Club Sports News

Liberty triathlon teams second in final MACTC Fall rankings

October 19, 2017  |  Huddleston, Va. 

Liberty freshman triathlete Danny Fernandez takes off on the running leg of Saturday's Olympic-Distance race at Smith Mountain Lake. (Photo by Kevin Manguiob) test test test test
Liberty freshman triathlete Danny Fernandez takes off on the running leg of Saturday's Olympic-Distance race at Smith Mountain Lake. (Photo by Kevin Manguiob)

Last weekend's strong showings at the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Triathlon Conference (MACTC) Championships at Smith Mountain Lake helped solidify Liberty University's men's and women's triathlon teams' standing in the 2017-18 Mid-Atlantic omnium rankings.

The Flames and Lady Flames combined to finish the Fall season with a second-place overall ranking in the region behind only 2017 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Champion Navy.

"This is the highest our team has placed since 2012," Liberty Head Coach Parker Spencer said. "However, the competition now is on a completely different level than it was then and even last year."

Fernandez blows water back into Smith Mountain Lake after getting a mouthful in last Saturday's MACTC Championships swim. (Photo by Kevin Manguiob)

In Saturday's Olympic-Distance men's triathlon, 11 MACTC men completed the 1.5-kilometer swim, 40K cycling stage, and 10K run in under two hours. By comparison, at the April 22 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championships, which included over 600 collegiate men, only 19 finished the Olympic Distance race in under two hours.

Queens of Charlotte's Maximillian Sperl won Saturday's event at Smith Mountain Lake in a course-record time of 52 minutes, 11 seconds with Flames sophomore Thomas Sonnery-Cottet placing second in 1:53:42, which was also faster than the record set last year by Marymount's Collin Chartier at 1:54:38.

"That was a huge personal record for Thomas and both he and Max had raced (in Friday's Draft-Legal Sprint), unlike Collin last year," Spencer said. "What we are seeing within our own conference is remarkable for Collegiate Triathlon in the United States and I am excited for next season already. We have some big things to come."

He noted that the Flames will have a much deeper team available for next April's national championships with the addition of triathletes such as Javier Lluch Perez, who has trained at Spain's Olympic Training Center since he was 12, Giovanni Bianco from Italy, and Levi Luckas from Hungary. All three will be enrolling at Liberty in January.

Lluch Perez, 19, was the overall winner in his age division of the 2016 European Championships and placed second in 2017. He also finished third in the Duathlon World Championships and second in the 2016 Spanish National Championship. Bianco's Olympic-Distance PR is 1:52:32, faster than Sonnery-Cottet's, while Luckas' PR is 1:58.

"At nationals, they score your top four athletes and our top four will be stronger than Queens and Navy, who are currently the teams to beat at Nationals," Spencer said.

Flames senior Dillon Lesniak competes in the cycling stage of Saturday's race. (Photo by Kevin Manguiob)

For the Fall 2018 semester, the Flames have already received commitments from Csaba Majoris from Hungary, who has placed as high as third in a European Championship; Jorge Saliva, a professional triathlete from Mexico who placed second at this year's Duathlon National Championships, and Christian Brashner, who finished 15th at the USAT Junior National Championships.


Final Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Triathlon Conference rankings

Men's Team Omnium

1. Naval Academy

2. Liberty University

3. University of Virginia

4. Queens (N.C.) University of Charlotte

5. University of Maryland


Women's Team Omnium

1. Naval Academy

2. Queens of Charlotte

3. Virginia

4. North Carolina State

5. Liberty


Combined Team Omnium

1. Navy

2. Liberty

3. Virginia

4. Queens

5. NC State


MACTC Championship results (from last weekend's races at Smith Mountain Lake)

Men's Team Standings

1. Queens of Charlotte

2. Navy

3. Liberty

4. Virginia

5. Maryland


Women's Team Standings

1. Queens of Charlotte

2. Navy

3. North Carolina

4. NC State

5. Liberty


Combined Team Standings

1. Queens

2. Navy

3. Liberty

4. Virginia

5. NC State


Men's Individual Omnium final standings

1. Maximillian Sperl (Queens of Charlotte)

2.Thomas Sonnery-Cottet (Liberty)

3. Zachary Anderson (Navy)

4.Daniel Lloyd (Navy)

5. Cory Fines (Virginia)


Women's Individual Omnium final standings

1. Kaitlyn Kramer (NC State)

2. Theresa Neubig (Navy)

3. Emma Mickelson (Queens of Charlotte)

4. Annie Shea (Queens of Charlotte)

5. Taylor Welker (Navy)

Triathlon Links

No events scheduled for this team.

Oct 20
at Liberty Triathlon - MACTC Conference Championship
F 20th ; M 2nd

Oct 7
at Tri at the Trump Sprint
F 5th ; M 1st

Oct 6
at MLT Draft-Legal Super Sprint
F 4th

Sep 22
at Giant Acorn Olympic
F 5th ; M 2nd

Sep 9
at Patriots Spring
F 18th ; M 1st

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