Flames triathletes runner-up to Navy, Sonnery-Cottet cruises
September 23, 2017 | Spotsylvania, Va.
Thomas Sonnery-Cottet, a sophomore from France, pulled away from some of the top collegiate triathletes in the country for a dominating performance to lead Liberty University's men's triathlon team to a runner-up finish at Saturday's Giant Acorn International, an Olympic-distance event held at Lake Anna State Park in Spotsylvania, Va.
The Flames placed behind only defending USA Triathlon collegiate national champion Navy and ahead of teams from Delaware, Duke, Georgetown, James Madison, Maryland, Marymount, NC State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, VMI, and William & Mary.
Sonnery-Cottet completed the 1,500-meter swim in Lake Anna, 42-kilometer cycling stage, and 10K run in a time of 1:57:51, nearly two minutes faster than his winning time at the same race last year and more than two and a half minutes in front of Navy team captain Daniel Lloyd. Liberty junior Travis Fehr (10th in 2:08:50), sophomore South Carolina transfer Freddie Shashaty (11th in 2:09:32), and Adam Williams (15th in 2:12:07) rounded out the Flames' top four.
Joan Calomarde, a freshman from Spain competing in his first race in the United States and first Olympic-distance event while still recovering from an August cycling accident, came in 17th out of 67 finishers in 2:15:11. Calomarde was the fifth swimmer out of the water, followed closely by Danny Fernandez, a freshman from Guatemala, who was seventh out of the water and 31st overall in 2:28:44 in his first Olympic Distance Triathlon and fourth triathlon ever. Freshman Chester Cooper placed 32nd in 2:29:27 and is showing rapid early-semester improvement, according to Liberty Head Coach Parker Spencer.
Complete results are posted on the Virginia-Maryland Triathlon Series website.
For the Oct. 14 Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships, which Liberty will host for the fourth straight year at Smith Mountain Lake, Spencer expects to have freshman Bobby Hammond, an online student, in Liberty's lineup.
"He has a long history of success in the sport and will be a vital part of the team's pursuit for a regional championship title as well as (USA Triathlon) national championship in the spring," he said.
In the women's competition, Liberty placed third behind Navy and Virginia and ahead of Delaware, Duke, Georgetown, JMU, Maryland, Marymount, NC State, Virginia Tech, VMI, and William & Mary. Junior Sarah Parker paced the Lady Flames with her 15th-placing finish among collegiate triathletes in 2:43:10, followed closely by sophomore Heather Ziebart (16th in 2:44:53), senior Maddie Griffin (19th in 2:47:56), and Laci Clark (20th in 2:49:41). It was Clark's second triathlon and first Olympic-distance race.
Complete women's results are available online.