Bianco fourth, Flames third at triathlon debut in Williamsburg
September 9, 2018 | Williamsburg, Va.
Three of the five members of Liberty University's men's triathlon team who entered Sunday's Patriots Triathlon Festival open men's sprint race in Williamsburg finished in the top 20 out of a field of 288 competitors, leading the Flames to a third-place showing in the collegiate standings.
Giovanni Bianco, a graduate student from Italy, placed fourth overall in exactly1 hour, 1 minute to finish behind only three triathletes from Charlotte, N.C.
"This was our first race of the season so we were excited to start competing," said Bianco, who was racing for the first time since winning his 20-24-year-old age group of the long-course men's triathlon at the Multisport World Championships in mid-July. "This was such a short race, I was training to get more speed. I came out of the water in 17th place and passed a lot of guys during the bike and one more during the run. Cycling and running are my strengths and I made up the difference on the bike."
Bianco completed the 750-meter swim in 11:17 before excelling on the bike, with the fourth-fastest time of 31:25 over the 20-kilometer course, and on the run with a second-best 5K time of 15:58.
Two freshmen recruits — Max Galbraith from outside of Richmond, Va., and Christian Brasher from Fort Worth, Texas — placed 16th and 17th for the Flames in 1:04:08 and 1:04:35, respectively.
Galbraith — whose mom is an Ironman competitor and his dad a 2018 Boston Marathon qualifier — also got stronger as the race went on, clocking the 11th fastest time on the bike (31:45) and in the run (17:04). Brasher was the fifth-fastest after the swim (10:37) before recording the 14th-fastest cycling (31:54) and running (17:26) times. However, he was assessed a two-minute penalty that cost him nearly 10 places.
Jonathan McAlister, a transfer from Texas, rounded out the Flames' top four by finishing 38th in 1:09:12 after completing the 17th-fastest swim in 11 minutes.
Sarah Parker, a senior from Charlottesville, was Liberty's top finisher in the women's sprint race. She finished 28th out of 177 overall competitors in 1:23:01 after clocking the 15th-fastest time in the swim (12:59). Rachel Fulford was the Lady Flames' second finisher, placing 38th in 1:25:00, followed by junior Laci Clark (43rd overall in 1:27:26).
Carrington Erquiaga was the 11th fastest swimmer out of the water in 12:43. However, she experienced chain trouble early in the cycling stage and finished 77th overall in 1:36:08. Junior Heather Ziebart also had some shifting problems in the cycling stage and had to withdraw from the race and Shannon Wade was unable to enter the competition after cutting her leg on her bike chain in practice.