Flames, Lady Flames dominant at Olympic Triathlon in Ga.
October 18, 2020 | Macon, Ga.
Nineteen members of Liberty University's men's and women's triathlon teams traveled to compete in Sunday's Rock N' Rollman Olympic Triathlon at Lake Tobosofkee in Macon, Ga., where the Flames and Lady Flames followed up their stellar showings in Greensboro, N.C., two weeks prior with even more impressive performances.
The men's team swept the overall podium, paced by graduate Giovanni Bianco, who once again claimed the gold medal in a time of 1 hour, 56 minutes, 33 seconds over the 1.5-kilometer swim, 40K cycling stage, and 10K run. He was followed closely by sophomore Max Galbraith in 1:57:16 and graduate Mark Fairley in 2:00:45.
|Flames freshman Jack Pizor placed first in the men's 16-19 age group.|
"I was super impressed overall with our guys team," Liberty Assistant Coach Todd Gollnick said. "They dropped the hammer on the rest of the field early on and were the pace setters overall today. They have been putting in some serious hours of training and it showed today."
Complete results are available online.
Sophomores Ethan Kane (2:11:29) and David McCurdy (2:12:56) took second and third place honors in the men's 20-24 age group. The Flames also swept the podium in the 16-19 age group, actually taking the top five places overall.
"This was so awesome to see all five of these guys, all of whom are freshman, perform at such a high level," Gollnick said.
Jack Pizor won the age group in a time of 2:16:25 with Nicholas Salonites (2:17:56) and JJ Bagans (2:17:57) taking second and third, respectively. Fourth-place honors went to Benjamin Bauserman in 2:21:47 followed by Jared Hoober in 2:30:56.
"I'm really proud of how the entire team performed today," Pizor said. "Liberty ran the leaderboard and represented Christ and our university in a very positive way. I'm really happy and honored to be a part of this great group of athletes, but even better people. We've quickly become a family."
"These guys are all progressing so quickly," Head Coach Heather Gollnick added. "The future is bright without a doubt."
The Lady Flames had an equally impressive day, led by senior Taylor Villani, who crossed the finish line in second place overall in 2:19:42 after winning the sprint race in Greensboro earlier in the month.
"Taylor followed that up with another great performance today," Heather Gollnick said. "We are so impressed with Taylor. She has taken her competitive game to a new level this year."
|Liberty freshman Anna Kate Wirsing won the women's 16-19 age group.|
Like the men, the Lady Flames also swept the podium in the 16-19 age group, paced by freshman Anna Kate Wirsing in 2:26:26. Second-place honors went to sophomore Laurel Eisnor in 2:44:27 followed by freshman Heather DeBoer in 2:46:29.
"I have been competing in triathlons for a while now, but the experience with the Liberty triathlon team has really changed things for me," Wirsing said. "It's just so encouraging and really motivates you to give it your all when you are competing with your teammates and coaches and for this great university. I just can't wait for all the race experiences to come with this amazing team."
In the female 20-24 age group, senior Emily Browne finished second in 2:33:01 followed by junior Isabelle Dotlich in 2:38:37.
Heather Gollnick was especially proud of her team for its willingness to assist in the race setup upon arriving early to check out the course and do a pre-race run and swim.
"When we arrived, a small crew of four people from Georgia Multisport was setting up the transition area and finish line," she said. "Without thinking twice, all 19 of our student-athletes jumped in and offered to help."
For the next hour, they became the setup crew, lending a hand running fencing, hanging banners and setting up the finish line.
"They showed true servants' hearts, thinking first of how they could serve others before getting in their own workout," Gollnick said. "It's one of the many things I love about this team … the way they conduct and represent themselves as people, as well as how they represent Liberty University with class."