include Johanna Gartman (Chattanooga, Tenn.), Luke Farkas (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Breanna Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.), Tamara Gorman (Rapid City, S.D.), Rachel Mann (Homer Glen, Ill.) and Sawyer Willingham (Simpsonville, S.C.) in the Junior Elite category, as well as Stephanie Jenks (Aurora, Iowa) and Matthew Stanley (Acworth, Ga.) in the Youth Elite ranks.
According to a release from USA Triathlon, the first eligible Junior Elite male and female finishers will earn automatic nominations to the Junior Worlds team. To be eligible, an athlete must finish top-three overall and within 5 percent of the winner’s time for the men and 8 percent of the winner’s time for the women. An additional female slot will be filled per discretionary selection criteria.
The event kicks off Saturday at 8 a.m. with the Junior Elite (ages 16-19) and Youth Elite (ages 13-15) national championships. Racing will resume at 8 a.m. on Sunday with a draft-legal team relay for athletes ages 13-19, in which four competitors (two male, two female) will each complete a 250-meter swim, a 5-kilometer bike and a 1.2-kilometer run.
The Youth National Championship is set to begin at 10:20 a.m. Sunday, and will feature athletes ages 7-8, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-15. The competitive distances range from a 100m swim, 5K bike and a 1K run for ages 7-10 to a 750m swim, 20K bike and 5K run sprint-distance event for the Junior Elites.
USA Triathlon is seeking volunteers, who will receive a free USA Triathlon volunteer t-shirt, meals and beverages, to help with the event. To sign up, visit http://usatriathlon.volunteerlocal.com/volunteer/?id=958.
According to the Butler County Visitors Bureau (BCVB), the event is expected to draw more than 1,600 visitors and bring in an estimated $500,000.
Due to the nature of the event, there will be some road closures in the vicinity of VOA Park.
Cox Road between Liberty Way and the northern most entrance to the VOA Retail Centre will be closed from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on both days of the event. In addition, Liberty Way between Cox Road and Butler Warren Road will be closed from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on each day. Emergency traffic only will be permitted during these times.
Access to all businesses will be maintained from Tylersville and Cox Road (south of VOA Park Drive). Motorists are encouraged to follow all posted detours while driving and to allow extra time to reach their destinations.