Anderson 31st, Lady Flames 35th at USA Triathlon Nationals
April 13, 2013 | Tempe, Ariz.
Liberty University sophomore Joseph Anderson finished 31st out of 1,001 total runners, including 595 men, in the Olympic distance race at this past Saturday's USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championships in Tempe, Ariz.
The race started with a 1,500-meter swim followed by a 40-kilometer bike stage and 10K run.
Anderson got faster and moved up in the field as the championship triathlon went on, improving his place in each of the three phases.
He completed the swim in 21 minutes, 42 seconds, ranking him 109th after that event. His cycling time of 55:13 was the 67th-fastest in the field and his 10K running time of 36:06 ranked 23rd among men. Overall, he crossed the finish line in 1:55:11.
"He did particularly well," Liberty head coach Beth Frackleton said, noting Anderson finished near the fifth percentile. "Any time you can place(close to) 30th out of (nearly) 600, that's pretty good."
Arizona's Ben Kanute, who came in first out of 68 finishers in the draft-legal sprint, also won the main event in 1:46:36.
Blake Williams (299th in 2:13:43) also competed for the Flames along with Stephen Magee (439th in 2:13:43), Scott Miller (548th in 2:26:11), and Josiah Slaydon (622nd in 2:30:37), with the top four times counting toward Liberty's team score.
"The competition was challenging in both of the male and female field, with the top 10 to 15 athletes elite, Olympic-level athletes," Frackleton said. "For triathlon, this is it. This is the best of the best of the best, all in one field. This is the most competitive collegiate age group race that you can find."
The University of Colorado (3,926) edged the University of California (3,924) by two points to capture its fourth consecutive combined national team title, though California actually won the women's team competition and finished runner-up among the men. Liberty finished 36th out of 104 teams with 2,002 combined points, with its women 35th with 1,113 and its men 41st with 889.
Whereas the men's race started at 7:40 a.m., the women didn't get into the water until nearly 11 a.m., when the temperature in Tempe had soared to close to 90 degrees.
Katie Mullaly was Liberty's top female finisher in 2:29:05, placing her 134th in the women's field of 406. Lane Ruchte was a close second for the Lady Flames, finishing 140th in 2:29:50.
"The two girls placed well, being in the top third of the field, and everybody improved," Frackleton said. "This was their first Olympic distance for a couple of them, so to be in such a competitive race in such extreme heat, I was proud that they all finished."
"It's definitely been a rebuilding year but thankfully, some of the younger ones were able to go and get exposure to see what the competition is like from across the country," Frackleton said.
For complete results and team scores, visit the USA Triathlon website.